Truth-telling is born of truth-seeking.  Humans need to be hunter-gatherers for truth.  Our curiosity and intellects and hearts seek truth.  Truth is what science, when it is true to itself, seeks out: What is the truth of nature?  How does nature work?  What is going on in the cosmos?  What is going on in the world of the beetle?  The frog?  The tree? The forest? The coronavirus? Etc. etc.  Truth is also what artists yearn to share and elicit.

“Make America Love Again” posted on Flickr by Don Harder.

The 30,000 lies that the president of the United States has uttered publicly since becoming president four years ago truly matter.  A president by definition has a loud bully pulpit and his thoughts and ideas and utterances will be magnified many times over by the media not only to the 330 million citizens of his nation but to the world at large.  

A disinterest in truth will go a long way to seed disunity and confusion and can easily take root in persons whose egos are not stable and whose inner journey is a disturbed one.  When the president predicted (quite accurately as it turned out) that he could shoot someone on fifth avenue, that is to say in a public place and in broad daylight, and get away with it he was saying something about himself but also about his followers: They would become so attached to him that they would say nothing.  There would be no moral boundaries or values to agree upon—other than to follow the shooter wherever else he led.

Man wearing mask and making the “focusing” gesture. Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash.

This has come to pass.  360,000 Americans are dead now from a virus the president called a “hoax” and “democratic plot” for months, while essentially ignoring the tasks required to prepare for and stop the virus or at least slow it down.  Mask-wearing became a no-no because it violated one’s “freedom” or one’s macho self image (very sad and weak self-images indeed).

The Big Lie was that the upcoming election would be fraudulent and that the only way he could lose it would be by theft and trickery.  Lose it he did.  By 7 million votes.  And by an electoral vote count he called a “landslide” when it occurred four years ago in his favor.  So he lost by a landslide.  But the Big Lie, repeated over and over again before, during and after the election, became the elixir to his followers, they drank it in time and time and time again and committed themselves to it.  Even though 80 court trials examined the Lie, dozens of judges of all political backgrounds including some he himself appointed, the Lie was bigger to his followers and counted more than the entire judicial system.

Symbol of democracy this picture show a child and his mom voting for french presidential elections. Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash.

Being a president, his Big Lie was disseminated by his allies in the press.  Fox News ran it over and over again, Rush Limbaugh and his many radio clones repeated it over and over.  Tell a lie often enough and people with ingest it and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Why should the events of January 6th surprise us?

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. xxiii-xxxxlii, 321.

Banner Image: Wooden Pinocchio made in Rome, Italy. Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Where were you when the Big Lie took place through the media and social media?  Is lying compatible with Truth?  With a sense of Divinity in our lives?

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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5 thoughts on “Lying, Politics, and Truthtelling”

  1. Avatar

    You are so right on, Matthew! “Tell a lie often enough and people will ingest it and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!” I got so I just muted him when he started talking . . . I knew I was supposed to send love and light anyway, but how difficult that became!
    One of the hardest things to face was knowing dear friends who believed his lies!! How could intelligent, well-educated, usually loving people, believe him? And now, what a long and hard road of recovery lies ahead of us.
    Perhaps there was just no other way that REAL CHANGE in our institutions could happen? If so, then so be it. I FIRMLY TRUST that, no matter how long it takes, with God’s help we will see it through, though at 89 I won’t see the end of it. God bless, and Thank you!

  2. Avatar

    I am so glad we are talking about truth. Truth as the basis of human interactions, in everyday life, and in a healthy political body. Truth takes work these days…because of all the lies and hypocrisy. Is this why people don’t yearn for it, run after it, work for it? Are people just to comfortable or to tired to do so? Living in a democracy means learning to keep it as Benjamin Franklin said – (republic). I pray truth-seeking will become a great hunger for all people. With the new administration, I think there is a President-in-Chief who cherishes truth and decency.

  3. Avatar

    Amen. What happened last week was the natural culmination of years of lies and hatred. It was an attempted coup, but a very sad and pathetic one in many ways. It failed, and further attempts will fail as well, but meanwhile our country is very vulnerable to any outside enemy as well.

  4. Avatar

    “A disinterest in truth will go a long way to seed disunity and confusion and can easily take root in persons whose egos are not stable and whose inner journey is a disturbed one.”

    Duplicity Calumny False Witness Sins of Omission MALEVOLENCE UNCONSCIOUSNESS

    “All sins are ignorance” said D.R. Hawkins.

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