Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pants On Fire

Pants On Fire

"Liar, liar pants on fire" was once a frequently heard phrase in the schoolyards of my generation. Back then these singing jargons reflected the often used catch phrases of our nursery rhyme generation.

Calling another person a liar set some to giggle but to many a boy this was grounds for a fight. Looking further back, how many duels were fought over the simple word - liar. Our medieval ancestry produced mountains of literature replete with chivalry based on resolving the conflicts from blurting out, "liar". Blood always ran deep from wounds made by a sword or a pistol, and when necessary, death would pop into the story to weave a good ending.

Literature just reflects true life, though, maybe in a more dramatic form, it sensationalizes the gory facets. Today, we seem to have grown out of using duels as a means to end a conflict, even if it's from calling someone a liar that began it.

Just think of how many times our politicians in this present campaign have called their opponents a liar. Think, how many duels would their words of today cause ? No one would be left standing to run for office. Come to think of it, maybe we'd be better off if an election were decided by a duel to the end, at least, it would have a definite finality to the effort.

The day of the duel is gone and sometime in the future the need to call an opponent a liar may follow and be gone also. My hope is the sanctity of honesty would rise up in the breasts of candidates so they, by their own doings, value honesty above all else. Maybe through a newer more sophisticated use of cyberspace a private internal fact checker would automatically prod, something like an invisible dog fence does for animals, a politician when he or she attempts to utter a gaff.

After, say 40 years of constant prodding, do you think humans would be programed into only speaking truths and shun lies and half truths in their discourse? I am told "hope springs eternal" though eternity, I think, has no beginning nor end. Hope, therefore, must be the mantra for all politicians whose goal is to lead a country far into the future. Hope has its genesis in honesty, true unadulterated honesty, which beyond all else honesty has to be buoyant and always rise to the surface. It must be the cream which surfaces and sweetens.

Ronald C. Downie

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