“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” ~Mark Twain
We are living in a time of increasingly blurred lines: when is the free press the fake media?; what constitutes rape on campus, and who’s the victim?; when is intention an excuse for breaking the law?
Even Robin Thicke’s song of the same name had blurred lines: he was sued for plagiarism, and lost.
Leaders lie, all the time. Business leaders, pharmaceutical leaders, political leaders. Everybody lies, a little, almost every day, if only when replying to ‘how are you’ with ‘fine’ when you’re not.
But there a lies, and then…there are ‘damned lies.’ This past week’s biggest news story takes the cake in my book. It is swirling like a cyclone around Donald Trump, Jr. and his June 9, 2016 meeting with an alleged representative of the Russian government interested in aiding the Trump campaign efforts.
This was more than ‘opposition research;’ it was a meeting with a representative of a foreign government, an adversary of the U.S.
The public now knows that Don Jr. (and Mannafort, and Kushner, and Flynn, and…) lied about taking that meeting, as well as the purpose for it. They lied several times. Many times.
And, it appears, so has his father, the President of the United States, who denies any knowledge of the reported meeting, despite the fact that he is known to be a micro-manager par excellence.
This is not the television set of Dallas! This is the White House!
Too many people have been caught in too many lies.
Congress requires palliative care and the Administration is paralyzed.
I am left to wonder why the line between truth and lies, between honesty and obfuscation, has become so damn blurred.
Maybe it’s because too many people still lie to themselves (and others) about stuff that doesn’t even matter: their weight on a driver’s license, or their age, or past experiences, or present circumstances. All the time. Because they think it doesn’t matter.
It does. Like pebbles in a pond, lies add up.
And we lie about stuff that does matter, too: our feelings, our hopes, dreams, regrets.
So maybe the blurred lines are a result of all the little lies, compiled into a giant reflection of the collective we’ve become. An accumulated mountain of pebbles.
Lying, cheating, stealing: they’re called ‘honour’ offences and can be the basis for expulsion from school, but not, apparently, from office.
Don, Jr. wanted a voice. He wanted to impress his father. He wanted to help the campaign, to feel important, whatever. I’m sure “he’s a good boy,” as father says.
But Don Jr.’s intentions do not matter.
His actions do.
No blurred line there except to those for whom lying—in small and large ways—has become such a comfortable blindness, such a protection from the harsh light of reality, that they would rather blur another line than admit it exists at all.