“It only seems fair.”

Suggestion of the Day
Monday, August 11, 2008

If it’s illegal for us to lie to the government, why isn’t it illegal for the government to lie to us?

By “the government,” I’m referring, of course, to the President.

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

True, there’s nothing in the Oath of Office which promises that the President will be truthful when he talks to the American people about matters of significant importance – although voracity might be construed from the words “faithfully execute” and Presidential lying is no way to “preserve” the Constitution.

No, for the President, there is nothing like the laws and simple process which compel ordinary citizens to tell the truth when testifying before Congress, in the courts, and to various other authorities. It is as if the American people are a somehow lesser entity, less authoritative, literally, and less deserving of respect than the institutions we have ourselves created to serve our purposes. We’re left, instead, with little more than the hope that our President is a person of integrity upon whom Congress and the American people can rely for the information they need to understand our circumstances and act accordingly.

How arrogant of any President to lie to us. What a grotesque perversion of the core principles of our democracy. What gives any President the right, if not simply that he or she can so easily get away with it? Maybe we should do something about that.

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