Something Like The Truth

Monday, July 17, 2017 - 10:15am
John Kushma

Something Like The Truth


The standard Perry Mason courtroom witness swearing-in oath reads, “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”, all while the witness places his left hand on the Bible and raises his right hand.  You would think such symbolism would be held as sacred.  No more.  The Bible is now optional in our politically correct society.  People can’t swear on the Bible if they don’t believe in it.  


Similarly, and in view of the current events surrounding our new troupe of political leadership savants, I think it would be easier on everyone, including God, if they changed the last part from “and nothing but the truth” to “or something like the truth.”  That way it wouldn’t be such a divine insult to the judge, the court, the jury, to God and the television viewing public every time the witness opens his mouth.  Because there’s a good chance he’s lying.  


I mean, when you lie to God, that’s really bad. 


Recently, and coincidentally, since Donald Trump took office as President of the United States, there has been a rash of high public and government officials raising that right hand and taking that solemn oath, and imparting “something like the truth” if not downright boldface lies.  This mocks the truth including everything and everyone that oath represents.  It dismisses all of us.  To be fair, Trump did not invent lying he just seems to espouse it.  He may not even recognize a lie, which would explain a lot.     


Even though lying is an art form, and we all do it, some better than others, some for better some for worse, it’s still lying.  Little white lies, big black lies, doesn’t matter.  The implications and consequences could be severe.      


“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  “I am absolutely sure there are weapons of mass destruction...”  “If you like your plan, you can keep it.”  “The dog ate my homework.”    


The best case-in-point is the recent highly publicized liar, Donald Trump Jr.  Although he hasn’t taken any solemn oaths yet in a courtroom or committee hearing setting like many of his father’s apostles, in the court of public observation and opinion, the kid’s lying through his teeth.  It’s obvious.  He looks it, he sounds it, he knows it.  He coms off like Richard Nixon on television.  He sweats, his facial expressions and body language say he’s lying.  However, he’s not a very good liar, which may be his saving grace.  He may be too dumb to lie effectively, or maybe too deer-in-the-headlights naive, while his co-conspirators, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, a couple of clever sharks, throw him under the bus to save themselves.  


Trump Jr. could easily be viewed as a young, privileged kid who got caught up in the campaign excitement and enthusiastically, unwittingly, stuck his neck out for his father.  What will be interesting to see is, if his father, The Donald, Sr., throws him under the bus as well to protect and save his presidency.  When asked by the press to explain his son’s actions in soliciting the now infamous “Russian Meeting” at Trump Tower, Trump Sr. said, “My son is a wonderful young man ....most people would have taken that meeting.”  That is not a strong endorsement for his son.  It only goes half way.  As a father, he could have shown more outrage at the notion that his son was suspected of soliciting and colluding with the Russians.  He merely said he was a “wonderful young man.”  That could be interpreted as, “Dumb kid, he’s a good kid, just got ahead of himself, not thinking past his nose again.”         


Regarding counterfeit oaths and sacred testimony, this whole Trump presidency scenario is looking more like an awkward biblical pantomime.  The characters are all represented:  Barabbas (Manafort), Judas (Kushner), Pontius Pilate (Muller ..maybe, we’ll see), the Son (Donald Jr.), the Father (Donald Sr.), the Cabinet and senior level advisors as the Apostles.  Congress as the Cursus Honorum.  


And the Russians are producing and directing this 24/7 modern news cycle drama, and they are loving every minute of it.  They’ve penetrated our collective American psyche. The truth of this is becoming evident.  Trump’s idea of working constructively with Russia is nobel in concept, but in reality it may be more like working constructively with a great white shark.  Trump and company are adrift and preoccupied with their own treacheries, and it looks like they’re “gonna need a bigger boat.”    


As this American melodrama plays itself out, the liars, hopefully, will all be flushed out, and the truth will either set us free or burry us.  But don’t hold your breath.  There are some really good liars and miscreants at work here with everything on the line.  Look for betrayals, deceptions, a crucifixion, and remorse.  Maybe even a resurrection.  


The bottom line is, it’s a never-ending story.


Let’s not settle for “something like the truth.”  We want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  So help us God.                 


“The truth is incontrovertible.  Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” (Winston Churchill)


“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” (Albert Einstein)


“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” (Mark Twain)



John Kushma is a communication consultant and lives in Logan, Utah.