“A lie does not become the truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil does not become good just because it is accepted by the majority”. Courageous leaders are people who aren’t deterred by adversity or afraid of what people may think of them especially if able to stand over their actions. Courageous leaders motivate people with personal charisma, expertise, integrity, and respect rather than by using their position or authority as a way to perpetrate wrongdoings. Courageous people are tough, but fair. Whereas dishonesty comes in many shapes and sizes. Of course, some people may tell a lie in error of judgement in which they may believe their words when they are spoken. Others tell bare-faced lies, knowing full well that they are being deceitful and destructive. So, why do people lie? The reasons are countless and often are to deceive people on some important issue. People lie to make themselves look better, steal the credit, cover up poor performance, conceal mistakes, deflect the blame, protect their reputations, and to deceive and manipulate people. Regardless of the motive, the ultimate results are the same. As someone once said, “The worst thing about being lied to, is knowing you’re not worth the truth.” It is a misconception that the ultimate power belongs to those who govern our country because the greatest power has always, and will always, belong to the people. “Oh what a web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”. So it is imperative that those who have power be honest and honourable and carry out their duties to the highest standards of integrity.
Deception and lies can leave us with massive amounts of regret. We may have made choices with harmful consequences to avoid telling the truth, especially if you are in public life and must save your position. Looking back at life with regret is one of the toughest things to get over, because you cannot change your actions in the past, and only suffer the consequences when found out. We must have a lot of high powered people around today that live with regret for their actions, and can’t change or undo them. People in power suffer severe consequences if found out telling untruths that hurt or defraud other citizens. At the core of lying we only deceive ourselves, because we don’t have enough psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with the penalty of fallout that will follow. Lies damage or even poison our characters. Having a good and truthful character is the best defence that we have for all that life throws at us and it is our most important quality if you need to be credible. Misrepresentation and lying by omission occurs when an important fact is left out to foster a fallacy and deceive others. Lying by omission includes the failure to correct pre-existing misconceptions. The phrase “speaking with a forked tongue” means to deliberately say one thing and mean another or, to be hypocritical, tell lies or act in a duplicitous manner. In the longstanding tradition of many Native American tribes, “speaking with a forked tongue” has meant lying, and a person was no longer considered worthy of trust or being considered responsible, once he had been shown to “speak with a forked tongue”. So how do we feel as a nation with all the irresponsible and damaging untruths and destruction of lives that we have witnessed over the past number of years, and especially in the very recent past? Is this type of governance really acceptable and where do we go from here. These events destroy the credibility of all politicians, the law enforcers and those who are supposedly the watchdogs for accountability, and leaves a legacy of bad taste that demoralises all people. People in powerful positions have a grave responsibility and have an immovable duty to be exemplary in their dealings with the public and to be truthful in their actions and how they carry out their duties. They are paid huge salaries and are well looked after in their retirement, that the least that people expect is that they carry out their duties with honesty, integrity and commitment. Sadly, we as a nation have been failed to the detriment of many who depend on truth, justice and equality to be fostered and administered in their name. After all that is what representation means and members of the Dail should remember what their job is, to be trustworthy, objective, fair, and doing what is right for all citizens, and that they stand up against injustice –– backing their words with action..
It will be a long time before credibility will be restored and respect gained after such damaging revelations about the arms of the state that are supposed to be the carer’s of society. Unfortunately good people will suffer too in these state bodies and those who give impeccable service will struggle to be seen as honourable people and their interests questioned, as if they had done wrong. This is the fallout from the misdeeds of those empowered and entrusted to do their jobs in a conscientious and dependable way. Cover-ups and those protecting the misdeeds of others are as guilty as those who perpetrate the “crime.” There is no excuse for dishonesty. None. The truth doesn’t cost anything, but a lie could cost you everything. I wonder how do liars feel about themselves today? Their integrity in tatters, shamed and humiliated in front of the nation with no place to hide. Suffering the anger of ordinary decent people. Hopefully they will ask themselves “Was it worth it” as the truth will eventually come out and they will suffer the indignity of being called liars and con-men/women.
Peg Hanafin, MSc in Rehab/Couns/Psych
Author of Getting more out of life, Thoughts for your journey, Never Give up.