Is telling the truth important in elections?
To the editor:
Should honesty and integrity be trivial matters in an election?
Is it OK to lie in a campaign? Have voters come to expect it? Have we become so used to such lies that we don’t care anymore? Is it fair to try to justify a big lie with the excuse: “The other side does it” or “It’s just politics”?
Some would have us believe that.
Call me naïve, but I’d like to think the people in the south suburbs deserve better.
Some of our incumbent Republican legislators and their PAC supporters have chosen to make a big fat lie the heart of their campaigns, and the lie has appeared in this paper’s pages.
The big lie is the claim that our IR friends were responsible for an $8 billion, nine-month turnaround in the state’s budget.
Let’s be clear. No self-respecting economist would stand behind this claim. Whether you support the state budget compromise of July 2011 or not, it had nothing to do with the improvement in Minnesota’s economy that changed the budget outlook. In fact, it may have hurt it in the long run by borrowing from our schools.
It would be truthful to instead acknowledge the effects of billions of dollars in federal aid Minnesota received from President Obama’s stimulus package, as well as the Federal Reserve’s actions to stimulate the economy.
But how should south metro citizens take the claims their Republican legislators are making? Do the lies matter?
I, for one, think they do. If our candidates lie because they can’t justify their votes based on an honest assessment of the implications, then we all lose something unbelievably important: the integrity of our democratic process. We might blame “the system” or the media or one political party or another for the state of our lives, our communities, our state or our country, but in the end, we have only ourselves to blame, and our votes come November, if we accept such lies as “business as usual.”