Truth in Politics

The government has actual regulations designed to protect consumers and create transparency around what is likely the biggest purchase of their lives. They call it Truth in Lending, and it’s ironic that our representatives can legislate honesty into business, but can’t seem to legislate it into their own business. I’m often reminded of a frequent maxim spouted by one of television’s most famous medical men; House MD: “It’s a basic truth of the human condition; that everybody lies. The only variable is about what.” While this may seem overly cynical, I think the evidence will show that a large percentage of the American populace is damned cynical about politics, so the quote seems apropos.

Senator Bernie Sanders strikes me as a politician who is more honest than dishonest, and he certainly has the courage of his convictions. Even when PolitiFact rates the Senator on truthfulness, his “false” statements are more exaggerations to drive a point home than actual lies. For example, when he states that “We [Americans] now work the longest hours of any people around the world,” PolitiFact calls him out as being False. Is he lying? I don’t think so, but you can judge for yourself. PolitiFact confirms Americans work more hours than most, but not all.  So a bit of hyperbole from the good Senator to catch his audience’s attention, but not what I call deceit.

When Senator Sanders recently appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show, he could have, and probably should have, lied most emphatically. The fact that he did not makes my assertion that he’s an honest man a good bet. Bernie is a self-proclaimed “cultural Jew.” From the repository of all knowledge that is Wikipedia:

Cultural Judaism encourages individual thought and understanding in Judaism. Its relation to Judaism is through the history, civilization, ethical values and shared experiences of the Jewish people.

Cultural Jews connect to their heritage through the languages, literature, art, dance, music, food, and celebrations of the Jewish people.”

For those who can’t read between the lines, Jimmy Kimmel filled in the gaps by asking Senator Sanders directly: “Do you believe in God, and do you think that’s important to the people of the United States?” As I mentioned, this is the moment when a politician of any savvy whatsoever would lie like a rug and pander to the religious voters. It defies reason and probability to presume all politicians are people of faith, but there aren’t any professing their lack of faith publicly, particularly those in pursuit of the highest office. The polling data is clear on this matter: the majority of American voters aren’t ready, willing and able to vote for an atheist. So our candidates go out of their way to appear devout and court the faithful to the ballot box. But that’s not what Bernie Sanders did. Not even close.

Well, you know, I am who I am,” he replied. “And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that, as human beings, we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people…. So essentially I think we do best as human beings, we fulfill our lives, when we work together, rather than say, ‘Hey, I want it all, and I don’t care about the hungry kid down the street.’ I don’t think that’s what America should be about.”

Senator Bernie Sanders is a man of integrity and he’s proven that to be the case with that one response. The road to the White House is a long one, and filled with potholes and hazardous driving conditions. There’s no telling how far down that highway Bernie will get before he’s out of gas, but I’m happy to throw my support behind the man. I’m definitely Feeling the Bern.

 

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