When I was 5, I took a quarter out of my mother’s purse. I ran to the candy store to buy the Kewpie doll I’d fancied. Mama asked, “Where’d you get the doll?” I didn’t lie. But when she asked how I paid for it, I said, “I found a quarter.” Well, I did find it. Mama just stared at me and I faced a moment of reckoning: “I found it in your change purse, Mama.” “Take it back,” she said, and I cried, “No.” Gently, but firmly, she took me by the hand and walked me to the corner store. She waited outside while I returned the doll. She opened her change purse. I dropped the quarter in. I passed the lesson on to my kids.
Remember our outrage when businessmen or politicians were caught lying or stealing? Are there degrees of dishonesty? These days, rampant mendacity equals alternate facts, at best, hyperbole. Profiting from one’s position of authority isn’t necessarily a crime, only unethical. Have we become desensitized to shady dealings, allowing some in power to suspend accountability for political expediency? Lies and cheating are betrayals, assaults on morality, unacceptable behavior in our friends, kids or spouses. Aren’t politicians’ lies also betrayals of the people they represent, staining the moral fabric of America?
Trump and Kavanaugh aside, Elise Stefanik should be held accountable by those constituents who learned right from wrong. Her campaign is funded by special interests outside our district; she has never lived in the district, and throws false accusations at her challenger, Tedra Cobb, in despicable TV ads, hoping the bogus charges will stick. What happened to “truth in advertising?” But not in political advertising? Are those ads working? Probably, for viewers who forgot the lessons they learned as children.
Agata Stanford, Glens Falls