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October 4, 2016

An Epidemic of Stretchers

Harry M. Covert

Has society crossed the Rubicon? Consider for a moment the impact of hokum and snow job language the national election campaigns are having on the public.


This is serious business. Habits of storytelling have changed dramatically. There must be some negative reactions among children in school and out, public and private.


Does truth among public figures and those described as role models matter – national, state and local? Doesn't seem like it.


It has become rather poignant these days. Reporters and editors now use who, what, when, where, why, how and fact in their search for stories. More specific attribution would help, too.


How many times have such words as lies and lying been leveled at political opponents? With googling and attempting to count on fingers and toes of all candidates and broadcast talkers, no accurate total could be found. The number of laughing and giggling is missing, too. Could be hundreds or thousands of "et als."


The epidemic of non-truths is troubling to moms and dads, school teachers, preachers and Sunday/Sabbath school impresarios and other ecclesiastics of all sorts. Let's throw in the legal fraternity and the Fourth Estate.


Do any of the political figures getting all the national attention honestly give a hoot about their verbal miscarriages? They need a lesson in "the American Way."


That humorist, Mr. Twain, described the misformation as stretchers. Let's chuckle. Good Book readers will notice it says "liars will have their part in a lake of fire." That most certainly is an inconvenience trying to sway the innocents.


Events in the courtrooms and legal maneuvers take a rather dim view to what judges and prosecutors call perjury. Oaths to speak the truth "so help me God, Allah or karma" bring about heavy penalties in violation, even jail and prison time.


That great reporter Clark Kent, as Superman, believed in "Truth, justice and the American way." That's still appropriate even if Mr. Kent came from Krypton and imagination.


Are politicians excused from prevarications and other mischievous expressions? Of course not. Their exaggerations, nasty talk and other ignoble sputum do bring attention, good and bad soap boxes. Readers and viewers love to laugh at them and with them and believe their chatter.


No matter the issues, it’s obvious "truth more often than not is an orphan.” All the talk about birthers ought to be about truthers.


Who is in charge of the nation's honesty and veracity? Who sets the standard?


As a boy, George Washington allegedly said about chopping down that cherry tree, "I can't tell a lie. I did it." If he didn't say it, it sure is a good lesson and a biographer could just say he did.


It is fun to roll around in the mud of conspiracy theories and hoaxes. Those half-truths can be fun, too.


Maybe the time is at hand for all who are candidates for all public offices to legally swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth under penalty of law along with upholding the laws of the land – local, state and nation – starting now.


It would be refreshing but who's fooling who? Such an oath will never happen. The Rubicon has been crossed.


Maybe Shakespeare is right, this is "much ado about nothing." Flip Wilson put it this way: "The devil made me do it."


Unfortunately, Mr. Clemens wrote: "Why tell the truth when a lie will do."


I rest my case.


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