Saturday, September 1, 2012
Ryan, Rubio, et. al. If they can't be trusted in small things...
In a rational world where there is a difference between fact and fiction, between what is true and what is false, we would expect that those persons who wish to represent us in our government and make the laws under which we live would be heartily motivated to tell the truth, to lay before us the facts of their lives and their beliefs.
This is, of course, not a rational world, but a kind of surreal landscape which is covered in a foggy blend of superstition, corruption, desperation, and greed. It is a world in which just about anything goes if it serves one's purpose of getting what one wants.
In recent weeks, I have read several articles which tried to explain away the lies politicians tell with philosophical statements such as, "Well, every politician shades the truth," and "It's not so bad because it doesn't impact national security," or "He's just trying to make a point."
Such rationalizations are, of course, poppycock. And we, the people, wonder if a politico cannot be trusted in the small things, the easy things, how in the world can we trust him or her in matters that impact our nation and the world?
Paul Ryan we know to be an outright liar as he proved so dramatically in his speech at the Republican National Convention. When the corporate media get on his case for "shading the truth," or "not being entirely correct," we know Ryan's lies were obvious and easily falsifiable.
What bothers me even more than those lies, however, which he delivered in a blatant attempt to portray President Obama as a bumbling idiot, is the lie he told about his running marathons.
Just last week, when he sat for an interview, he was asked about running a marathon. When people who are basically trustworthy are asked such a question, they come out with the truth. And runners know exactly to the second the time in which they completed a race. I know because I'm married to a runner; she's run two marathons and many more races of different lengths. She would no more forget her marathon times than she would forget her birthday.
So Ryan lied. Maybe it's his nature. Maybe he is what they call a congenital liar. He said, "I had a two hour and fifty-something marathon. I hurt a disc in my back, so I don't run marathons anymore."
A runner would not have said "two hour and fifty-something." And it is inconceivable to me that Ryan forgot his actual time, that it was two hours and fifty two minutes and seven seconds, or whatever!
Note also the implication that he had run other marathons. "...so I don't run marathons anymore."
Why would he say that? Did he think nobody would check it out? Is he not only a congenital liar but kind of stupid?
Evidently Runner's World asked about his "marathons." And, as the Huffington Post reports, "the Ryan campaign confirmed to Runner's World that he has only run one marathon, the 1990 Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, which he finished in just over 4 hours"
But the Huffington Post is wrong to say this is merely "stretching the truth." This is out-and-out lying about not only his marathon time but the number of marathons he has run, which is one!
Ryan was chosen by Romney to be his vice-presidential running mate. Another man supposedly in contention for that spot is the Republican senator from south Florida, Marco Rubio.
Marco also has trouble with the truth. Maybe it's a disease of all vice-presidential contenders. Consider Sarah Palin. Liar is too good a name for her. She gave lying a bad name!
In Miami, the Cubans who think of themselves as real patriots, as tough people, as immigrants who came to this country under extremely difficult conditions and were able to make something of themselves, are those Cuban exiles who were tossed off or driven off or fled the island when Fidel Castro took over. Their lives were at stake. These people dare not go back to Cuba.
When Marco first came on the scene, he told a story which made it look like his family was part and parcel with the Cubans driven out of Cuba by Castro. This was a central part of Rubio's story. He wanted to identify himself with the political exiles; that has a poignant and dramatic ring to it.
But it was a lie. A big lie. Rubio's parents came to this country in 1956, two and half years before Castro came to power! They were not exiles, they were immigrants! The dictator, Batista (supported by the U.S.) was in power in Cuba.
There's more to the story that has to do with Rubio's grandfather who came to this country legally in 1956 but he didn't find the American dream so he went back to Cuba after Castro took over but wasn't happy there, either. Grandpa came back to Florida but was caught at the airport and ended up being deported. He did not "deport." For five years he lived as an "illegal alien" in the U.S. until he was able to stay here legally.
It's a fascinating tale. But the point is Rubio embellished the tale to make himself look good in the eyes of those who might vote for him and it worked for he was elected Senator.
So maybe that's the key. These politicians lie because they know it works. Until it doesn't. Then they tell more lies. Nobody checks and they go on their merry way tearing our country apart.
Ultimately, though, the question must be answered relative to any politician, Republican or Democrat (but I do believe that in the course of this campaign the Republicans have the longer noses): If they can't be trusted in the small things, can we trust them with our lives?
[Note: The information regarding Rubio came from democracynow.org; an interview with Amy Goodman and Manuel Roig-Franzia. Roig-Franzia is the author of The Rise of Rubio.]