Remember the story of the little boy who cried wolf? Most parents have told their children this story to try to help them understand that if they repeatedly lie, someday they may be telling the truth when they really need help and no one will believe them.
We all know someone in the community whose credibility is questionable. While their stories may work for a while - the first times they cry wolf - eventually they are known for being questionable. Their audience narrows down to the most gullible or equally questionable and those who have not learned yet that they are not credible.
Growing up. most of us heard the story of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, which he should not have done. When confronted, the legend says, "I cannot tell a lie." That legend and the tradition of moral high ground on many issues has been the cornerstone of the "American Brand". We cherish the memory of Honest Abe.
In the history of our nation, we've had many cherry tree moments. There was the "Trail of Tears" and many injustices focused on our native american brothers and sisters. Slavery was a horrible thing. We still struggle with a wide range of civil rights and equality issues. The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII caused great harm to many of our brothers and sisters. Oppression and indifference continue to haunt us as a nation.
Deep within our national soul, there has also always been a great desire to seek truth. When indifference gave way to awakening, the lies were uncovered and we could no longer allow them. America stood for higher ground and we have always been a nation seeking higher ground. That's how we have seen ourselves and that is how we wanted to be seen throughout the world.
That "American Brand" - the very credibility of our nation - depends upon truth. We each have a responsibility as Americans to seek truth, to speak truth and to help guide our country toward higher ground. As much as credibility is the cornerstone of good personal character, it is the cornerstone of a great nation. Right now we are facing a crisis of credibility. We cannot solve any issue without first seeking truth. Making decisions based on lies will destroy us.
Liars will always attack those who expose their lies. They will attempt to silence those seeking truth. They will do it with broad strokes of character assassination while loudly proclaiming they can prove the lie but never providing credible evidence. Don't accept it! Don't respond with broad strokes of character assassination in return. Call a lie, a lie. Provide truth. Expect higher standards. Set higher standards. It's the most patriotic thing you can do.