Please don’t lie to us. Please forego both the repulsive, deceptive, and twisted lies and also the flattering lies we like to hear. For example, I heard a fellow candidate recently trot out the tired old line, “America is the greatest country in the history of the world.” This makes Americans feel good and gets applause. Maybe it wins votes. But it is a lie.
Yes, we are the richest country. Yes, we have the most weapons. Yes, we dominate in many fields, from sports to pop music to movies to pornographic websites to resource consumption and waste production. But the seductive lie of superiority is bad for any nation, including ours. Any nation that keeps telling itself that it is the greatest will become a proud nation (if it isn’t already), and pride, I have it on good authority, comes before a fall. Pride makes nations, as individuals, unpleasant and ugly neighbors, and so candidates make a bad long-term decision when they seek to coddle pride in exchange for votes. If they win, they will preside over a country that their rhetoric has made more ugly and more likely to fall.