If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Wednesday 26 September 2012
Read gnomica 1-100 here!
May we, in our dealings with all the peoples of the earth,
ever speak the truth and serve justice.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (14 Oct 1890 – 28 Mar 1969)
Thus from our fourteenth president a worthwhile thought for contemplation by the current contenders seeking election to office forty-one days from today!
When I contemplate the wasteland of lies and character assassinations in which contemporary presidential politics now shamelessly wallows I can only reiterate in my mind a thought I have now too long, and sadly, held: I want Harry and Ike back!
Fat chance, that.
In the epigraph, the phrase ‘all the peoples of the earth’ surely includes also the peoples of the United States. Given the way the business of our government does not get done these days, it is not hard to understand why, in most venues of print and video, there is such deep dissatisfaction, despondency even, abroad in the land, and why it has become so difficult really to believe in anything anybody in the campaigns says. A telling sign of the times is the rise to a certain prominence on the contemporary scene of the so-called ‘fact checker’ – a person or sets of groups or organizations whose sole job it is to ferret out the lies that the other side daily churns out. Note that the existence of such a player on the political scene assumes and takes for a given not a question of whether lies about the opposition are in fact sprayed around but that they surely are, and now they must be checked out for their dubious veracity. It strikes me as a sad commentary on current doings in the nation’s political life.
Incidentally, if you will, check out my facts in this matter here (‘Campaigns Play Loose With Truth in a Fact-Check Age’ [New York Times]), here (‘FactChecking Obama and Biden’ [Annenberg Public Policy Center]) and here (‘Fact checking Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the GOP convention’ [Washington Post]).
“Speak the truth and serve justice” – in this day and age it sounds so naïve, so touchingly endearing. And it shouldn’t! Even if this country hasn’t always delivered and still always doesn’t deliver as it should on the idea of America, today so much of what it represents and holds up as its ideals seems somehow to have gone by the wayside in the last generation or so, lost in the morass of mendacity and the dubious problematics of the Bush-Obama governments’ recourse as a matter of policy to Guantánamo and to [an ugly and loathsome euphemism for an even more loathsome and ugly practice!] ‘extraordinary rendition’.
I would like to think that it really was different back in the day, but then that kind of (perhaps venial but probably) wishful romanticism has been around at least since the time of Hesiod (eighth century BCE) and his unhappy laments about the Ages of Man in the Works and Days.