Submitted by William Elder.
I started to call this “Lies”, but it occurred to me that what I wanted to talk about was the process going on in front of us daily: mistruth. Little white lies, it used to be called— when they were. As opposed to black lies, which are in our ears so often these days so as to stain them so indelibly, unrecognizably, pepper, forever. For lies are like that, like truth— forever a coloration of fact besmirched for gain.
That is the problem. We are an acquisitive race— we want, we go, we get, no matter what. When there were fewer “wants”, we seemingly did better, grasped less, contained our outreach, made do with what we have. Forget that. Today we want more, no matter what there is to have.
The first and most important lie we convince ourselves of in American society is there is always more. No surprise. Our ancestors were plunked down amid what was in that time Eden. Don’t talk to the ghosts of the nearly 90 percent of the residents who died in Jamestown, rather their survivors, of which we are their tough children. We suffer their inheritance. We know better, or should.
Lying has become a way of life among us. Lying has corrupted us almost beyond recognition. Turn on teevee and see yourself lying back before, full color, all the tricks of the advertising trade— slick everything, without values: sex, of course, dispite family comraderie, cuteness, distraction, polished fenders. These are all lies, dramatized as desirables. Who can tell the lies from the truth (on what channels?) What is truth, anyway? Who can answer such questions, when the national administration denies its existence and proves it repeatedly with its own false, self-serving assertions.
We live in a time of denial— not of lies and lying— which are already well established. But of the time that looms before us. We are not offered just another election, them versus us.
We vote for a chance— always merely a chance— to extend the American experiment in democracy one generation more to our kids, to avoid the shame on ourselves for being the last generation, our proud heritage, to bend our backs rising the standard of liberty again. Is it enough?