A recent Best of the Web Today feature on the Wall Street Journal's website (8/3/2009) had a great section titled "Cynicism: The New Trust" that I found fascinating. It discussed the fact that some actually seem to want hypocrisy in their leadership, in particular at this time, in the American Presidency.
In the feature, James Taranto points his readers to a piece in the Washington Post by James Kirchick titled "Obama said 'I Don't.' He may just mean it." Taranto notes that, essentially, the Kirchick piece is addressing those who hope the President secretly supports the concept of homosexual "marriage" and is intended to warn them thusly: "Hey – I know that you guys and gals are hoping that President Obama is lying when he says that he is against homosexual 'marriage,' but watch out: we may not be able to trust him to lie about this." Really. He equates not being able to trust President Obama with not being able to trust him to be lying. Incredible.
On supporting a politician because you "trust" him to be a liar, Taranto summarizes: "[T]his is a cynical calculation; to characterize it as an act of 'trust' is bizarre."
The Scriptures talk about a people not being able to distinguish between the clean and the unclean, or the holy and the unholy. I would say that such sensibilities – when virtues are more related to cynical calculation than, well, virtue – fall into this category.
And according to recent news, it seems as though the President is facing the same issues with health-care. In the past, he clearly stated that he supported a single payer health care system and that it would have to be achieved in stages. This is, of course, what many of his current detractors accuse him of secretly seeking in reform – something which he strenuously denies. So many are banking on his insincerity, hoping that he was simply pandering in 2003 to the extreme among his party. His current actions, on the other hand, are upsetting single payer activists who feel betrayed that he seems to be keeping a single payer option off the table. So they, too, are banking on his insincerity, hoping that he is still "with them" and is trying to temporarily appease more conservative elements in a crafty way.
How is it that America feels so complacent about a system in which everyone hopes their leaders cannot be trusted to mean what they say? How insane is that?
Am I trying to slam President Obama, in particular? Not at all. The vice of insincerity seems to fill the halls of government from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, and infects both parties in America as an almost essential ingredient. It would be downright depressing if one didn't know that this system will one day be replaced by one that is just, good, and right – led by Him who is Just, Good, and Right.
Actually, my beef lies more with the American people than the politicians they appoint, and with the idea that continues to startle me: that so many of them seem to want leaders lacking in personal virtue and trustworthiness.
I am reminded of two passages of Scripture, applicable in sentiment, if not in detail:
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?" (Jeremiah 5: 31).
"That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the Lord; who say to the seers, 'Do not see,' and to the prophets, 'Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits'" ( Isaiah 30:9-10).
May God soon deliver us from such a sorry state of affairs in which people pray their leaders are liars and in which insincerity and hypocrisy in leadership are considered virtues. To learn more about the importance of the 9th Commandment, "You shall not bear false witness" read our FREE booklet entitled The Ten Commandments.