Jail time for lying.

Started Aug 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Jail time for lying.

Is this too hard to enforce? Require those holding or running for public office that they tell the truth in the function of their office?

For example, let's say a politician says that so-and-so says this, when they never said it. Should they not have to answer for that? I mean, are we really saying that the truth is such a slippery beast that a public official cannot perform the duties of their office without lying?

Why can't we require elected officials to take an oath to not only uphold the Constitution, but to tell the truth -- and then enforce the oath.

At the very least, it would require politicians to think more and talk less. Of course, there are ways around it. Rather than saying "So-and-so said that..." they can say, "It's as if so-and-so is saying that...", so, not technically a lie.

But at least it's a step in the right direction, and requires politicians to dot all their i's and cross all their t's. More than that, it just doesn't require a lot of effort to put in place, and allows candidates to be backed into a corner. For example, "Mr. President, yes or no, did you engage in any sexual activity with your intern?" or "Mr. President, yes or no, you now have concrete evidence that Iraq is currently in the posesssion of WMDs?"

So, politicians will be able to use weasely language, but reporters will be able to use direct language. We all know what a failure to answer means, and we all know what a non-sequitur response means. It would be great if, when that happens, the next reporter simply re-asks the question until it's answered, in accordance with some sort of new code amongst journalists.

Of course, that would likely mean the end of press conferences with the current batch of politicians, but maybe a selling point for the next candidates: "I promise not to duck questions."

That's a promise they will be held to.

I mean, seriously, I am asking for something so crazy? Do the rest of you resort to the amount of lying and intentional misrepresentation as politicians do in the course of your jobs? What is it about political office that neccessarily requires dishonesty for the elected officials to do their job?

It seems to me that failure to enforce such a simple thing as honesty for public officials means that we get what we deserve when we elect them.

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