I found myself at an unlikely venue the other night – a high-school basketball game. Though never a sports spectator, I was there to watch the high school dance team perform. Watching the game was, well, my ‘pre-game show’. The first game had strong teams, fairly matched, and the visitors maintained a leading spread by 3-5 points. Sometime around the half-time point, the tables turned. Our team began to lead. Not by much but 2-3 points. Consistently.
It didn’t take much to see why – the opposing team was committing more fouls and our team was using the resulting free throws effectively. This continued to the fourth period and, with a few minutes left in the game, an edict came from the visitors’ coach – ‘no more fouls’. Fouls ceased, game returned to normal, and after two overtimes, the visitors won.
The integrity of the game, once restored, allowed the stronger players to perform, and their team to win.
I was watching a political volley of such fouls today from Kellyanne Conway on “This week with George Stephanopoulos”. She remained consistently belligerent in trying to defend and cover up statements of suspect truth. Seasoned journalists and panelists on a subsequent debate remained baffled by the strategy. Like Ms. Conway, they wanted the conversation and debate to rise above reality TV yet were encumbered by the responsibility to report on the facts and call out the lies when obvious.
It was the following sentence that made me connect the current politics to the basketball game –
Now we’re in a position where every time Sean Spicer takes the podium or the president says something, they don’t need to just be fact-checked, you have to presume that they’re not telling the truth.
-Stephanie Cutter, panelist with Stephanopoulos, 1/22/2017
Think about this for a second – when the pattern of bending or ignoring the truth becomes the new normal, then the only final conclusion is that NOTHING stated by the President or his official spokesperson is trustworthy. Just like every offensive or defensive strategy of the basketball game is supposed to be suspect for a foul first, strategy second.
I hope the President’s office can shake the contemporary moniker of “liar in chief”, lest the White House be reduced to a sorry farce.