I intended to come on here and do a complete article on the failure of HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) at the last election on November 3rd. Then I realized something, that whole campaign can be characterized in the same way as the recent flack that Ben Carson has been getting on the campaign trail. However, in order to make this point completely, allow me to borrow from the creators of “South Park” from a recent episode they titled “Safe space.”
The makers of South Park made their bones in the early days by simply being irreverent and pushing the comedy envelope as far as they could. People that dismissed the show back then have missed out on its evolution into a show that has offered some direct hits in political commentary. If you simply watch most of the episodes this season you’ll find yourself saying, “Yes!” to a variety of different topics on both sides of the issue. The plot to “safe space” was pretty straightforward even if there was a sort of secondary plot that also hit home.
Essentially, the principal at the school got one of the characters to delete negative comments on social media for several celebrities and Cartman (a socially nonredeemable character). A bandit named “Reality” tried to intervene, but they eventually put him to death. The connection should be made instantly. Many of the current issues of the day are devoid of reality. The HERO referendum was soundly defeated based on a campaign devoid of reality. Ben Carson’s entire personal history seems to be devoid of reality. The height of his deceit came when he said he won an award for being the most honest in a class that apparently didn’t exist. I hereby announce that I won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart in the Penguin War of 2007. I saved three comrades in a raid on Mt. Aintnowhere where several penguins threatened to do us in. See, I can be a hero too.
Some folks at CNN tried to ask Mr. Carson about some things he had actually said and some things that he’s claimed over the years. The biggest flack came when he said he had been offered a scholarship to West Point. Politico released a story saying it was a baldfaced lie. Okay, they were wrong. It was merely the same kind of misdirection many of us have pulled on resumes. Every African American received the same letter at the time, so in the strictest sense he was offered a scholarship. I got a similar invitation to go to a seminary. See, I’m a holy guy. Let’s ignore how many Catholic teens got the same invitation.
I think all of us are mature and honest enough to admit that we have sometimes lied. Sometimes we massaged the truth a little to our benefit and sometimes we flat out lied. We have done it in business. We have done it with our family and friends. We often have told flat out whoppers to total strangers we will never see again. Lying goes all the way back to Adam and Eve or to the cavemen who said their dung drawing on the cave wall was really done in mud. I think we all see that politicians have lied for eons. I’m sure the nobles told King John that the Magna Carta was just some plans they had for the barbecue that next week.
What is different in American politics is that we have a whole fourth estate that is supposed to be a watchdog over this sport we call lying. They research and sometimes they ask tough questions. Sometimes the questions themselves border on dishonesty. Despite his protestations, Carson hasn’t been asked the kinds of questions that Barack Obama was asked. He hasn’t been asked about where he was born, whether his minister is a terrorist, whether he really is a Christian, or whether he was palling around with a terrorist. All of those questions were based on some level of fact, but those facts were twisted to fit a narrative. Carson was simply asked about what he had said and to elaborate on it.
In Houston, they defeated an equal rights ordinance in the most unusual way possible. They highlighted a very narrow portion of it and then made the ordinance to be all about that. Ask yourself this question, how many people have dressed up like women for the expressed purpose of harassing a young girl in the restroom? 99 percent of the time, men just flat out go in and do it. That’s been illegal and would have still been illegal if HERO had passed. Come to think it, if they had dressed like a woman and gone in to harass anyone else it still would have been illegal. Harassment is illegal. Still, let’s not let facts get in the way.
We expect some level of dishonesty in our politics. Anyone that is 100 percent honest is labeled as a straight shooter and immediately labeled as an underdog. They are just too damn honest. Leaving that aside, let’s take a step back and look at this thing. If they only way you can win a national (or even local) election is to be dishonest then why should anyone vote for you? If you have to suppress the vote to win then why should anyone vote for you? If you have the audacity to claim that someone (or the entire media) is biased because they ask you about something you’ve actually said then why should anyone vote for you? Then again, maybe I’m lying too.