In the introduction to his massive chronicle of combat, entitled “Men At War,” Ernest Hemmingway described his subject as… “…that thing which no one knows about who has not done it.” Much later in the sequence of events, he modified his unmitigated statement with this qualifier: “As they get further and further away from a war they’ve taken part in, all men have a tendency to make it more as they wish it had been, than how it really was.”
There’s a new and disturbing trend in our politics that should be more than a little distressful for Americans, as they become aware of it. “Embellishment” would be its kindest definition, though a more literal phrase would be: “Contorting truth,” at which one George M. Romney Jr., has become a habitual master. This is not a new practice, though its development is much slicker and more sinister than ever before. Christopher Columbus used it to mitigate his suggestion that the Emperor and Empress of Spain introduce the African slave trade to the ‘New World,’ when they complained that the riches he’d promised them were slow in coming. The natives, he griped, were nomadic and lazy; unsuited to arduous labor, as were African slaves already trafficked via Arab captors. Thus, along with his historic discovery, Columbus left us a cvil rights calamity, that bedevils to the present day.
In the eastern Mediterranean, today’s Israelis persist in rationalizing unstinting American support for their archetype U.S.-style Democracy, as the only such in the Middle-East, while they also persist in strict adherence to religious control of governmental functions, in the most glaring evidentiary difference.
Equalizing the drift in Judeo-Christian dogma, during this newly politicized century, we sadly also learn that while the Catholic Church still considers human life sacred from the moment of conception, its hierarchy willfully conceals the guilt of molesting priests who prey on vulnerable children, despite the inevitable calamity they inflict on them. What terrible price is exacted, when those who claim to speak for God are then self-appointed to act in the Deity’s behalf?
As mentioned at the outset, the practice of contorting truth is as old as humanity itself. The newest phase of word-warp, though, is for this experiment in thoughtful self-governance the most grievous, because it trades away free-will, our most precious collective asset, for mere monetary rewards that others then enjoy at our expense.
The great essayist, Michel Montaigne wrote: “He who hasn’t a good memory should never take up the trade of lying.” This would seem to be the wisest counsel for one George M. Romney Jr., who apparently has become the rapacious revisionist of recant for American electoral politics, in the twenty-first century. We can only hope and pray, it isn’t our last.
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