In the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale "The Emperor's New Clothes" the thieves who come to sell the Emperor a bunch of lies about a new set of clothes that is nonexistent in real life are stopped by the whisperings of a boy to his mother. During the procession where the Emperor is really naked, everyone goes along with the crowd, so to speak, agreeing to see something--the Emperor's magnificent robes--that in fact was not there.
The boy, or the lad, had a really nice mother. I mean that she was interested in his perceptions and took them into account. The crowd, as it turned out, was collectively open to having it pointed out that there was a lie in place. And while the story shows the power of social and political correctness to the point that it can become groupthink and group lying, it also shows a rather optimistic willingness to side with the truth, should it appear and become available.
Progressives in today's political climate, and even people who consider themselves conservative and sane both, are crying in fear and trembling and desperation about how to convince the public that even though Hillary Clinton may have done some lying in her day, Donald Trump is the real liar. His advertising of his university had so many holes in it and so many damaged parties who have given witness to that point. He has chosen as his political friend and comrade Vladimir Putin of Russia, whose choice is very much power over truth. But in situations where image is in the getting away with things, is lying in and of itself any big deal? Is it not rather the deal of getting caught that is cause for shame rather than the lying about things--well, just about anything?
I can't find out anything about the current whereabouts of Joseph Darby, the soldier who blew the whistle about US military personnel committing torture in Abu Grahib. He found a surface acceptance by the Government who could only act grateful for his having the honesty and decency, not only to care about tormenting and brutalizing and torturing and murdering Iraqi prisoners, but to care so much also about America. He thought, he said, that America had to be better than that, and he--once he had been given photographs and CDs--had no real choice but to share them. His last known details seem to include the fact that he and his wife were under protective military custody. Why, you might ask. Well, many of us remember the less than appreciative response Officer Darby received. The VA in his hometown derided him for his betrayal of his fellow soldiers, as did many of his townspeople, who went so far as to threaten his life.
Was he a patriot, someone to be honored so we could heal the miserable facts of policies that implemented and encouraged some of the most sadistic details any of you will ever read about, or was he the scum of the earth, the worst of the worst? Was he a snitch? And in fact, is being a snitch worse than being a criminal, and much worse than being a liar?
I'm posing this dilemma to you, out loud so to speak. I'm not sure that we are living in a climate where more facts matter. It's not that sometimes less is more, but rather that if you are already yelling at someone who is deaf it may be time to think about your tactics. If the boy--the sort of whistle blower--in "The Emperor's New Clothes" was either banished or beaten for his outspoken sharing (he saw something so he said something) he might have run for his life never to be heard of again.
Is it perhaps time to get psychological about the Trump phenomenon? And by this I mean looking under the trappings of the accusations to the marvel that Donald Trump may appeal to the sexiness (God help me here) of the person who gets away free and clear. This means our honesty about Hillary Clinton not looking, these days as if she is getting away with or from a thing, while her opponent, well does not show quite the same anguish.
Do we need a dose of some good movies where we cheered for the truth? "A Few Good Men" could start it off, with "Spartacus" as a close second. We might begin to face the truth that we can all be oppositional, loving the badass who sticks his/her tongue out at authority. And as long as we see being a whistleblower as being a wimp instead of the genuine hero Darby has been, we will have little regard for honesty. Sure, we can say out loud that Hillary Clinton isn't honest, but isn't it really that she doesn't do lying in the conniving and coy and cutesy way of Mr. Trump?
I like to write about the shadow as described by Carl Jung. Not because I love the topic in and of itself but because it seems central for our times. The shadow houses the parts of ourselves we deny, only to do great harm when not reckoned with and acknowledged. If we love the badass but admit to only loving the good, we will cooperate in the fraud of this Presidential Election. But in addition we will also be missing a chance to douse ourselves in bouts of truth telling that can be mighty powerful, and provide a real catharsis, which might at least be a beginning of the enjoyment that is a real possibility here.
Let me begin, then. I think it's stupid and a waste to talk more about whether Hillary is honest. Nobody is honest these days in politics. It's really a question of style. We like the slyness of Donald Trump or use some excuse to find him entertaining. She doesn't fascinate us and we can't forgive her.
Just temporarily, I feel relieved.