Voice: Congress the leader of the nation's liars and hypocrites

August 13, 2001

Words are supposed to be used to communicate; but too often they are used to deceive or at least to distort the truth. A recent TV survey showed that "the average person lies seven times per day."

A person who lies needs an infallible memory, a vivid imagination and lots of ingenuity. Otherwise he will become inextricably entangled in the web of his own lies. As Sir Walter Scott said, "What a tangled web we weave/when first we practice to deceive."

The worst thing that can happen to a liar is to lose the trust of others. He can tell the truth, and because it is known that he is a liar, no one will believe him.

This was graphically depicted in recent movies about a little girl who had earned a reputation for prevaricating. She accused her father of sexual abuse, but everyone believed it was just another of her fanciful tales. No one believed her — until her father was caught in the act of molesting another child. Even a psychopathic liar sometimes tells the truth.


The question is: How can a liar expect others to believe him? How can anyone know when to believe him?

Another facet or lying is that the liar, being devious himself, thinks everyone else is a liar. He can trust no one. He has trapped himself in his own web of deception.

How many wrong decisions do we make every day based on false information? How many lives are ruined in the process? False advertising and false promises are the basis of the American economy. Dishonesty seems to be the norm.

As for politics, one would have to do more than read lips to know whether a politician intends to keep his promises. "Read my mind" is a better slogan. But since we are not a nation of psychics, we would still be deceived.

Now comes the question, posed by J. Hill Hamon:

CAN you imagine working at the following company?

It has just over 500 employees with the following statistics:

— 29 have been accused of spousal abuse.

— Seven have been arrested for fraud.

— 19 have been accused of writing bad checks.

— 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses.

— Three have been arrested for assault.

— 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit.

— 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges.

— Eight have been arrested for shoplifting.

— 21 are defendants in lawsuits.

— In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunken driving.

Can you guess which organization this is?

It's the 535 members of the United States Congress, the same group that perpetually cranks out hundreds upon hundreds of new laws designed to keep the rest of us in line.


El Centro

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