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Friday, November 2, 2012

White Lies and Huge Whoppers

“(F)or we have made lies our refuge
    and falsehoods our hiding place.”
                       (Isaiah 28:15)

Truth, we’re told, is the first casualty of war.

And I would add, of political campaigns.

We’re being inundated these days with political ads and speeches laced with lies, distortions and misrepresentations. Both parties do their share of this, and we’ve come to just accept it as politics as usual.

Maybe it's because we’ve always been so exposed wall to wall commercials of all kinds that we’re beyond being shocked when politicians employ the same kinds of propaganda tactics. Running for office has become a matter of successful marketing, which relies on spin rather than just presenting useful information.    

What is most distressing is that even faith-based organizations are prone to mislead.

Take the familiar “voter guide”. Candidate A is listed as "opposing religious liberty," while candidate B supports it. A is for "government control (or takeover!) of health care," B is against it. A will "cut $716 billion from Medicare," while B will not. Nothing is nuanced, explained or put in context.

By definition, this becomes little more than propaganda, since not everything can be reduced to simplistic, good versus evil categories.

For example, someone may not at all be in favor of abortion but be labeled anti-life because he or she does not favor indicting everyone who has one as a murderer, just as one can be strongly against divorce but still not in favor of criminalizing it, or be adamantly anti-alcohol but not for re-instituting Prohibition.

In summary, before we go on any more crusades to get the Ten Commandments back in our schools, maybe we should work harder at applying them to every part of our lives.

As in, "Thou shalt not bear false witness."

Here's a link to examples of 2012 campaign mistruths http://www.factcheck.org/ .
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