As a child, lying was something I rarely did. This was a function of two things: being Catholic and being lazy. But perhaps the most compelling reason not to lie is that you will always be outed.
It may not happen immediately, but there is simply no way to go through life telling lie after lie without someone eventually figuring out that you did not serve with honor in Vietnam, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, that your version of your wife’s tragic death was not accurate, President Biden, and that you did not go to college, U.S. Rep.-elect George Santos.
The amazing thing, to me, is that high-profile people lie as if the internet didn’t exist. We all have a cyber footprint, and it’s so easy to figure out when someone is fabricating an entire narrative that is more fiction than fact.
James Frey made the mistake of lying to Oprah, who had featured his memoir, “A Million Little Pieces,” in her book club back in 2006. The author lied, he didn’t just embellish facts, and the queen of TV was pissed. The irony is that it was so easy to establish the falsehoods, particularly since they were published in a book that attracted national attention.
What was Frey thinking? Is it possible that the narcissism that lies at the root of falsehood and betrayal blinds us to the ease of unmasking? These days you press a button, and google becomes the oracle of truth.
I was thinking about all of that when I watched as Democrats demanded the resignation of Republican George Santos.
Frankly, I’d have no problem if he were forced out of office. Here is what he lied about: his education, his work history and his property ownership. He lied about getting a college degree. He lied about working on Wall Street. He lied about his taxes. He lied about his personal life, including marriage to a woman when he now identifies as gay (not that there’s anything wrong with it.)
He lied about a lot of things that matter, and some things that don’t. While his serial embellishment is not exactly an impeachable offense, it is troubling. It’s almost as if he created an entirely different person in order to win an election, and that means the voters didn’t actually get what they bargained for. Bad look for the Republicans.
But you know who else I wish we could hold up for ridicule and shame? Blumenthal is at the top of the list. The Democratic senator from Connecticut did something that this relative of Vietnam veterans can’t forgive: He lied about being in combat. He didn’t actually say he came “under fire,” but the implication was clear. During his Senate race in 2010, Blumenthal repeatedly noted that he had “served in Vietnam.” He was never even near Vietnam. Blumenthal served in a reserve capacity stateside. That’s still honorable. But it isn’t putting your body on the line in a bloody war.
The way that the media has tried to cover for him, particularly after his lies were underscored by President Trump, indicates just how far the mainstream will go to protect the stolen valor of a Democrat.
And speaking of Democrats, there’s President Biden. We all know about the tragedy of his young family. Growing up just over the Delaware line, I’ve been aware of the loss of Biden’s first wife, Nelia, and his baby daughter, Naomi, in a horrific car crash. I always assumed that the crash was caused by a drunken driver who blew through a traffic light. The reason I believed that was because this is how Biden described the incident:
“A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly — I never pursued it — drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly.” Biden knew that the driver had never been charged with drunken driving, was never arrested, was never sued or was held responsible for the accident. There was evidence that Biden’s wife veered into the truck’s path, not the other way around. But Biden used the power of his own pulpit to defame a man who had to live a good part of his life with the burden of an onerous lie.
Lies are bad. They degrade the people who tell them and hurt those about whom they are told. Santos should be ashamed. Not because he’s a Republican, because he’s a human being who tried to fool us into believing he was better than he really is. He has a lot of company.
Copyright 2023 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist and can be reached at email@example.com.