Authored by William Robert Barber
Within today’s wide-reaching milieu of political discussion there is a ubiquitous, mostly unfettered circulation of opinions and thoughts. The criteria for the oral dissemination or publication of these opinions and thoughts are not necessarily anchored in truthfulness or untruthfulness. Indeed, in practice it seems, today’s milieu of political dialogue, discussion, and opining requires Machiavellian discretion and arbitrary behavior. Whether the meaningfulness of the discussion is careless or careful matters less; what does matter most to those of opinions and thoughts are the orchestrated, choreographed words and expressions that fit the spokesperson’s intended illusion.
For the professional televised opinionate wardrobe, hair, and makeup are as important to the desired illusion as the content of his or her opinions. The viewer is influenced by the sleight-of-hand as much as the specificity of the wonk’s perspective.
The goal of attaining intended illusion in the current political environment means that a politician, a person representing the government, or an elected member representing a constituency of citizens will not answer the question posed. Instead, he or she can – with a sufficient degree of amoral impunity – misinform, distort, maneuver around the obvious, lie, nuance, utilize legal trickery, be a practitioner of statutorily compliant corruption, and generally dance instead of forthrightly march.
My assumption is that the world of politics and power has an inherent genetic code that inserts into the practitioner’s brain confounding the once ethical to corruptive behavior. Why else would Charlie Rangel, his immediate predecessor, and the many hundreds more of any and every political ideology breach the sensibility of living a moral and honorable life?
Of course overt unlawfulness is a real concern; but what truly scares me is the corruption by means covertly subjective. Like the corruptive influences of accepting government entitlements as a right of citizenship. If California, a state that has institutionalized the righteousness of entitlements, can wallow in the maelstrom of bankruptcy whilst practicing a legislative mysticism that refuses to face realities even as its citizens vote in the very people that put them in the present position of bankruptcy, then left is right and one is two.
Defining the truth will befuddle the well meaning; but it is not truth that I require from my elected representatives. What I do require is truthfulness.
One cannot express truthfulness without transparency; no politician should expect to be trusted by their constituency, in truth they should expect, even demand askance. The practice of citizenship in a free society, a democratic republic, is the highest form of art. Citizenship is serious business.
I would relish experiencing a politician who obligated his office or person to truthfulness, honor, humility, and the sensibility of prudence over the often corruptive manifestations of political party, power for its own sake or personal gain of coin or ego. Naturally, I am not holding my breath over this “experiencing” as a relishable possibility.