Society

Uttering the truth has become unfashionable

Speaking
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Summary

  • Democracy is founded on, amongst other tenets, justice and truth.
  • Without fidelity to truth, fairness and shared facts, democracy will not last.

I have had more than my fair share of dealing with unscrupulous motor vehicle dealers in the last one month! I will not go into the details but, they know who they are. However, my experience is not unique nor is it confined to the motor industry, rather, it is a cancer which has permeated the entire fabric of our society. Dishonesty has become the order of the day and those who speak the truth are considered the odd ones out. Those dishonest persons speak to you with a straight face, without batting an eyelid.

Writing in the Washington Post this week, former Republican, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake offered me some cold comfort when he said, “In today’s Republican Party, there is no greater offense than honesty.” Alas, we are not alone as dishonesty has become a global phenomenon, but that, nevertheless, does not make it right.

Senator Jeff Flake continues writing and states; “Near the beginning of the document that made us free, the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

Democracy is founded on, amongst other tenets, justice and truth. Without fidelity to truth, fairness and shared facts, democracy will not last.

This week, Senator Jeff Flake states, Republican Liz Cheney will most likely lose her leadership within the House Republican Conference, not because she has been untruthful. Rather, she will lose her position because she is refusing to play her assigned role in propagating the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Cheney is more committed to the long health of our constitutional system than she is to assuaging the former president’s shattered ego, and for her integrity she may well pay with her career.

No, this is not the plot of a movie in an asylum. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your contemporary Republican Party, where today there is no greater offense than honesty.”

When Senator Jeff Flake became the unwitting dissident in his party by speaking in defense of self-evident truths, he assumed that more and more of his colleagues would follow suit. Astonishingly, very few did so. Congresswoman Cheney was one of the few and right now she must be feeling lonely. But history keeps the score, not individuals who try to manipulate the course of affairs by being dishonest.

Back home in Kenya, in the last one week we have witnessed the shenanigans in both parliament and the senate where fidelity has been severely tested. But it is not only in the political arena that our truthfulness or lack of is being tested. It is happening in our workplace, in schools, in commerce, and most unfortunately in our families where the building blocks of our children are ideally supposed to be formed and nurtured.

I remembered a popular byline during the early 90s which went something like “In Kenya today if you are poor, you are either exceedingly unlucky or just plain stupid.”, the implication being that it was so easy to get wealthy by engaging in the numerous avenues of corruption and stealing that were available then.

We seem to have developed on that theme to a point where, today, speaking the truth has become unfashionable and unpopular.

History is watching. Our children are watching. Let us be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and democratic process, no matter what the short term consequences might be.

In the words of Thomas S, Monson “May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”