An old BeeGees song is rattling through my brain tonight as I watch the news about events in North Korea and listen to the President boasting about jobs saved and more to be saved: "It's only words, and words are all I have..." The world is on to America's political class and their free and easy use of words. Our politicians calculate carefully just what to say to put themselves and their party in the best possible light. Truth is a non-factor; power and the appearance of power are everything. Republicans are as guilty of this as Democrats. Yesterday the North Koreans convicted American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee for actions against the regime and sentenced them to 12 years each of hard labor. The Administration, on the same day it boasted about having "created or saved" 150,000 jobs since the beginning of the stimulus package and made bold predictions about "creating or saving" 600,000 more jobs over the next 100 days - the Administration threatened to put North Korea back on the list of terrorist nations. Yeah, that ought to do it. I can hear Kim Jung Il: "Go ahead, taunt me again!" Our political leaders are addicted to power; they are wary of truth. What's worse, they know no one is going to hold them responsible (cf. Nancy Pelosi). For American politicians, words are merely a means to the end of self-aggrandizement. That's why the Washington definition of a "gaffe" is "a sudden eruption of truth" into the political arena. The really sad thing is, it works. And politicians know it works. Say what they think the people want to hear so as to usher them into or keep them in power. The real villains here are not the politicians, but we the people, who have so little regard for truth that we let our leaders get away with whatever we consider will vindicate whomever we have chosen to support. The days of letting your "Yes be Yes and your No be No" in political speech may never have been very bright, but they are more obscure, obtuse, and self-serving now than I've seen them in my lifetime. Christians at least should be more insistent that our leaders traffic in truth, and not just words.
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