Yesterday’s Best of the Web Today had a great section titled “Cynicism: The New Trust” that hammered away at a topic I have brought up here, several times before: The fact that some actually seem to want hypocrisy in their leadership, in particular at this time, the Presidency. (Previous discussions: “So, Miss California agrees with President Obama…” and “An actual request for hypocrisy?”)
In the BOTW feature, the WSJ’s James Taranto points his readers to a piece on the Washington Post by James Kirchick titled “Obama said ‘I Don’t.’ He may just mean it.” Taranto notes that, essentially, the Kirchick piece is addressing those who hope the President secretly supports the concept of homosexual “marriage” (to whom Kirchick seems sympathetic) and is intended to warn them thusly: “Hey — I know that you guys & gals are hoping that President Obama is lying when he says that he is against homosexual ‘marriage,’ but watch out: we may not be able to trust him to lie about this.” Really: He equates not being able to trust President Obama with not being able to trust him to be lying. Incredible.
Actually, Taranto summarizes the piece better than I do (though with a sense of “political realism” I don’t share) : “When faced with a choice between two politicians with the same stated position on a matter, it is entirely reasonable for a voter who disagrees with that position to prefer the candidate he believes is less sincere, or less likely to stick to his position. But this is a cynical calculation; to characterize it as an act of ‘trust’ is bizarre.”
The Scriptures talk about a people not being able to distinguish between the clean and the unclean, or the holy and the unholy. I would say that such sensibilities — when virtues are more related to cynical calculation than, well, virtue — fall into this category.
And according to the news today, it seems as though the President is facing the same issues with health care. In the past (2003) he clearly stated that he supported a one payer health care system and that it would have to be achieved in stages (unedited clip here). This is, of course, what many of his current detractors accuse him of secretly seeking in reform — something which he strenuously denies. So many are banking on his insincerity, hoping that he was simply pandering (that is, lying) in 2003 to the extreme among his party to gain their support. His current actions, on the other hand, are upsetting one payer activists who feel betrayed that he seems to be keeping a one payer option off the table. So they, too, are banking on his insincerity, hoping that he is trying to temporarily appease more conservative elements in a crafty way (that is, by lying) so that his previously stated goal of a one payer system can come to fruition after all.
How is it that America feels so complacent about a system in which everyone hopes their leadership is insincere and that they cannot be trusted to believe what they say? How insane is that?
Am I trying to slam President Obama, in particular? Not at all. For one, I should allow that his views on one payer health care may have changed since 2003 (believe it or not, people do change), and he should not be charged with guilt of lying simply because supporters of homosexual “marriage” believe — and happily hope — that he is doing so. And even if he is practicing deceit, he is simply acting in a way that the current system in America sadly requires for political success. Those who believe that one party has a monopoly on lying and habitual hypocrisy is fooling himself. The vice of insincerity seems to fill the halls of government from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, and infects both parties. While I am sure there are exceptions (please tell me there are exceptions…), Democrat and Republican, alike, seem to lie as if it is second nature to them, and it would be downright depressing if one didn’t know that this system will one day be replaced by one that is just, good, and right — lead by Him who is Just, Good, and Right.
Actually, my beef lies more with the American people than the politicians they appoint, and with the idea that continues to startle me: that so many of them seem to want leaders lacking in personal virtue and trustworthiness.
I am reminded of two passages of Scripture, applicable in sentiment if not in detail:
“An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end?”
– Jeremiah 5:30-31
“That this is a rebellious people,
Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;
Who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’
And to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.'”
– Isaiah 30:9-10
May God soon deliver us from such a sorry state of affairs in which people pray their leaders are liars and in which insincerity and hypocrisy in leadership is considered a virtue.