So how do we do it? How do we ensure that our ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ means ‘no’?
“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them… Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”
Why do we have such a hard time telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Or perhaps better said: why are we so tempted to distort the details?
Wouldn’t we have more respect for the person who leveled with us — who didn’t attempt to manipulate the facts and therefore manipulate the impressions we possess?
As most of us are aware, last week was the first presidential candidate debate. It was watched by an approximate 60 million people. It has also been widely reported that Gov. Romney exhibited a clear, superior performance; in fact, according to Gallup, Mitt Romney won the debate by a jaw-dropping 52-point margin — the most resounding margin since the independent polling company began tracking debates 20 years ago.
Now let’s be clear, friends; there is no reason for Romney surrogates or supporters to initiate any attempt at a victory dance. This was the first of three presidential debates and one vice presidential sound off. This is also only one of many aspects and incidents that influence the eventual outcome.
Instead of acknowledging Romney’s clear, better debate performance, several Obama surrogates and supporters attempted to steer the conversation elsewhere; they attempted to distort the details.
From Obama spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter…
“I sometimes wondered if we even needed a moderator because we had Mitt Romney.” [… blaming the moderator…]
From senior advisor, David Plouffe…
“He [John Kerry, Obama’s debate preparer] couldn’t keep his pupil in the seat… We thought being an older, white rich guy, him and Mitt Romney would have a lot in common. We didn’t take into account that John married money, twice, and Mitt earned his through capitalistic thievery.” [… blaming the debate coach…]
Campaign advisor, David Axelrod, blamed Romney.
Filmmaker, Michael Moore, also blamed John Kerry.
David Letterman blamed George W. Bush (with yes, his tongue semi-in-cheek).
But the most obvious distorter?
Former Vice-President Al Gore…
“I’m going to say something controversial here. Obama arrived in Denver at 2 p.m. today, just a few hours before the debate started. Romney did his debate prep in Denver. When you go to 5,000 feet, and you only have a few hours to adjust. I don’t know…”
Yes, Al Gore blamed the altitude.
Friends, while many of the undecided were undoubtedly influenced, most of us won’t be voting for one candidate or the other solely based on last week’s debate performance. But note to all: please have the decency to be honest — to let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ — to refrain from distorting the details in order to serve your own purpose. “When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” That was obvious after last week’s debate.