Pants on Fire
A New Definition of Lying
In 1810, William Blake wrote the poem, “The Liar.” It begins
Your trousers are alight…
A children’s rhyme is more to the point. “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” Indeed, the child is correct, for the night sky is aglow and the smoke of smoldering pants of politicians, media anchors and White House spokespersons obscures the day.
Lying has become an accepted practice in our country. We have allowed it. Politicians are masters of dishonesty. In fact, new phrases have recently been added to the lexicon of deceivers and dissemblers—phrases like fake news, alternative truths, and “I misspoke.”
I look for a way to get your attention, so you will no longer shrug your shoulders and accept lying as a normal part of our leadership’s behavior. I say to you that for a government official to knowingly lie to the American public is treason. It is a betrayal of the country and its ideals.
Powerless No More
We think there is little we can do about the state of dishonesty and distrust in America, but this is not true. We are not helpless because we are at the root of the problem. All power is given to us, but it must be exercised. The solution is simple. We will not elect liars, and those who lie will not represent us. They are not worthy of us.
Consider what happens during our election process. Lies and exaggerations are committed. Political Action Committees (PACs) publish outlandish deceit, and candidates do not challenge the lies because the lies support their desire to be elected. The lies are perpetuated so the candidate can be elected, so they can serve us.
I say to you that the candidates whose first action serves them are not motivated by a desire to serve. They are not for the people; they are for themselves. But we elect them. We endorse their lies. Are the politicians the problem, or is it we who elect them? Can’t we see the pants on fire?
That’s A Lie and You Know It
Honesty is about a truthful relationship with others; integrity is about a truthful relationship with oneself. To be dishonest is to dishonor oneself. Rather than a state of esteem, regard and self-respect, there is shame and disgrace, and when lies are challenged, those who speak falsely hide behind a curtain of more lies and treason. And we see it and allow it.
The good news is that dishonesty, let’s call it what it is—treason, is being challenged. The deceivers and dissemblers attack those who demand truth, but more and more of us need to unite behind a single phrase and challenge those who dishonor themselves and the country. Let us say to them, “That is a lie and you know it.”
The Cost of Dishonesty and Distrust
The Treasure of Trust and Honor
Honesty demands responsibility for one’s thoughts, words, and actions. Thoughts, words and actions are joined and speak with a single voice. People trust one who is honest, and the words and life of this one have power. This is the treasure given to one who is trusted.
Lying is costly. It can destroy lives, affect a country, but one thing is certain, it affects a person’s credibility and their ability to get things done. Lies are often spoken about another person, but the words come from the liar, from his or her consciousness, so the lies say more about the liar than they do about the one the liar and lie condemns. I see this, can you?
Lies may be designed to chip away at a person’s credibility and to light a fire under one’s base supporters, but it is the liar’s pants that are on fire, and fires are hard to hide. We have simply accepted the glow in the night sky and the smoke that obscures our vision in the day. No more.
Lying is no longer acceptable. It is not a part of the Constitution or the life of an individual with personal integrity.
Take A Stand
Here is the stand I take, and I would love to know that I am not alone, that you stand with me. Lying, false statements and treason are no longer acceptable. Gone are the days of treasonous government officials. No more “I misspoke,” no more “alternative truths.”
How will this come to be? Through the people we elect, we will establish a new standard, and once again stand on the values of honesty and integrity. I expect a candidate I support to not only speak the truth, but to challenge lies even if the lies support his or her election.
Friends, our elected officials reflect our attitudes and beliefs and what we consider acceptable. Remember, each candidate has one vote. We as a people have many, and I am convinced that if we accept responsibility for what we have allowed, we can change our country.
Well said, Jim, and I agree. I also remember the childhood story about the little boy who cried “Wolf”. I stand with you and hope others will as well.
Jim, you are right on the money about this. I have watched the “pants-on-fire” liars win more and more elections, and I am dismayed that they seem to keep being re-elected.
As a retired journalist, I have spent much of my professional life listening to liars — so much so that I have developed a finely tuned BS Detector that goes off with a loud Clang! all the time. Sometimes the lies are so prevalent that sirens blare and red lights flash. As a (now retired) Unity minister, my BS Detector got a long rest — but still sprang back to life on occasion, usually in annual meetings. And now . . . I can barely write or edit (my jobs in retirement), there are so many blatant liars in Washington, D.C. setting of my BS Detector. It’s one of the reasons Nancy and I retired to Maui — it’s 5,000 miles and six time zones away from the lies. Mark Twain said it best (I’m paraphrasing): “A lie gets half-way around the world before the truth can even get its pants on.” Keep up the good work; I’m subscribing to your email list. Maybe we can use the flames of all those pants on fire to bring the light of truth to our country — and the world.
Thanks, Bill for your thoughtful sharing. We are in this together, and we are not helpless. Many Blessings, Jim
Thanks for reminding us all that we are not helpless, as every day we read about things that for generations were regarded as “special, perhaps even sacred” on our beautiful Earth, being desecrated, sold out for corporate profit, being “smuggled” from the populace by deceiving words. But it all had to start somewhere—why did we allow it to begin? I think we can all look inside and answer that one, but now we have a colossal job to bring our country back to its ideals.
I do agree with you but I fear you are speaking to those that agree with you. The others have closed their ears and blindly follow
HI Cathy…I know what you are saying, but it is important for those who are angry and dismayed by what is happening to know that there is something that can be done. My next blog is going to address your concern, but suffice to say I do not believe that the majority of Americans are in tune with what is happening. However, this compassionate majority must deal with its anger, cease its name calling, hold the vision, and assume responsibility for its role in the current state of things and vote. Many Blessings, Jim PS Stay tuned. More to come. Please keep your heart open.
I agree. We need politicians who are truthful and who represent our interests not just the interests of the top 1%. I think we who are dismayed need to encourage politicians to present a positive agenda rather than just fighting against the other side.
A wonderful writer in the 90’s told a story of a man who called the Fire Station to report a fire in his home. When the firemen got there they knocked down the door and found a man sitting up in a bed that was on fire. They ask him how the fire started in his bed and he replied innocently, “I don’t know it was on fire when I got in it.”
Our country is on fire and we act innocent as though we have no idea how the fire has started but deep down the fire has been brewing for a long time and not only are we in bed with it but we allowed ourselves to start the fire; and unfortunately innocents are being burned. We must get out of our beds and put the fire out and we can only do that as a non divided people. It will be hard, and it will require commitment but it is painful for me to see the unnecessary burning of our rights and of the future of our country.
Suzanne Rabb, That is a Powerful Story about the fire in the bed,,,,,, to add to the Always Expansiveness of Jim’s Blogs.
Thanks Jim! Well said….
Hi Jim. I’ll start by saying thank you for who you are, and for all you do. By the way, for the past 9 years myself and two prayer partners have used your 9 step How to From a Closer Walk with God/ Meditation Group. It’s a wonderful framework for our prayer work. I agree with all you say in these political blogs. But here’s where I am. The tenure of the times feels overwhelming and toxic to me. I am affected by it deeply and this saddens me. Though you speak very clearly of what’s currently going on– I need to find a way to act. I sign petitions in support of the issues you bring up. I donate what I can. I am not an activist in terms of demonstrating and am grateful to those who are. How to feel empowered and potent in these time which so flagrantly go against the very core of my values? I am a musician and piano teacher and have felt that bringing music my entire life to the lives of children through lessons and concerts was my gift and way I serve. It does not seem enough now when faced with such troubling daily assaults to balance and sanity. Any thoughts?
HI Anna, It sounds to me as though you are making a difference. We do what we can and our consciousness is more of a powerhouse than we know. What is vital is this: don’t give in to fear or anger…then we are part of the problem. Do the inner work and out of the peace of your presence will come actions you are to take in the world and words you are to speak or write. Hey, perhaps even a song?? Many Blessings, Jim
Anna Epstein Kravis ~~ The Articulation and Feeling with which You wrote this reply to Jim’s “Pants On Fire” …… was a remarkable description of my inner turmoil …. (You’ve written it better than I could of, even Feeling the same framework and bare bones thot as you described.)
I was rather intrepid for 54 years of life, now in 2017, three incidents have occured to shake some trepidation around my living, as I did Not feel prior to these 3 happenings.
Your end question ~~ Any thoughts ? I won’t be lengthy about it for I affirm there Are Many thoughts from abounding numbers of wonderful people…. I trust I will get to read some of the thoughts that come forth from Your Question ……… And my small contribution just echo’s Your work in MUSIC …….. if only the toxin- deliverers …. would only feel the Tones and harmony of a better way,,,, and hear the Lyrics of Inclusion and Decency.
Jim, Consistently Remarkable, How all Your Words and Thots are IN ORDER,,,,,,,, the Order that reaches the core of us.
I’m extremely happy to be catching up on all the past blog that I had not had a chance to read as yet ….. 🙂 I’m getting there now, to Your Current “Remarkables” and Loving the Journey.
The Eclipse in Knoxville was First a very Good Hour prior AND then the 6 and half Minutes of STUNNING.
I will look forward to your Poetic Description of it from Columbia, SC .
Hello dear friend, thanks for the kind words. We are now in Charleston and I am working on a new blog tonight. A blog usually takes a few days to come together, but look for a new on in the next couple of days. Blessings, Jim.
Forgive the 75 days I didn’t get to write this to You about this particular blog,, it’s going to be my pleasure to try and catch up to these writings that continue to Light my way.
Jim, when You wrote ~ Honesty is about a truthful relationship with others; integrity is about a truthful relationship with oneself.
Expansive Thot as Always, it can be taken to the heights and to the depths of each of our being.
Honesty and Integrity is the Combination Needed to stand Steady and walk in directions of Glowing principles that Include the wide circumference of people. not a devouring inferno of prejudice and separation.
And you can’t hide from us, who love every word you’ve ever said and written, Your BS detector has always been in “fine” working order ,,, just your political candor was tastefully discreet.
Love, Gratefulness & Appreciation
You’ve consistently brought “integrity” front and center to we Fortunate people who’ve been touched by You .
Thanks, dear friend. It is good to be on the Internet again. In our travels sometimes we end up in places where we can’t get on the Net. Much love to you.
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Hello 99Clemmie. I would appreciate your comment on my comment that follows: I have always thought that if my blogs are to go viral they must do so naturally…because people really appreciate them versus some artificial means. I would appreciate your thoughts…Thanks, Jim