It seems that wherever I turn, I’m greeted by the latest attempt at shading the truth. Whether it is Congressional hearings on a Supreme Court justice, a state senator’s insistence that he didn’t compromise his position on the environment, or the hypocrisy of officialdom, lecturing a free spirit on virtue, our culture is crawling with the art of hypocrisy and fabrication.
Granted, prevarication isn’t new. For those who use religion and its sacred texts as a measuring stick, one could say that lies are as old as Adam and Eve, the first occurrence of such in biblical literature. History is replete with stories of the art of bending the truth to fit one’s situation, or pocketbook.
While lying is an age-old device, its pervasiveness seems to have taken on new parameters. From the highest office in our land, on down through the halls of justice and our law-making bodies, falsehoods flow freely and unchecked. They’ve become our norm, rather than an exception. Rarely, if ever, do I hear political figures speak, without the appearance of words pouring from both sides of their mouths. When asked the simplest of questions, they seem genetically incapable of an honest answer.
Yesterday, I was traveling home from an appointment and I was listening to the Senate’s confirmation hearings of Samuel Alito. Numerous senators pointedly questioned him on his views on privacy, abortion, and the extent to which he would allow executive powers to reach. One of the most grating of this gaggle of crooks and thieves was Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE). I’ve listened to him numerous times, in his typical manner of grandstanding, grill a nominee (including current Justice Roberts during his confirmation), appearing tough and having issues with them, then time-after-time, vote in favor of confirming. I will allow that it is the Senator’s prerogative to vote any way that he sees fit, however, occasionally, it would be nice if his vote actually matched his tough-talk and rhetoric. Another example is bloated windbag, Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who claims to speak for the poor and working class, when he wouldn’t know the first thing about working, or class. This very same Kennedy, a man who lectures Republicans on the need to wean ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, but balks when a proposed wind farm might be built a bit too close to his beloved Hyannisport compound.
Even my own Governor, John Baldacci, seems incapable of answering simple questions pertaining to running our state. Last Friday, while listening to MPBN’s Fred Bever interview him on statewide issues, Baldacci continually hemmed and hawed and evaded answering several questions.
Over the past few days, former Olympian, Bode Miller, has found himself in a world of trouble for comments he made to a 60 Minutes reporter, about his behavior on the slopes. Miller, who last year became the first American skier in 22 years to win the World Cup, apparently has found himself at the top of the mountain, while still under the influence of the previous night’s drinking and partying. Typically, his comments about skiing drunk have elicited the latest round of hypocritical hand-wringing, common when free-spirited young men speak from their hearts. You see, Miller, a New Hampshire native, who grew up in a cabin without heat or plumbing, raised by parents who made $600 one year, probably never learned the fine art of spinning the truth. With Miller, what you see is what you get. On the other hand, Bill Marolt, president and executive of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has come out saying that Miller’s comments are “irresponsible” and send “an inappropriate message” to younger skiers and snowboarders. Officials like Marolt and much of the Olympic brass, have been exploiting the gifts and talents of young skiers for so long, they wouldn’t know appropriateness if it walked up and bit them in the ass!
Is it wise to end up on the top of a world class slalom course with beers under your belt? Certainly, not for most of us. For Bode Miller, on the other hand, I think he’s earned the right to make his own decisions. I, for one, find Miller and his open and unscripted ways much more refreshing and honest than the usual circumvention of the truth that makes up our daily parade in politics, sports and the media.