Thomas Jefferson once said that, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight. It is therefore imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.”
Having an enlightened and educated citizenry is a great ideal to strive for in theory, but it can be very hard to achieve in practice.
This is especially true when those that we are supposed to trust, like our elected officials in Washington, choose to lie to the American people over and over again, rather than face the facts.
And when it comes lying lawmakers, Republicans are the worst.
George Mason University’s Center for Media and Public Affairs analyzed 100 statements - 46 by Democrats, and 54 by Republicans – that were fact-checked by the Tampa Bay Times’ PolitiFact organization between January 20 and May 22 of this year.
The center found that 52 percent of Republican claims reviewed by PolitiFact were rated “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire,” while just 24 percent of Democratic statements were given one of those ratings.
Similarly, 54 percent of Democratic statements were rated as “mostly true” or “true,” while just 18 percent of Republican statements achieved those ratings.
So, there is now empirical proof that Republicans lie – a lot.
That wouldn’t be such a bad thing if Republicans kept to themselves, and weren’t able to spread their lies to the masses.
But, the mainstream media loves to let Republicans come on TV and spew lies and misinformation.
Media Matters looked at the make-up of guests on the major Sunday morning talk-shows during the first quarter of this year.
Out of 400 guests that appeared on ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press and Fox’s Fox News Sunday, 40% were either Republicans or conservatives, while just 29% were Democrats or progressives.
And when you consider that millions of Americans tune into these shows each and every Sunday, the profound effect that the Republican lie and misinformation machine has on the American electorate becomes even clearer.
So, just what kind of lies are Republicans telling the American people?
Well, there are the lies about Obamacare and healthcare in America for starters.
In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, then candidate for Vice President Paul Ryan told a crowd in Florida that “death panels” did indeed exist.
As we all know, there is no such thing as “death panels” in any portion of the Obamacare legislation, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board that Ryan talks about has no ability to ration health care.
Next, there are the lies about guns and gun violence in America.
Just days after the Newtown tragedy last December, Congressman Louie Gohmert went on Fox News Sunday, and said that concealed-carry laws reduced the level of gun violence.
But, according to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker site, Gohmert’s statement that concealed-carry laws reduce gun violence is nearly impossible to prove, and much of the evidence out there disputes the claim.
Then there are the Republican lies about social welfare programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Senator Lindsey Graham is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to lying about the state of America’s social welfare programs.
In an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation last December, Graham said that, “I think we’re going over the cliff. It’s pretty clear to me they made a political calculation. This offer doesn’t remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy. It raises $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy and there are no spending controls”
The Senator couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all doing just fine, and are far from going broke.
The bottom-line here is that time and time again, Republicans lie to the American people.
And since Republicans are allowed to stand on a pedestal by the mainstream media, their lies and the mountains of misinformation have toxic effects on the American electorate.
It’s time for Americans to wake up, and see through all the lies that Republicans throw around.
Only then will be able to fulfill Jefferson’s ideal, and truly have an enlightened and educated citizenry.