by Evan W edited by O Society August 8, 2019
There’s an uncomfortable truth haunting our country these days. We’ve known it for a long time though it seems we are becoming more accustomed to brushing it off than considering its ramifications. It leaves the feeling of being violated and feeds a growing sense of hopelessness that is the breeding ground of civil unrest. Now it is so pervasive, so pronounced, and often so preposterous that it can’t just be whitewashed or swept under the rug any longer.
OUR LEADERS LIE TO US! Specifically our elected leaders. ‘Breaking news’? Maybe not, but it’s not ‘fake news’ either, unfortunately. This is an ugly truth that we should not continue to ignore. In doing so we become complicit in creating a world where honesty is no longer a virtue and being virtuous is no longer valued. Below is a simple idea to return our elected officials to the service of the electorate.
This idea is safe, inexpensive, non-partisan, and a serious, though simple, solution… THE TRUTH! It’s not pie in the sky idealism to expect the truth from our public officials. It is imperative we make it a bare minimum prerequisite for holding any public office. We should not allow today’s war on the truth to confuse our understanding of, nor soften our resolve for demanding the truth. The truth is not only tangible and real but by definition the truth is: the body of all real things, events, and facts: actuality.
- The world is all that is the case. (1)
- Original German: Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.
- The world is the totality of facts, not things. (1.1)
- Original German: Die Welt ist die Gesamtheit der Tatsachen, nicht der Dinge
- What is the case, the fact, is the existence of atomic facts. (2)
- Original German: Was der Fall ist, die Tatsache, ist das Bestehen von Sachverhalten.
- The logical picture of the facts is the thought. (3)
- Original German: Das logische Bild der Tatsachen ist der Gedanke.
First we must demand all those running for elected office take an oath (in addition to the ineffective oaths they already take) an oath not to any documents or religion but to the people. It’s final wording should be decided by people better educated than myself but it’s gist should be a promise ‘to not propagate nor act on information that is provably false, at the time of its use, in relation to the duties of the office.’
Precise wording will be more important in what will make this oath work where the others have failed. The teeth will be the law that makes it a federal offense for candidates and elected officials to violate the oath during the course of a campaign through the last day served in public office. My opinion is that the penalty should be a lifetime exclusion from working in any government office, elected or otherwise, or as a representative of any group, agency, or persons in political matters in the United States of America.
The idea is affordable because the press can do most of the enforcement. If a provable lie is told that pertains to the duties of the office, the courts decide whether or not it breaks the truth in politics law. I believe the courts won’t take the responsibility lightly. The punishment would be severe so the burden of proof would have to be high as well.
(image: Verity by Damien Hirst)
Imagine a world where we could trust our elected representatives and even candidates (think how much easier voting will be!). It would be uncomfortable for any candidate to publicly decline or denounce being held to an oath of honesty in regards to their campaigns and duties in office. The right candidates will recognize it as a tool to set themselves apart from any candidates unwilling to embrace honesty as a policy.
Some politicians will undoubtedly protest the taking of an ‘honesty oath’ (and especially the passing of the law that will give it teeth) but I say make special note of those who protest taking an oath of honesty to hold office, for they are precisely the people who we need to exclude from public service. We must look inward as a nation and not fall victim to apathy by asking ‘how will we ever get our leaders to make honesty the law of the land for public service?’ but instead face the much larger question of ‘how long can we call ourselves a democracy if we do not?’.
(header image: Verity Jones