Sunday, June 28, 2009

On The Other Hand

Truth is what happens when a politician gets caught. It's generally called mis-speaking.

Obama's off-the-cuff remarks about the unemployed turning to God and guns to vent their frustration may have scored highest on the truth meter during the campaign. Had he known it was being recorded his words would have been attenuated to some more limp rhetoric.

Governor Sanford's tearful disclosure was just the latest in a procession of public apologies. Again we were treated to a rare display of authenticity, however brief. A momentary glimpse of the real person slipping away from his persona.

I've just about given up on Sunday morning panel discussions. Each of the guests bloviating according to script; hedging, dodging, mouthing the talking points in the prescribed manner.

Repetitive phrases numb the ear and the eye the way repetitive motion acts; carpel tunnel vision. Our collective knee jerks when we hear that word, taxes. Or someone dares mention a public option to healthcare. As if libraries and traffic lights spell Socialism. As everyone knows Medicare trumps all the Blues from Shield to Cross.

Let this be a plea for truth-telling. Not an ultimate or literal Truth sculpted in gospel stone, and not an abstract notion with a hollow ring but a contextual truth with all its increments of gray. We know it when we hear it.

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