We are almost at the point where anything and everything mean nothing anymore.
By Charles Griggs
“People want to be told what to do so bad, they’ll listen to anyone.” – Don Draper, Mad Men
Growing up as a young boy, I was always told by my elders to tell the truth. To be honest. To never tell a lie. In fact, I can clearly remember the reasoning my father gave me for telling the truth.
“Son,” he said, “when you tell the truth, you’ll never have to remember the lie.”
Sage advice for a young impressionable mind. Yet, it seemed like a shortcut to the real reason honesty would be so important. I can also remember Bible verse after verse that highlighted the importance of telling the truth. One of my favorites was Proverbs 12:17:
“He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.”
For those non Bible readers, the verse means people who tell the truth provide honest evidence. Those who don’t are trying to deceive others.
Even at a young age, it wouldn’t be difficult to deduce that telling the truth was an important ingredient to becoming a good person. And everyone wants to be a good person, right?
As an adult, things are different. For people who were raised on the premise that telling the truth is an important guiding principle, facing the reality of how easy it is for people to lie can shake your faith in humanity. Truth is, dishonesty is as American as apple pie.
It wasn’t that long ago that lying shaped a person’s character for the worse. However, in recent years our society has given convenient space to dishonesty, and reshaped lying as convenient alternative version of the truth.
It now seems that many people, politicians in particular, have embraced factual derailments as a way to cure character mistakes and policy miscues. Lying seems to have become the chief strategy component of crisis communications responses, when truth will do.
It wasn’t that long ago when I was taught that credibility was the most important resource a communications professional could possess. As a communications practitioner, your job is to advise the client that damage control revolves around credibility. Even in the face of a perceived devastating predicament, credibility comes by way of demonstrating high ethical standards. Those standards are rooted in truth.
Let’s face it, a lie is a lie. And people who chronically tell lies cannot be trusted. Yet, as a society we have allowed people who are as comfortable lying as they are breathing to become embedded in the fabric of what we hold dear. Our communities, our country and our lives.
Is it alright for us to lend approval to a lying politician just because they agree with a political position? Is it better to gain the world, then lose your soul?
To be clear there is no such thing as alternative facts. Facts are facts, unless you’re just not interested in the outcome truth with bare. We have allowed people who play fast and loose with the facts to redefine morality, injustice and integrity. It’s time to shut all that down and demand truth as the basic barometer for building a factual case around diverse ideologies. There is nothing wrong with differences of opinions; however, it helps if they are established in facts.
Power should not come at the expense of the truth. After all, there is something wrong with your character if opportunity controls your honesty.
And we are just as bad if we accept the lie.
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