Tell me why

When these words were penned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (a few others also pitched in) and sung by The Beatles, they were focused on a lover who is beseeching a significant other to explain why. Here are two refrains:
Well I gave you everything I had
But you left me sitting on my own
Did you have to treat me oh so bad?
All I do is hang my head and moan
Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me
Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me
I was thinking of these lyrics when people who blindly support a cause, a leader, a political party, etc. find out that what they have been led to believe is not really true and never has been true. I have written several posts and made references to the documentary “Merchants of Doubt” where, in essence, highly paid PR advisors lie to people for a living. They are paid to tell you something is perfectly safe, when it is not, nor could it be.
These PR folks also play a heavy role in political advice as well, given the more tolerable name “spin-doctors.” Spin-doctor is another name for someone with a license to lie or perfume a pig. A phrase I have grown to dislike is “walking it back.” This is where a politician, business, or leader releases a concept or idea and when it lands with a thud or the backlash is huge, the spin-doctors advise on “walking back” the idea like it never happened. “Oh, we were just testing the waters, we really did not mean to do that,” might be an apologetic line.
However, we should not be surprised by the deployment of folks to lie to us or embellish the truth. The sad part of these lies is people die, become bankrupt, lose opportunity or do not consider something that might benefit them. In “Merchants of Doubt,” these folks led people to believe nicotine was not addictive, that flame retardants were helpful when they actually did little other than killing mothers and firefighters with various cancers, that climate change is, first not occurring, and now may be occurring but not man-influenced when the evidence and scientists say the answers to both questions are a resounding yes.
Or, the spin doctors have told us Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, when most of the evidence was Hussein’s own spin-doctoring to let enemies believe he had more capability than he had. Because of this story, Americans and our allies died in battle and Iraq is in a state of unrest because we failed to stay in the country. Or, some would say Obamacare is socialism, so don’t sign up for it, when health care was and is a crying need for many. Even as it has been successful under several measures, there are those who have fought it tooth and nail and still do. And, if it was unwound it would be devastating to millions of Americans and our economy. That is a truth.
Ten days ago, I wrote a post on asking leaders more “why” questions. Leaders are excellent at not answering questions that they don’t want to. But, we need to ask them over and over again and in different ways to get the truth. The Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, found this out the hard way a few Sundays ago. His evasive tactics showed he could not defend or explain a law he just signed.
We all must be truthseekers, as it is even harder to find these days. When we find it, we need to make others aware of it as often as possible, as the PR folks are very good at what they do. When some folks realize the truth, they will shed some tears and be ticked off, as people they trusted lied to them.
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13 thoughts on “Tell me why

  1. As you’ve said, we need to keep asking the questions over and over. We need to keep sending the message out, over and over.

  2. Thomas Frank wrote “What the Matter with Kansas” back in 2004. Things have continued to decline since then. He dissected how the conservative movement framed discussion that turned heartland citizens into opponents of the very things that would ease their own suffering (ie ACA act), meanwhile deftly funneling legislation that would protect their own economic interests. Sad but true. Professional wordsmiths are no match for the mildly educated.

    • This would be a book worth reading. ACA is just one example of legislation that is being vilified, but helps many and the economy. In NC, our General Assembly would rather take revenue from cities to help towns, rather than grow revenue in those places. The obvious things either cannot be done, or must be done without much fanfare to avoid angering their base.

  3. Jon Stewart is so good at demonstrating the hypocrisy of so many politicians and corporations. When what they say is caught on tape, it’s hard to deny it… yet they do. He will be missed.

    Follow-up and “why” questions don’t seem to be of interest to today’s media or to most of the public.

    • You are right on all counts. I noted in a post a few days ago, Boehner, McConnell and Gingrich are all on video saying climate change is a problem and is man-influenced in 2008 or before. Stewart will be missed in this role.

  4. The ring tone on my phone is “Don’t Let Me Down” for this very reason. As a truth seeker myself, with the added ability to see the good in people despite what they portray to the world, I am often disappointed.

  5. Note to Readers: After thinking of Governor Pence’s horrible performance in not answering questions about the Religious Freedom Act on George Stephanopolous’ show, I recalled a similar episode about an executive insurance salesman who was in our office once. You see, I knew this person’s firm was related to an audit firm that would come in and do an audit of executive insurance called Company Owned Life Insurance (COLI) which was used to finance benefits. Yet, he would not admit this. So, I had to ask my question three times, in three different ways to make him finally admit, that if this group did an audit, that his company may benefit through the possible sale of more insurance.

    Note, there are many fine and reputable insurance salespeople out there, but there are enough who cut corners that give the industry a bad name. This person would be in that category, but the CFO of our company made me talk to this “sleaze ball.” And, I cannot think of a better name to describe him. Why questions make it harder for those who cut corners. In “Merchants of Doubt” it shows Glenn Beck asking an expert if he had any relationship with the fossil fuel industry. He said no. The unasked follow-up questions would reveal the same sort of response as above. Plus, this person was not a scientist, but a PR person.

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