Friday, July 6, 2012

Why Politicians Get Away With Lying?

A very interesting article for discussion in the NYTimes: 

First definitions. What's a lie? 

1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.
v. lied, ly·ing (lng), lies
1. To present false information with the intention of deceiving.
2. To convey a false image or impression: Appearances often lie.

For Lynn Vavreck, politics is a high-stakes game. She writes:
... in the 2000 Democratic nominating contest, when Al Gore claimed he “took the initiative in creating the Internet” was he lying? Or did his comment seem more like a lie after it was misreported that he said he “invented” the Internet? Or how about this case: was it a lie in January of 1998 when President Clinton forcefully denied he had “sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” adding that he “never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never”? And in 2003, when Colin Powell reported to the United Nations that U.S. intelligence showed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, was he lying?
See that these examples are different: The first is a public appearance, Gore was being hyperbolic. The second is a more serious instance: lying under oath. In the third example, Powell (then secretary of state under G. W. Bush) was deceived by the C.I.A. Vavreck makes an interesting point:
 Why do Americans tolerate politicians who lie? Because most political lies are exaggerations or contextual lies. They are lies of omission, or put the way a politician might, they are economies of truth.
 For Sisela Bok, lying has become a norm of politics. Bok makes a good point. If your opponent lies and gets away with it, there is little you can do but to lie as well. And the public? This is why people accept that politicians are liars.
But most of the time, the truth is hard to discern amid the barrage of accusations and counter-accusations about fraud, the broken promises, and the outright lies that fly fast and loose among campaigns. The worst outcome would be for everyone to give up -- for voters to conclude that all politicians lie and for politicians to lie when they think that they will get away with doing so, hoping that enough people will be misled and that others won’t hold it against them.
How about evading instead of "lying"?
More disturbingly, politicians who dodged the question but did so in a smooth, practiced fashion were rated more favorably than those who answered the question but in a less fluid fashion: politicians are better off answering the wrong question well than the right question poorly. (Not all dodges go unnoticed – politicians who answered a question about the war on terrorism by riffing on health care were both caught, and punished.)
 George Lakoff is a linguist. For him, it's a two way street. Voters align themselves with their politician of choice and believe what they say because they believe those things. See it as candidate "X" lying to its base (but for them is not a lie). 

What do you think. Should we accept the fact that politics is this game of partisanship and just turn the other way and let the game go on? Is it just a matter of getting used to it? But a lie is a lie: There were no WMD in Iraq.

Politics can be seen as a theater of different factions pushing their versions of governance. In America this is generally Republican vs. Democrat every four years. But aside from the theater, this is a very serious issue. These versions end up affecting our daily lives and our future. Shouldn't we have a commitment to truth? 

I am closing this post next Friday at 11pm.


Kirsten Rincon said...

Turning the other cheek when it comes to corrupt and untruthful politicians is exactly what got us into this mess from the very beginning. Lies about our economy, lies about the wars we've precariously indulged into, lies about every single aspect of government our country holds. Of course, we should commit to the truth when it comes to politics. Is that even a question? If we cannot expect for our own government whom regulates us as a nation to do so honestly, than how can we expect for the rest of the world to do so. Truth is the key to world peace in my opinion. The second nations stop lying to each other and instead are upfront about their intentions and look for common ground, is when all wars currently active, would end and the world would act as one. Sounds easier said than done, I know but nothing is impossible.

Sean Boisselle said...

We can only be what we are, and not something else. That is the law of non-contradiction. That is truth. Truth is our nature. When we go away from truth, we go away from reality.

Lying is the act of telling it like it isn't. Following falsehood results in some big problems. For instance, the US Army went into a war on the basis of a series of falsehoods and misconceptions. To say this resulted in unnecessary suffering is an understatement.

We should not accept lies as a political necessity.

The job of a politician is to govern the people. Or so they say. I would say, more accurately, that the job of a politician is to convince people that they are incapable of governing themselves. Therefore, the very occupation of a politician involves an inherent nature of deceit.

Politicians play off the idea that they are the ones creating freedom, security, and all the colorful, shiny, fun distractions of this beloved and hedonistic land.

For example: Citizenship. Why should it matter whether I have a piece of paper, whether I get a little number and they take my picture, and I am in a computer system... why should that dictate whether or not I can live on the land? In a free model of existence, I should be able to go to whichever land I choose in order to peaceably pursue my ideal style of living.

I don't think we tolerate politicians, as much as we fear the repercussions of revolution. Like they say, "A fat and happy man makes a poor revolutionary." A great number of people appear to be more happy with the illusion of freedom, than the actual essence of it, and this is clearly reflected in the political system.

Chelsea Cumba said...

The problem with politicians getting away with lying is because they are most of the time they are already at their political position in the government and they prove themselves wrong or they disappoint their fans and supporters. If we as humans knew the future of a person and how they can have so much power but achieve nothing as promised or lie about humanly mistakes like affairs, addictions, and family conflicts. Politics have ruled society since the beginning of civilization and if casual determinism is valid than people would only know to believe politicians by their appearance, or what they appear to hear. Just like a view we had today in class about character, well a politician only lets us see what they want us to see. Yes having an interest in politics and surrounding your life based on them is a characteristic but that does not define the actual politician him or herself. But I still believe humans should recognize this and stop falling for all the fraud because repeating history won't help creating new history.

Shelley Reeder said...

Hello Professor Triff

It’s me Shelley Reeder again (still at home recovering from the surgery, stitches are not out yet) I wish I could be there in class with all of you but I cannot return until the stitches are out. I believe politicians should absolutely be held accountable for everything that they say. I know that almost every politician lies and says things to get elected or to save face; however, if we started holding them accountable for their actions in some sort of way they would stop. Maybe we could have a way to have a three strikes type of system and for every time they lie they get a little closer to losing their ability to run for reelection. On the terms of evading the question I do not believe that any politician should be allowed to go their entire campaign or term while evading a question. I have much more respect for someone who can tell me the truth whether I agree with them or not. Honesty shows that the person running for office has a strong backbone and is worthy of running for that office. This lying game should not be allowed to go on. Lying only tarnishes the politicians’ image and I wish they would come to realize it. We could start by writing letters to those caught in lies running for office or that are in office and we can also choose to not vote for those that are compulsively lying. It is illegal to lie under oath, I believe when someone is running for office that they are making an “oath” to be honorable.. so why is it not illegal to lie under that oath?

atRifF said...

Tx for the comments, Shelley. Please, send me an email so we can discuss what to do.

Shelley Reeder said...

Hello Professor Triff,

I sent two emails and the Access Department has tried to make contact with you by email. I will send another email.I hope all is well.

Kindest regards,

Shelley Reeder

Hafsa Hussain said...

Politics is definitely a game of partisanship but we should not let the game go on. We owe ourselves the truth but it is our own faults because when it comes to politics (and many other issues) we justify our actions and allow others to lie to us. We ALLOW those politicians to let their lies go unnoticed. Many do not question a candidate of the party he supports, even if he discovers that the candidate is a liar. Justification works something like this: “It is better to support the deceitful candidate who runs for my own party than even considering a candidate who does not belong to my party.” Of course, the “deceitful” part may be too harsh for one who is trying to rationalize his decision-making; he might even refer to his almighty candidate’s big fabrications as “white lies.” And of course, no one wants to look like a loser for supporting a liar so even when he is aware that he’s been lied to, he will continue to come up with bigger reasons to defend the liar. And politicians themselves are, of course, pros at this. They rationalize their poor choices and almost never want to admit their mistakes, much less apologize for them (example: Clinton on the Lewinsky affair). But they only continue this because we allow them to and it is just an ongoing cycle of lying to others and lying to ourselves. So unless WE, as citizens, change our perspectives and for once admit to our own mistakes and start to question what politicians have been feeding us, they will all continue with their dishonesty.

Shelley Reeder said...


I could not have said it better myself. I agree 100% with your point. We as voters are allowing the lies to go on and on. If a politician was told to go back to square one and start over once they were caught in a lie I believe that the game would be eventually stopped. So many people complain about the direction the country goes in once someone is in office and yet they do not use their vote to voice themselves clearly. It is our right to use our voices and speak up when we as human beings and citizens of this country feel that something is wrong. I personally have written a president before asking what was his game plan for a certain situation that was impacting our country. What I am saying is it is our duty to speak up when something seems fishy or even if we just have a question. Personally I like asking questions and gaining knowledge in that way and if I find out I am being lied to then that person loses my vote immediately. You are right about party affiliation and how some just go for their own party. I myself have been guilty of almost doing that myself. I came across a canidate I liked from the other side of the political party aisle and came to my senses and actually voted for them even though I am not registered with that party. All in all it is imperative that we speak up like I said earlier.

Anonymous said...

july 11,2012

Professor Triff Osmin says...

Since I have been able to follow the news I have watched various politicians running for different offices in government and thru the years they exaggerated, lied and promise things that
Are beyond their power to grant. It is my believe that this items listed above are parts of the
Political process just that as the years have gone by and society has changed the lies have increase. As a voter is very difficult to vote for a candidate that is completely honest I tried to
Choose the best choice for what is presented and prayed for the best.

I think that they may start their political career with good ideas and best interest of the people
But along the way the system makes them bend rules and make too many compromises to be able to reach their goal. In the end once in office favors have to be returned and no matter how
Much an elected official may tried is impossible to please every aspect of our society. The
Political process should have better checks and balances that make the candidate be truthful to
The people and make sure that once in office he or she sticks to his word and not try to just help
Those with the money to pay for campaign contribution. This is a great nation and is my believe that we have the human material to give the public an honest and hardworking candidate

Arlene Mcphee said...

Politics is a process---who gets what--when and how..Politicians are smooth as silk, charismatic, problematizers to the hundredth degree (thats what makes us LOVE them). During their time in office managing conflicts and collaborating on issues for the best interest and greater good of those they serve, they exude confidence and prowess of powerful figures/super humans in charge, what society fail realize they are human beings. And like all human beings we ERR....we make mistakes, we do stupid S@#t especially when our back is against the wall, we are stressed, we become rich and powerful and have access to "What ever we want, when ever we want it.." Sounds familiar...well like a spoiled child, who wants everything in matter what the consequences, if any. The difference between them and us regular folk is that no one cares to publicize what we do because we are the unknowns and unheard of like the missing children of the world. ......John F. Kennedy did &*it....Thomas Jefferson did &*it...and didn't King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines...What is hype, sensationalism, selling stories, exposing the truth of MAN, ok he is a MAN...what else is new?

Arlene Mcphee said...

Another point, since we discussed free will in we really think Politicians have free will or are they a product of their environment, making decisions like a wanton, willing or happy addict?

Arlene Mcphee said...

Another point, since we discussed free will in we really think Politicians have free will or are they a product of their environment, making decisions like a wanton, willing or happy addict?

Alfredo Triff said...

Politicians are smooth as silk, charismatic, problematizers to the hundredth degree (thats what makes us LOVE them).

Well put, Arlene.

The political process should have better checks and balances that make the candidate be truthful to the people...

True, but so far it hasn't happened.

Arlene Mcphee said...

Sean, we what to be who we think we are, but the majority of us are something else because of someone else...Our reality is our truth..if our truth is a lie we believe that lie until we know or learn better...when we know better we can do better hopefully...To say that the very occupation of a politican involves an inherent nature of deceit is making a fallacious statement based on insufficient premises - "hasty generalization" I refuse to believe EVERY politician is a liar

Arlene Mcphee said...

Professor, so far the checks and balance systems in place are not working because people charged with being the sentinels are flawed...example Newt Ginrich affair this a circular situation?

Arlene Mcphee said...

After today's lecture, I decided to add to my initial post. The indiscretions committed by our previous leaders (Kennedy, Clinton, Jefferson) does not in any way justify their actions and should be not used as a scapegoat..."They all do it" Their actions violate ethics, expose misuse of their power, yet exposes their human vunerability. Are they bad people? That depends on who you ask...the wife, the lover, the population they will get three different answers

Anonymous said...

Professor Triff Osmin said

I fear if nothing is done to make the political system more honest and helpful to the people it will hurt our nation since the public should be able to have faith on their elected officials and not have to worry about every time we elect an official when their hidden agenda is going to reveal itself.

Frantz Cayo said...

I believe that politicians get away with lying for a few reasons.First of all, the mainstream media fell to fulfill their primary duties which are to informe and educate the population. The media fell to keep those politicians honest by asking them questions on the things that are matter to their constituants and the country.Let's look at the health care plan signed by the president Obama, both parties have their own versions of the plan, I still don't know who's telling me the truth. Unfortunately,whoever is lying will get away with it.
When an ordinary citizen lies he goes to jail,while a politician has a chance to resign and go home.Another reason is that the voters are not doing a good job follow-up on their elected officials.Once thier are elected, they think that they are being given a free pass to lie to society.Ironically,those same people put them back in the office,therefore they think it's normal to lie to us.Until we start enforcing the code ethics laws on those guys, they will always get away with it.Look at those guys in Capitol Hill,I bet you none of them would pass a lie detector test and they sill being reelected over and over again.I have so mucth to say about these crooks, but I will stop there.As a society we deserve to know the truth from our politicians, and as human being we should have a commitment to truth.

Sean Boisselle said...

@ Arlene.

I gave the premises, how are there insufficient premises?

And I never said politicians were liars. Do not skew my words. Deceit and lies are two different things.

Marcel said...

I wonder if Sartre, as an political advisor he was, had a view from a political standing to write most of his philosophy, and came up with the idea that we are in a constant process of becoming, because he looked at how many different forms a politician/king/baron/earl could adopt. As far as I know, according to Prof. Triff, this man, was well into politics, so it makes sense to me so.

Well, "a politician is not what he is, and he is what he is not" quite fit in here, even more than in an average man. A man—who his survival depends on the masses’ opinion—Is tied up to polls, media opinion, the opposite political party, his own political party and his own character. The image that they play is based on what they want to become—president, governor, senator—regardless of what it takes to get it, and this constant process make them to commit mistakes when they talk, because is a constant process of becoming what they shall think. I don’t think they want to lie to us, because the idea of exposing themselves to this, is a factor which make them loose credibility and get into failure to achieve what they want to become, and no one in his right sense would want this at any rate. This loose way of talking that politicians use is the only one they could use to win the votes, otherwise it could lose the average potential voter. So they go on and on, but once they win the elections and become presidents and sit in the oval office and receive all the actual facts—about something they said to do if elected—which did not have by the time they were in the elections, they have to adapt to it. Is that lying?

I guess that if we give a reflection time to any politician, before to answer the question, and this politician could gather with his crew and revise all data, pros and cons of the answer, we wouldn’t see so many lies as we see today. But again, lying is an intrinsic part of what a politician is, real decisions are part of actual advisors, scholars who look at the data, round table made of economists, lawyers, engineers, and scientists.

Personally, If I were to spend time on what is coming out from a politician’s mouth I will have to get on all this vicious circle of politics and politicians, keep up with the news and so on, and I honestly have no time for that, and as a matter of fact the media is already doing that job, that look... lies could even adopt different colors depending on who is blaming the liar.

When it comes to loose talking, like talking about God, Ghosts, Jesus, politicians willpower in elections, Big Foot, Nessy and so on, I can’t stop thinking on, it doesn’t really matter if a politician lie or not because Voters just like to believe it their way, and something contrary to their belief has not sufficient baggage to make them believe the opposite.

Natasha Samson said...

I Google why politician lie, and the reason why politician lie is because the public want to hear the truth. People want to hear what they want to hear. Politician is seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles. I think we shouldn’t accept the fact that politics are lying to us. We could do something about the fact that politics are lying to us, but do some of us really care. We as American are being cheated by these people, especially when it’s dealing with are money, for examples are tax. Politics are brain-washing us with their lying because they know we as a people won’t do nothing about it that’s why they continue on lying. We are human and I believe we should have the truth and not have miscommunication. Also think it’s affecting our daily lives and are future. We are being told to vote, get up and vote, but when we vote, do we really get the truth that was being told or promise.

Vanessa Cuevas Paulino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanessa Cuevas Paulino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanessa Cuevas Paulino said...

Politicians tend to be actors, and not just because some are incredibly theatrical orators (Hitler). I remember reading a book of quotes in which someone (the name escapes me) said that Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones both took acting courses at Harvard, but that Gore had turned out the better actor by far. I remember my former drama coach saying that actors are trained liars. The same is mostly true of politicians(the exceptions are so few and far in between, that no transparent, honest politician comes to mind, as a matter of fact, I have heard that expression used as an oxymoron...) Simply put, we tolerate politician's lying and their duplicity because they are characteristics of politics. It's that simple. We have accepted this, and continue to do so. It's not coincidental that we dig for dirt on running candidates. Should we do tolerate it? I think there is at least something of a consensus that we should not. As a matter of fact, I find our tolerance more disturbing than their lying.

amado estrada said...

Every cause has an effect. Is not news that politicians lie. In this dilemma who are the responsible for such effect? The reasons politicians lie is because the public doesn't want to hear the truth. People want to hear what they want to hear. This whole process has two steps, the pre-election lies and the post-election lies; each one has its own focus. When two candidates are running and one of them tells the truth and the other says what the public wants to hear, the one who says what the public wants to hear wins the election. Thus and there are exceptions to this, if you want to win an election, you better start lying, because the guy who's telling the truth doesn't have a chance. Then, we should ask ourselves; do we reward these politicians for lying to us? – Yes, we do. We give them our votes. So, who are the real responsible of this entire BS? Then come the second type of lies: the post-election lies. At this point, the game has changed just a littler. Politicians will lie about sexual affairs to preserve their name. They will lie about fraudulent practices or scams but they themselves are the mastermind; and even they will try to cover their bad performance by doing some projects that would appeal to the people and gain their approval. Doesn’t comes to your mind the new law that will allow young people to stay in the U.S. signed recently by President Obama. I’m totally agreed with this law, but the question in here is why he waits so long to do it? Is it because the elections are coming? All what there are doing is trying to convince you that you didn’t waste your vote, but lie after lie. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to vote for a president or any politician coming from the dictatorship of Castro; but I know that in my hands I have the core power and I would like to be proud of that.

Jocelyn said...

I’ve never really believed in politicians. Fancy suits, prefect speeches, expensive campaigns, and plenty of empty promises is all that I see. Politicians are notoriously known for lying and not only does the press/media know but all of the citizens know as well, but why are we not doing or saying anything about? It’s a simple answer, money is power and power is money(at least in our country). They don’t necessarily care for the poorer citizens of this country but only the top 1% ,which accounts for the population of wealthier Americans. Politicians need to keep all these monopolies and multi dollar industries content before the 99% of the citizens that struggle financially to keep up with their needs. That’s why politicians will say whatever they need to say to convince and sway the 99% people because we have the right to vote and we’re only seen as that ,a vote. It’s time politicians stop caring for themselves and their allies(monopolies/multi dollar industries) . We are all human beings and deserve to know their real intentions on how to better our country and society not only what’s in their best interest. We should stop funding pointless wars and focus more on our education system that needs so much reform as well as finance. Our government doesn’t care or do enough for the environment if they did they would encourage alternative renewable resources such as solar energy or wind energy or promote and enforce a nationwide multi recycling programs that are more accessible to people . These are crucial issues that the politicians lack to focus on because it’s not a priority for them, all they care for is money, power, and becoming a part of “political history” . We need a true ,sincere , and ethical politicians all over the country to work on bettering ourselves and hopefully we can vote for those who are that. I hope people can see especially the younger generations that we cannot always believe and trust what is said to us especially by politicians. Always problematize and hopefully we can all seek the truth because it’s the least we deserve, we need to stop being sheeple*.

*Sheeple (a portmanteau of "sheep" and "people") is a term of disparagement in which people are likened to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research. By doing so, they undermine their own individuality and may willingly give up their rights.

Anonymous said...

Commitment is a word so overrated, like love and truth. We are not committed to politics because we like to flatter people saying: “ Oh no, I don’t have a party, I don’t like politics.” “We are not going to talk about politics because HERE is not the right place to do it,” and so on. Ironically most of that ignorant mass regards themselves as “patriots”. The same ones that complain and say the world is wrong due politicians. They have taken their decision, to not step in politics, leaving the politicians an easier task. Politicians are not the ones to blame. Without responsibilities, how could we call ourselves free?

As an outsider I see United States from a different perspective. Two parties that look much alike, financed by great corporations, the same ones that run oligopolies of almost everything, specially The Mainstream Media. And most of these people once in power succumb to all the allure of huge amounts of money, granted by lobbyists.
And of course since most of the people believe the rubbish of CNN or Fox News what we could expect of our politicians. They lie because this is what keeps them governing. And once in power not much we can do. They’ve got police officers that can protect their interests and know how to manoeuvre in the judicial system. The whole structure is rotten.

For me things are not going to change if we remain expecting politicians change their habits for ones that can beneficiate us. We need to be more inquisitive with them. Really harsh, since they are not earning a common “salary.” Maybe Jean Paul Sartre is the best example here. He committed many mistakes supporting dictatorships and terrorism during his life (Critique of dialectical Reason talks by itself). Surely he could not amend these mistakes, but that doesn’t undermine his reputation. We got to stop Waiting for Godot and take some actions. Much better regret our failures than regret the things we never did. Those things remain in our minds… They echo turning it into hell.

Joshua Jimenez

Anonymous said...

Politics and honesty nowadays rarely come together. All that the politicians seem to do is to make promises that they hardly or never seem to deliver to the masses that were blinded by the silver tongue, spewing a web of lies/ contradictions that cluster the newsfeeds like a swarm of enraged hornets bent on chaos. But why do 90% of our elected officials lie to us? While there seems to be no clear cut answer (due to so much lying), my guess is that most of these so called politicians do this in order to keep a false sense of righteousness, claiming to up hold justice, which in reality is greed. The article said that Collin Powell was deceived by the CIA about information of Iraq manufacturing nuclear weapons. But few Americans have theorized that the reason as to why America ventured out into Iraq was for oil, causing needless bloodshed and putting Afghanistan in the background, where the real threat was located.
In a lesser extent, the politicians that here in Miami-Dade county pledged to fix up the cities here? What happened? Essential programs are being cut left and right and they’re saying there’s no more money? How did- oh yeah….. Most of the money went into building the Marlins stadium and Miami Heat. Politicians are blowing money away! I understand that we’re a tourist attraction but what about programs like education, transit and most importantly, safety? While the suits claim about funding education, they’re investing our taxes in the entertainment aspect. My friend Andrea and I were having this conversation and her theory (which I have to give her full credit) told me that whatever politicians don’t see as entertainment find it unnecessary to fund, which is truly heart breaking because our kids are suffering. They need the guidance in order to become successful and thoughtful adults in the real world. Without these programs, the kids would not have any guidance, which could have severe consequences, consequences not realized by the “righteous” politicians for which they are partly to blame.
In my opinion, if we educate ourselves and maybe do some research on the people running for key office positions, then maybe our society could finally start to rebuild. I believe by doing this, could mean the difference between honesty and corruption.
Florida is ranked as one of the most corrupted states in the nation.
-Andrew Herrera

Tomas Sessa Stavel said...

Why do politicians get away with lying? Because we the people let them get away with lying. Most of us don’t care what politicians say and do. There is a deep void between our private lives and what is happening on our behalf. And politicians are taking full advantage of that. Some citizens don’t even vote and let others take control of their lives. There is a strong connection between our lives and what’s happening on the political scene. We need to understand that and do and say more. We need to get more politically active, ask the right kind of questions, don’t take no and lies for an answer, and hold politicians that we put to work accountable for what they say and do. We should never stop questioning the authority. Let’s not look away when politicians lie. Always remember Rosa Parks: it took a single voice to address an issue and get things moving. People shouldn’t be afraid of their politicians, politicians should be afraid of their people!

Maria Pia Blanc said...

Most of the time when people think about politics and politicians, the first thought that comes to our mind is how much they lie to us and how come they never solve the problems they said they would during election time. Unfortunately it is true, but I don’t blame them because the world of politics is much more complex than what we might think. First of all, when they run for elections they are in a competition and their ultimate goal is to win that competition no matter what. In order to win that competition they need our votes, therefore, to get our votes they have to lie to us. According to studies, people are more likely to believe in a person when that person tells them what they want to hear, and that is exactly what politicians do to us; they tell us what we want to hear. They have the power to make us believe, because we as human beings have the necessity to believe in something or someone that will solve all our problems. That is why politicians get away with lying, because we might even become deaf toward ideas we don’t want to hear, and we might even justify the lies of the politicians we are supporting. Finally when politicians win the elections that is when they really start thinking about how they will solve a nation’s problems. Sometimes the problem is that in order to make a change politicians need the support of other branches of the government and that is not an easy task to achieve. When they realize time is up and they could not solve all the problems they intended to solve, that is when we get disappointed and call them liars. It is impossible to make everyone happy and to solve all the problems of a country, so yes they will lie to us to get there and try to do something and we will believe them.

Anonymous said...

Why politicians get away with lying? I think that they main reason is that they are not hold accountable. They lie to get elected, and they lie while on office to keep their positions. I do not think that all politicians are bad or liars, but the truth can be hide under so many lies that never is seen. I certainly believe that politicians (at least some of them) start their careers full of dreams, but along the way they have to “compromise” in order to move forward. Politicians can make a promise and later realize that it is impossible to achieve this promise for a variety of reasons. Therefore, they should be hold accountable and share with the voters the reasons that put him/her in the position of not do what was promise. This way the chain of lies will go to the root and somebody will be found responsible.
Elizabeth Diaz

atRifF said...

Good points, Marcel, I guess what we learn from Sartre and politics is that one should always problematize what politicians say.

Vanessa brings an interesting point. Politics is a public act and politicians learn that the theater of politics demands to act the part. On the other hand, what if they told the truth? Would we believe them?

This is in a way what Maria is conveying in her comment: "politicians get away with lying, because we might even become deaf toward ideas we don’t want to hear, and we might even justify the lies of the politicians we are supporting."

Michael Perez said...

Although I understand I am late towards this discussion I would like to throw in my two cents...

Campaigns are just about appeal. We can say that lies must be made in order to appease the masses but lies run a-mock in american media so it has become a common playground for politicians to speak towards the media and in certain manners. Masking "ideas" in the terms of solutions that only really benefit a specific group are also the norm.

I would argue that lying is part of human nature, and we lie because we want thing's to reach the desired result whether it is morally good or bad is out of the question. How we get there again is also morally good or bad but in the end the results are what matter and nothing else.

It could also be to some extent a by product of a capitalistic democracy. The need to compete, the need to win, the need to be the big the reason we lie in politics in the first place...

This has become the norm in business with less morals and more profits, and it's indirectly and possibly directly affecting our politics as well considering that some politicians own business, are savvy in it, have capitalized, or have some form of interaction with it and is poisoning our political infrastructure. Whatever the case may be lies are exactly that but I believe the public will accept them in the end because of the hidden context of the laws trying to be passed show.

-Michael .P

Anonymous said...

Lying has become a part of modern day politics just as much as campaigning is. The simple fact is that pretty much all politicians do it, whether directly or indirectly by omitting key information. In all the debates I watch the same thing happens, one politician accuses the other of supporting bill A, the other politician says this is not true. It is obvious one of them (or both in some cases) is blatantly lying to the public, however rarely do the Amercian people become offended by it because it has simply become rampant throughout politics. There would be no candidates to vote for if every lie or omission was condemned. It is so unfortunate and immoral that our representatives have almost no fear of doing so and something must be done about it. Lying is only one of the many problems in our political system, which I beleive has become more of a game than real politics. However, holding our representatives accountable, truly accountable, can be a very key first step in eliminating the troubling issues that politics faces today.

Daniel Sanchez

Anonymous said...

One of the worst ways to demean a person is to lie to them. Trust is something that should be sacred, especially when it comes to the very people who represnt us in our government. Unfortunately, even they often deceive us. Our government is a very important part of our lives and the fact that the people who run it have the audacity to lie to the citizens who elect them is one of the worst problems facing our country. The lying is mostly done in order to look better in the eyes of voters, however, this is not the way that politics should be run. Our politicians should be honest, and straightforward with the voters and present to us their views and ideas, so that we can make the best decision as to who is the better choice. Engaging in never ending lies, deciets, and mudsinging is certainly not the way our politicians should be trying to get our votes. Unfortunately, until we all take a definitive stance against lying in politics, as well as, actually hold everyone accountable, this vicious cycle will continue for years to come.

Laura Delgado