Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
A person is called two-faced when they are pleasant when they are with you, but say unpleasant things about you to other people. Two-faced people are duplicitous, deceitful, dishonest, and willing to do anything to get ahead. Their value system (if they have one) lacks a true north. They practice situational ethics. Two-faced people are universally despised by principled people. They are hypocrites!
No where do you see more two-faced people than in the political arena. From unprincipled candidates, unscrupulous political consultants, and unethical volunteers who pull up opponent’s yard signs, their goal is to win at any cost. The truth is sacrificed, dismantled and disfigured to fit their narrative. Half truths and lies are thrown into the public square with the goal to convince the low information voter to vote their way with little or no regard for veracity.
The increase of money into politics has created a huge secular industry. Political consultants make mega bucks to raise money, formulate a message, and get a candidate elected. A century ago, candidates ran their campaigns on much smaller budgets, because voters paid attention.
Until Senator Mark Hanna became a full timer campaign advisor to President William McKinney in the late 1880s, political consulting was done by close friends on a volunteer basis. That changed in modern times, with every successful political campaign- at every level- hiring political operatives to manage their campaigns. Political science is offered at every major university and the business of politics flourishes. The lack of constant, continual engagement by voters has created the current political swamp. The political business thrives because of voter apathy. Three observations:
First, it reveals a total lack of character to knowingly deceive voters. In the past week, voters in Oklahoma received direct mail pieces from a candidate running for State Auditor and Inspector (SA&I). In the mailer, the candidate claimed he was going to help stop illegal immigration and would help former President Trump build a border wall. Neither of those are within the jurisdiction/authority of the SA&I’s duties. Nothing less than deceitful, deplorable trash sent to mailboxes- all done by a political consulting firm owned/operated/managed by so-called Christian believers. Shame on them!
The attack on current State Auditor Cindy Byrd reveals the sleazy, wicked, corrupt underbelly of politics in Oklahoma. Byrd has done a good job as SA&I and deserves a second term. She is not the only person to be the target of deceitful campaign material this cycle, but she is the most vulnerable for a statewide office that is critically important for the citizens of the Sooner state.
Second, informing, not manipulating, of voters should not be the goal of candidates and campaigns. Campaign material and media should enlighten voters on what the aspirant stands for. Candidates should identify issues and solutions. Reasonable people can honestly disagree on solutions to issues. Lying, misrepresenting and caricaturing an opponent’s position speaks to the lack of character of a candidate or consultant. Oklahoma GOP primary voters and Party leaders should demand substance, not nothingness from candidates running on the Party brand.
Third, let the voter beware! Be leery of every claim made by political candidates. Sadly, the Truth-in-Labeling Act doesn’t apply to politics. Don’t believe everything you get in the mail, see on social media or on TV. Before you vote, seek wise counsel from those you trust. Pay attention to public policy all the time! Confront and condemn candidates and consultants who regularly lie, cheat and steal to win. Until that is done, dirty politics will continue.
It’s disappointing when Republicans display a lack of integrity in the public square. It is especially disgusting when that deceitful behavior is coupled with quoting scripture and singing O How I Love Jesus. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, no man can serve two masters (Matt 6:24). When man tries, he becomes two-faced. May God convict the two-faced of their chicanery.