Misleading the Public is Bipartisan

There are two major political parties in America: Republicans and Democrats. Members of both parties tell lies, half-truths, and are often grossly misleading. Sometimes even official statements are blatantly false. This is the reality, and it brings one question to mind.

I’m not curious about who is lying more often. Counting up and scoring each false statements is a thankless task. And really, I don’t care which poisoner has a bigger vault. I only want them to quit it with the poisoning.

I’m only slightly curious about the techniques used by each group. The Republicans tend to make precise claims of fact that you can disprove in about 10 seconds on Google. The Democrats tend to make statements that are slippery and vague, so they don’t really say anything. But not always. And plus, obsessing over the details of the deceptions is a little like getting waaaaaay into true crime. We might love the drama, but we don’t actually want people to be hurt.

What I am curious about is why do we believe the lies? I think the answer is about as ugly as the dishonesty itself: we are used to it.

  • When a candidate says they will do something “on their first day in office” we know that it’s a priority, but it might never happen.
  • When an official says a plan will help “working families” or “small businesses” or “ensure the wealthy pay their fair share” we know it only sort of means that, but really they are speaking in code.
  • When it’s said that one party is doing some awful thing, you can probably guess that the other party has also done that too. [1]

Which is why I think not lying all the time sounds like a pretty good idea. Doesn’t it seem like we could get a lot more done and help a lot more people if we tried that?


[1] Democratic legislators in Texas have walked out on their jobs to prevent a vote. But earlier this year, Republican legislators in Oregon walked out to prevent a vote. This happens a lot.

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