“People say the truth hurts. Hell no, it hurts even more if you do a whole bunch of foolishness to try and avoid it.”

Tyler Perry

by  C.C. Campbell-Rock

There is mounting evidence that politicians, specifically Republicans, are deathly afraid of the truth. Their steady diatribe against voting rights and proponents of fair and open elections is part of their broad and deceitful strategy. On the state level, they want to keep Republican control of statehouses. Nationally they want to win back majorities in the U.S. Senate and House, and recapturing the White House. They are using the Senate filibuster to do it.

Capitol Hill Republicans who take their cues from Donald J. Trump, Sr. Trump will go down in history as the biggest liar to ever occupy the White House. During his four years in office, Washington Post fact-checkers found that Trump told 30,573 “untruths.” 

Yet, there was one time that Trump told the truth. Whether he told the truth for practicality’s sake or out of exasperation and fear, his truth-speak thoroughly explained why he still lies constantly.

In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began claiming the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, rather than come up with a national plan to contain the virus, Trump focused on getting reelected and consolidating GOP power.

 When Democrats proposed measures in a coronavirus stimulus package that would make it easier for voters to cast ballots in the 2020 elections, including vote-by-mail, same-day registration, and early voting, they scared the truth out of Trump.

“They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox & Friends.

Trump stretched the truth about Republicans not being elected, but there was an element of reality in what he said.  If it weren’t for Republicans’ voter suppression strategies, including voter purges, limited polling places, gerrymandered districts, and recent laws that allow the GOP to overturn elections, they wouldn’t get reelected.

“Democrats often accuse Republicans of deliberately making it hard to vote to keep minorities, immigrants, young people, and other groups from the polls. And Republicans often say they oppose voting reforms because of concerns of voter fraud – which is extremely rare – or concerns over having the federal government-run elections. But Trump’s remarks reveal how at least some Republicans have long understood voting barriers to be a necessary part of their political self-preservation,” Sam Levine wrote in The Guardian.

White legislators’ voter suppression campaigns to stop black people from voting date back to the end of the Civil War. Republicans today, however, have weaponized lying and used a strategic set of lies to claim there is voter fraud where none exists. The proof is in the more than 60 court cases they lost based upon voter fraud claims.

 Politicians’ affinity for lies is well-known.

 Telling untruths is not exclusively mutual to Republicans. Democrats have told their fair share, too. For example, Arizona Senator  Kyrsten Sinema’s justification for keeping the Senate filibuster in place strains credulity.

“Instability, partisanship, and tribalism continue to infect our politics,” Sinema wrote. “The solution, however, is not to continue weakening our democracy’s guardrails. If we eliminate the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, we will lose much more than we gain.”

Opinion columnist EJ Montini lambasted Sinema in an Arizona Republic article.  Referring to her defense of the filibuster in a Washington Post Op-Ed, Montini wrote, “Sen. Kyrsten Sinema stuck with the filibuster – and got conned. Her Republican colleagues mocked Sinema’s talk of ‘bipartisan cooperation. They used the filibuster to prevent even a DEBATE about voter protections in the For the People Act.”

The filibuster is a Senate rule that requires a 60-vote majority to pass any legislation. Essentially this gives power to the minority party.

Most Democrats in Congress want to do away with the filibuster. Dems want to pass legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes. They argue most candidates win elected office with a 50+1 majority.

Sinema and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s continual support of the filibuster created a backlash against the Senate policy.

Former President Barack Obama called the rule (it’s not a law) a “Jim Crow relic”. Other civil rights leaders say senators used the filibuster to preserve slavery.

“Sinema waxes poetically, if not naively, about how the rule forces senators from different parties to find common ground. In Tuesday’s vote, however, Republican senators used the filibuster to prevent even a discussion among senators about the For the People Act. How can you find common ground if Republicans aren’t even willing to talk?” Montini asks.

Sinema worries that Republicans will use the simple majority to push their agenda if Democrats scrap the filibuster. Which begs the question, where was Sinema when then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid the filibuster aside to push through Trump’s three Supreme Court nominations?

As one wise woman once said, “All excuses are lies.”

“Ultimately, politicians lie because the cost/benefit ratio for lying is in their favor. Politicians run this calculation when they create or shift a damaging narrative, attack an opponent, or respond to indefensible claims against them. I’m going to assume that most politicians know when they are lying (if not, we have not only a bunch of narcissists in government but also a whole lot of sociopaths). So, politicians lie when they believe that dishonesty is the best policy for getting elected,” Dr. Jim Taylor wrote in Psychology Today. Six Reasons Why Politicians Believe They Can Lie.

Philosophers, authors, civil rights leaders, the Savior, and one beloved president left the following wisdom about truth for us to ponder:

  • A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. -: President John F. Kennedy
  • What the power structure is afraid of is that we’re going to learn to recognize the truth when we hear it. – Daniel Keys Moran, Author and Sci-Fi Writer
  • Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed. Friedrich Nietzsche – Philosopher
  • Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” ~ George Orwell
  • “I really know nothing more criminal, more mean, and more ridiculous than lying. It is the production either of malice, cowardice, or vanity, and generally misses of its aim in every one of these views; for lies are always detected, sooner or later.” ~ Lord Chesterfield – British Statesman
  • “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. … If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” — Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – Jesus Christ  (John 8:32)

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