It seems politicians are only good for lying… and it’s our fault.
It’s an old adage that politicians are professionals at going back on their word. From political cartoons to skit shows, to late night show zingers, we find a gross consensus among the populace that politicians are expert liars. Unlike many other stereotypes, this one is actually true—surprise, surprise.
For decades, our elected representatives have backtracked, gaslit, and obfuscated on their extravagant promises of affordable health care, gun control, and pretty much any other liberal policy in order to hide their true intentions: to take our Constitutional liberties away. Conservatives are also guilty of such behavior, often running on “liberty” and “preservation of our rights,” only to side with uni-party and corporatist lobbyists when they step foot on Capitol Hill. It’s important however to examine a handful of instances of political grandstanding and lying which pose immediate threats to our rights as citizens.
If politicians can turn on a dime with barely any repercussions, imagine what they can do with years of Congressional participation under their belts.
No matter how much power or deference you give elected representatives in their quest for “social progress,” “democracy,” and “equity,” they never seem to understand that they are placed in Congress to represent us, not their personal interests. Despite some attempts to reign in said political powers, we nevertheless find ever-expanding federal bloat every single year.
Madison must be rolling in his grave.
We all remember back in 2013 when Obama self-righteously proclaimed: “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” while unveiling the Affordable Care Act. Countless Americans ended up getting booted from their plans, as their insurance companies couldn’t keep up with Obama’s unconstitutional reach through additional taxation and broader coverage mandates. Obama once promised that the revolutionary plan would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premiums by up to $2,500 a year.” In actuality, we saw average premiums soar from $2,784 in 2013 to $5,712 in 2017. So much for savings.
Coupled with the fact that many insurance companies ended up leaving regional markets due to the restrictive federal regulations, the market was left with less competition and therefore consumers had less health care options to choose from. Less competition equals less doctors and limited insurance choices.
Americans are still struggling to find affordable health care with a doctor they choose.
Meanwhile, people looked to the White House for an explanation. Instead of apologizing, the Obama Administration doubled down on its lie, with top advisor Valerie Jarrett gaslighting the public, stating that Obamacare didn’t force anyone off their plans. Of course Americans weren’t forced off their health insurance, they just couldn’t pay the exorbitant premiums put in place. Obama eventually budged after some time and half-heartedly apologized for not being ‘as clear’ as he should have.
The lying doesn’t stop there. We have recent examples of how politicians wish to restrict Americans’ Constitutional rights, while backtracking only when it is most convenient to them.
Three-time loser Beto O’Rourke is notorious for flip-flopping on the ever-contentious gun control issue, often playing to whichever side is more likely to garner him votes. During the 2019 Democratic Presidential Debate, he confidently stated, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore!”
He must have forgotten his failed 2018 Senate run, when he openly stated during a radio interview: “To be clear, they should have them. If you purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it… Nobody wants to take it away from you—at least I don’t want to do that.”
Robert Francis would later fall back on this position during his 2022 Texas Gubernatorial run where he gave limp-wristed non-answers to voters asking if he would confiscate their guns if he were elected. Is this the type of leader Americans would have wanted representing their interests?
President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, seems to be forgetting her role in barring children from schools during COVID. During an April 26th House panel, Weingarten testified that the AFT worked its hardest to keep schools open, and knew that online learning was a poor substitute to in-person classes. Amnesia must be kicking in if Weingarten forgot about all the union strikes she helped orchestrate, effectively barring children from learning at all. This is coming from the same union boss who denied critical race theory was being taught in schools, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
A recent example of gaslighting comes from New York’s gas stove fiasco. Democrats ridiculed Republicans for accusing them of wanting to ban gas stoves—labeling the claims as conspiratorial and just plain ridiculous. Senator Chuck Schumer himself said, “No one is taking away your gas stove.” Well the man said it, so it must be true! Yet just a couple of months later, New York State outright banned natural gas stoves in most new buildings. Can’t say I told you so. In the attempt to gain as much power as possible, these politicians will lie about anything—and will do so with a smile.
Then again, being a leader in a deep blue state practically gives you the power to do whatever you want with miniscule, if any, repercussions—promises be damned.
As author Hannah Arendt once noted: “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.”
We have no one to blame but ourselves. If we can’t field compelling candidates, the same politicians will be voted in over and over again.
These aren’t just exceptional instances either. A variety of politicians in recent years have adopted a “rules-for-thee-and-not-for-me” attitude, and hold themselves to a different standard to the one they expect us to live by:
- Chris Christie (R-NJ) decided to have some fun in the sun while New Jerseyians weren’t allowed to use their own beaches.
- Ted Cruz (R-TX) went on vacation while millions of his constituents were left without power or water after a winter storm.
- Lindsay Graham (R-SC) calls himself a Republican while supporting efforts for states to implement their own unconstitutional red flag laws which threaten law-abiding citizens’ ability to own firearms and defend themselves.
- Donald Trump (R) is well known for flip-flopping on red flag laws, once stating: “We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for ‘red flag’ laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders.”
- Gavin Newsom (D-CA) broke his own strict COVID lockdown guidelines by having dinner in public and unmasked.
- Bernie Sanders (D-VT) owns three houses while promoting socialism.
- Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also defied lockdown orders for a private salon appointment.
- 18 Senate Republicans voted in favor of H.R 3684, without even reading what was in the bill. As we know, the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill allotted more powers to the federal government, and prioritized billions of dollars in aid to foreign countries over American citizens.
These are just some of the many instances where our elected leaders kiss their responsibilities goodbye, completely disregard their constituents’ needs, and will go so far as to lie and backtrack in order to come out on top.
If this teaches us anything, it’s that elections have consequences. Unfortunately, the news cycle seems to be controlling attention spans. We have citizens continuously voting for the same performers who have betrayed them time and time again. At some point this all will come to a head, but until then, the villagers are still eagerly listening to the boy who’s crying wolf.