By Joe Rector

The legend regarding the father of the country tells us that he “could not tell a lie.” As children, we are taught to tell the truth or otherwise suffer the consequences. As witnesses in court, we “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help us God.” What happened to the commitment to the truth?

Every day, television ads blast us with promises and results. However, the fine print at the bottom of the screen tells the real story. Companies advise viewers not to take on the IRS by themselves and scare them by saying that the agency is taking homes, cars, and all other possessions of those owing tax moneys. However, few folks can qualify for paying the IRS less than they owe. They might still might have to pay just as much in taxes after working with one of these businesses, and then they pay fees for services to that company that promised to help them so much. That sounds like a lie to me.

Buying new cars are nerve-racking experiences for most people. That time only worsens when they face salesmen. Customers are taken to small offices where they bargain with the dealership representative. It’s surprising that the salesmen are unable to accept or reject offers by buyers. Instead, they must discuss offers with the sales manager. On many occasions when a seller leaves the office, he stands around for a while without ever asking permission before returning with a counter offer. I don’t need games, nor will I play them when buying a car. No customer appreciates the string of lies and deceptions with which car dealers beset them. All of us know that there’s no such thing as a deal on a car.

People don’t know what is true in the news. Sometimes reporters inject their biases into news stories; at other times sensationalized and exaggerated statements turn what should be solid reporting into yellow journalism. Even when stories are factual, they can be pooh-poohed by an opposing media outlet. In the end, we can only go with our gut feelings as to determining what is true, and all too many have irritable bowel syndrome that colors their best guesses.

Worst of all, our government is lying to us. Polarization has taken over both parties. Instead of working together for the common good, politicians in two of the branches of government are more interested in promoting their viewpoints than in digging for the truth and giving it the light of day. New lies bombard us daily, and citizens turn deaf ears to anything that doesn’t agree with their thinking. The country feels as if it is in a tailspin, and the pilots have parachuted to safety. Telling the truth offers no advantage to individuals who hold office.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” All of those who sing Jefferson’s praises might do well to take that statement to heart. In fact, all of us would do well to be more honest in all of our dealings in this world. The return to the truth should start in the hallowed halls of our government. Elected officials becoming role models for the citizens of this country could turn the tide toward better days. Otherwise, I fear that we are watching the crumbling of our country and its rightful place in this world.