In a prior life we were friends. There was a sort of ease in our conversations, and I did not have to expend energy questioning what was true and whether I was being used.
Then it happened. The lie.
It turns out that he wasn’t the guy I thought he was. He manufactured a false world for me to see. In that world he didn’t do drugs, didn’t mistreat his wife, was a good employee, and was a good parent. I believed it until his wife said, “Enough,” and his employer fired him for using Meth.
I don’t like the world of the lie. Recent developments in the political and social media arenas heightened awareness of how lies bring confusion and toxic conversations. Lies left our whole nation asking who we can believe. Who would have ever thought that we would need sites like Snopes.com to vet whether Internet stories are true or not?
Fake news, falsehood as the norm of political discourse, and denial of what is obvious has all but destroyed collegial speech and the possibility of collaboration. You know you’ve reached a new low when you’re willing to accept the candidate who, in your view, lies the less seriously or frequently – depending on how you scale the lies.
In the world of the lie:
- The boundaries of relationships are constantly shifting. One day you can trust, the next you can’t.
- Truth, whatever that is, shape shifts in each new context.
- Cynicism creeps into every important institution of our world like fog in a swamp.
- There is no trust or willingness to risk openness.
The political debates of 2016 brought us to a new low in our public conversation. I miss the times when we thought that difference was important to the public good and that truth flourished when we were the most open with each other.