Well today is Ari’s last day and what a run he’s had! In a way I’ll miss him, not for the horrifying hilarity of his press briefings, or for his snarky hall-monitor persona, but for what he taught me about the nature of truth; namely that you can lie every single day and not be struck dead by lightening or have your head explode.
One of the disadvantages of religious education is that it can lead you to have unrealistic expectations. I don’t want to get into a whole discussion of how realistic or unrealistic heaven, hell, miracles, etc. are. I’m simply talking about the fact that when you lie lightening doesn’t strike you dead. Most of us know that lightening does not strike people who lie either through personal experimentation or hearsay. But when we encounter people who lie easily and often we flinch inwardly and maybe step back a few feet.
Even if you aren’t religious, the truth still means something. The general view is that the human mind can only take so much inconsistency before it short circuits, leading to mental breakdowns and sometimes Barbara Walters’ specials. So when we see people who lie often and easily we wonder how they stay so happy and healthy with their heads intact.
This made watching Ari so infuriating. There he was--lying through is teeth--and NOTHING WAS HAPPENING TO HIM. Where was the wrath of God? Where was that moment of self-revelation? It just wasn’t fair. And that taught me that indignation at lying only wears you out. We’ve got take that indignation to the next step; calling them out on the criminal implications of those lies. I mean look at the rhetoric they are throwing at us over Yellowcake. “Well, we weren’t completely truthful, but we were technically accurate, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, because Saddam Hussein was an evil, evil dictator,” Lies, half-truths, and omissions don’t mean anything to these people. I think it’s time to stop accusing and start prosecuting.
Well perhaps Ari’s early exit could be a sign of something along the lines of a minor breakdown. But unless there is a mea culpa memoir in the future, we’ll never know. So for the very last time: Ladies and Gentleman, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
P.S. Today is also Bastille Day in France. I’m not sure if that means anything or if it’s worth drawing parallels. I merely think it’s interesting.