One television show I’m both intrigued by and ambivalent about is called House. It’s a medical drama in which the main character, a physician, is a diagnostic genius…except that he almost kills his patients a number of times until he brilliantly deduces the correct problem.
One problem he and his associates always have in diagnosing these strange presenting disorders is that, as Dr. House says, “everybody lies.” It would seem that patients will withhold information essential to their proper treatment because of shame, guilt, embarrassment or to get out of some potential problem — even if it threatens their lives! Sometime during the one-hour drama, for better or worse, the truth comes out. Moral debates sometimes arise about the value of truth and honesty.
During my radio program, I have often cautioned people about being too flippant with honesty…it is, in fact, not always the best policy. For example, “Your child is ugly and below average in intelligence!” or “Aging is sure being mean to you…look at all the wrinkles between your chin and your chest!” Now, they may be honest assessments, but must all truths be spoken if they are going to hurt someone with no reasonable or positive motivation or intent? My answer is, “no.” My answer is to find something sweet and kind to say…there always are those aspects of a person or a situation.
However, there are circumstances where the truth is essential; and sadly, so few of our young people believe that is so. Every school age child in America knows that a sitting, married President looked right into the television news cameras and lied about having had a sexual relationship with a young, single intern. What was astonishing was how quickly his supporters and political party members were to dismiss this kind of lying since it was “personal.”
It’s funny how “personal” impacts the world. ABC News produced a story about college cheating using the most advanced devices our technology has to offer. The piece centered on a Texas college freshman, Kiko Kho, who had used a see-through plastic pen, opened up the back and slipped in a strip of paper with vocabulary words on it so that she would pass her French exam. If you think it is remarkable that she admitted all this to a reporter…hang on to something…she posted a video on YouTube detailing how she’d pulled off her cheat that received more than 120,000 hits. Did she show remorse and argue against cheating? Nope. She did admit “it’s not a good thing to cheat,” followed up quickly by “everybody has done it.”
Our young people watch television political talk and debates and hear time and time again…”that’s not true,” “that’s false,” or “that’s a lie.” When I was a child all I heard about was that President George Washington didn’t lie about that cherry tree…that was something to aspire to!
In Jasper, Indiana, two of three challengers for a congressional seat have agreed to be hooked up to lie detectors during an October 21 debate, but an official with the incumbent’s party dismissed the idea. The Republican Party Chairman made this proposal to Democratic Incumbent and the GOP and Libertarian challengers. The only one who declined to comment was the Democratic Incumbent…now that just looks bad.
I think all political debaters, product promoters, attorneys, teachers, scientists, and students in exams should take advantage of lie detection technology…and that’s the truth!