When the truth (and democracy) doesn’t matter but we pretend it does

As a society, we frequently pretend we care about honesty and freedom. We frequently pretend we care about other people. But, when we recognize tangible evidence, we can easily see what actually matters.

During the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing with Jeff Sessions, I was captivated by three overwhelming things.

First, the chair and voice chair each had 10 minutes. Members had 5 minutes. Each person’s time limit includes any questions or comments by the member and responses to those by Sessions. Such time limits, while very common, are arguably unconstitutional. 2 and 3 minute time limits are especially common if members of the general public are allowed to voice opinions at public hearings. Such artificial and very limited time constraints clearly violate freedom of speech. Naturally, some kind of time limit is necessary, but 10 or 15 minutes would be much more reasonable.

Second, when people are limited to seconds the logical extension is that the truth and democracy do not actually matter. Nothing meaningful can be established in just a few minutes. 5 minutes is not always enough to even say hello. Such time limits actually make a mockery of everything involved. We are given the appearance that something might change or something might be revealed but time constraints make that impossible. Although cliché, the important decisions happen in secret behind closed doors and the only question that ultimately matters is what will benefit the very privileged?

Third, during today’s hearings Sessions was clearly angry and hostile when pressed. It also seems very likely that he was lying most of the time. Politicians lie often, as do others. They are sworn to tell the truth but they don’t. And it seems like no one actually expects them to tell the truth either. (Interestingly, studies show that people who invoke sacred texts, theology, or higher powers in their promises are the most likely to not uphold those promises.) Again, the process is a mockery. I have been in a small handful of situations where a person was lying and others knew said person was lying but it didn’t matter because of this person’s position. Why have we come to essentially require lying from people in positions of power?

Why have so many accepted such horrible, dishonest situations?

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda

Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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23 replies

  1. Hmmmm. Thought provoking. Interesting reading. TY

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not impressed but can manage…What about you?


  3. It seems that privilege grants respect, even when lying should not. Or is it wealth that “trumps” lying? Most politicians have a lot of wealth or they could not even think about running for office. It is amazing that we pay for our representation if the candidate already has money, but not for those who have none.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For sure wealth, lots and lots of wealth, tends to grant one permission to lie. And, sadly, being very wealthy seems to be a prerequisite for almost all political offices. I remember in first grade they told us that anyone can become President of the United States and my mental response was “uh, no, only super rich people get to be President.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So true. I suspect that all people who have grown up in the margins often disagreed with what was said in school by our teachers. I have met so many people who have never questioned what was taught to them. We need to get all college students to question anything they are told, and try to imagine alternative answers to what they have heard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That might make a good activity of some kind…require student to question various ideas/theories. Similar to requiring students to take a position they don’t hold for purposes of thinking and perspective.

      But, there is a risk too in that student’s, as I tell them, don’t necessarily know enough to “disagree” with the various theories and methodologies with which scholars study and process information. I always try to avoid giving students tasks that are “dangerous” – dangerous in terms of asking them to do something that requires more information to do correctly.

      I want students to respect experts and, of course, criticize when appropriate. They should always ask questions, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So very true about that exercise being dangerous. I guess teaching them that all people are entitled to their opinions but to always question how much they could possibly know to even have an opinion at all is just as important. And to do this without disrepecting them! This is a true challenge in today’s “social” media world.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dr. Pegoda, you are very right, I really appreciate you giving me that URL. It is an extremely helpful article for everyone teaching in colleges/universities today, but also those just giving webinars, seminars, podcasts, lectures everywhere to any group of people.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. SOOOOO True. I guess it helps to just keep a list of the gems you find and make that list available. Maybe put a widget up on your blog with a link to your list or just a pdf that people can download.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love it! A catchy title might be better than AJP’s Favorites. Yeah, you need a widget just referring to that. Upload a great photo and attach that image to the link you give–that works better than just the link. I love some of the entries. I had to laugh at the question “Can I shoot my students?” and some others. I am sure that many could write a blog post replacing the word “Students” with some other relevant title.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad to hear that! I thought you’d like it. 🙂

      Any ideas for another title?

      “Can I shoot my students?” is a good article – and so relevant given that Texas higher ed students can bring guns into the classroom. It hasn’t been as scary a I thought it might be but it’s not the best situation, for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. On another note, I have to go watch my favorite show, “Murdoch’s Mysteries” (COZI TV–no I do not pay for cable) I love the way Canadians write their TV shows. This one really tries to keep it correct in both vocabulary and behavior, historically. It takes place at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, and doesn’t just keep the costumes accurate. They keep the correct wording for the time period and some of the attitudes (but I wish they would keep the racist attitudes also, just couched in hints of those attitudes so that the heroes still remain heroes). The show is a HUGE global favorite, in most countries except in the U.S. If you love history dramas, this is the one to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How about “News for Your Muse” and a photo of a statue like “The Thinker” or someone with the scales of justice? or just a stack of journals or books on a library table, or a reprint opened up to a page or any of these on an iPad with keyboard showing?


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