Kent Bernhardt: The truth about the truth

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This thing we call ětruthî should be something easy to understand. But for some reason, for us lowly mortals, it isnít.
We learned about truth as kids, and were taught to always tell the truth. But somewhere along the way, we also learned that lying is sometimes easier than telling the truth.
Ask a husband who has just been asked the question, ěDoes this dress make my butt look fat?î Sometimes, like in this case, the truth does not ěmake you freeî unless it makes you free from this life.
So we humans often embrace the lie and simply call it the truth. Lying has almost become a given in life. It shouldnít be that way, but it is.
Mark Twain said, ěA lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.î Lying had a certain glamour to it even back in Twainís day.
Weíve spent the better part of the last few weeks wondering if presidential hopeful Herman Cain is telling the truth about accusations of sexual harassment. With specific unflattering details of one of the supposed encounters now on the table, one thing is clear:
Someone is lying. Not just ěremembering incorrectly,î as ěPeopleís Courtî Judge Wapner used to say, but outright lying.
It would be easy to understand why a presidential candidate would lie. He wants to protect his candidacy above all else, and admission of a scandal wouldnít serve that purpose.
Cainís refusal to even discuss the issue around the media looks bad at first glance. But letís assume for a moment heís totally innocent of the accusations. Focusing on the scandal in front of the media would give it credibility. You donít want that. As a candidate, you want people focused on your message and, more importantly, on you.
On the other hand, if Cain is lying, heís simply playing the deflection game for all itís worth for as long as he can, hoping by some miracle this mess will magically disappear. But it wonít.
Ask Gary Hart, John Edwards, Anthony Wiener or anyone else whose life got thrown in the scandal garbage dump.
I could also understand why his accusers would lie. Usually the answer is money, or maybe just the fame. Everyone seems to be looking for their 15 minutes in the limelight these days. But then again, fame brings money, so weíre back to money.
I have one suspicious question about these accusations. Why now? Most of these incidents supposedly happened 15 years ago. Why the sudden rush to the checkout counter? Are they all just suddenly angry about it?
I donít know about you, but I want to know the truth about most things. As a matter of fact, I want to know the truth about everything except whatís in the hotdog Iím eating right now. I appreciate people who tell me the truth, even when itís difficult to hear. And when someone is lying, I want them exposed.
I like the moment when theyíre caught in the snare and canít escape. Thatís called the ěgotchaî moment. Then we get to point our fingers at them and call them what they are: Liars.
You see a lot of this on shows like ěJudge Judy.î Some guy we all know is guilty will maintain his innocence throughout the trial, but then heíll make some seemingly insignificant but boneheaded statement that blows his innocence off the map.
Hereís hoping for a gotcha moment in Cain saga soon. Weíve been distracted by this long enough. If he did what heís accused of, heíll pay the price with his presidential hopes. And he should.
But if heís innocent and this turns out to be some orchestrated plot by the powers that be to deflate his candidacy, excuse me if I enjoy that gotcha moment, too.

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.