The Pinocchio Dilemma

The title of this blog sounds like the title of a new Jason Bourne movie, but in reality it is a commentary on how low we have dropped in presidential campaigning and maybe even as a country where trust is the glue that keeps us together as a functioning democracy.

Both presidential candidates and their surrogates can easily be accused of outright lying or as the more gentile call it “misrepresentation of the facts.” Obama falsely links Romney to the death of a woman whose husband lost health insurance in a Bain Capital takeover; Romney fibs about Obama’s gutting of  welfare to work provisions; Joe Biden tries to scare blacks by saying that a Romney victory would ” put them in chains” and Paul Ryan claims that Obama is raiding Medicare when he supported the same financial proposal in his budget.

What’s most disturbing about these lies or gross exaggerations is that too many voters are buying into them and rejecting attempts to set the record straight with the truth. There are many opportunities for the voters to find out exactly what is right and what is a fib, since numerous fact checking organizations exist to point the way to what is accurate and what is a falsehood. Yet there is mounting evidence that Americans believe the fact checkers are lying as well and are mere fronts for the two candidates.

What this Pinocchio Dilemma has done is further eat away if not destroy what was left of political trust in government and government officials. If they are all lying, what to believe? Who to believe? Why even participate in a presidential vote if both guys are out and out liars?

There of course will be a presidential election on November 6th, but the winner is likely to be someone who is perceived as less of a liar than his opponent; that’s not much of an endorsement of our democratic process. Worse yet when that person wins and takes office on January 20th, the same political culture of division, mistrust and discord will carry over into the next four years. Not a pretty picture or a plan for solving our problems and getting the nation back on track.

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