Ryan, McCrory and the culture of lies

I was the captain of my track team in high school and also ran at the college level at Annapolis. I ran the quarter and the mile relay. My best time for the quarter was 48.8 at the Penn Relays in 1971. I came in a distant fourth.

I'm offering these details to illustrate that runners have vivid memories of their best races. I didn't break 50 seconds during high school. I didn't break 49 seconds until my third year of college.

There is no doubt or confusion about these facts. Runners always remember.

Paul Ryan was also a runner. He ran long-distance, and even ran a marathon once. By all accounts, he was an average athlete, like me. But the similarities stop there. You see, Paul Ryan is also a pathological liar. He recently told his fawning, gullible conservative fans that he once ran a marathon in less than three hours.

That was a bald-faced lie. Paul Ryan's best effort never broke four hours.

There is something disturbing about a man who will lie like this. Very disturbing.

In his landmark nonfiction work Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, David Simon observed that everyone lies, but they lie for different reasons. Some people lie because they have to. Some people lie because they think they have to. And some people lie just for the hell of it. This particular incident reveals a huge character flaw in Paul Ryan, for it is evident that he falls in this latter category.

The only explanation I can come up with is this: Paul Ryan has been indoctrinated into the Republican culture of deception. He wants very much to "be like Mitt," as does Pat McCrory. All three men will say anything and hide everything in order to pull the wool over voters' eyes.

They share a common bond. They are all liars.

Comments

What's an hour or so on a

What's an hour or so on a running time, or a trillion or so on a deficit claim?

A Romney white house would be faith-based, anyways.

Wow, Paul Ryan was not "an

Wow, Paul Ryan was not "an average athlete, like me." A 48.8 in the 400 is very very good, much much better than Paul Ryan's 4-hour marathon, as is coming in 4th in the Penn Relays. But you're right that runners remember their times. I'm ten years older than Ryan, and remember my times in in the 400m, 600y, 1 mile, 10k and 10mile. For my best 10k, I can tell you the that it 90 degrees on the 4th on July, and that the last 300m were on a track where we had to run clockwise, which I remember felt weird because you usually run counter-clockwise. My best 10-mile was a race run along a beach, with a wrap on a recently injured ankle; the next day we swam and played in very high waves at the beach. My best 600y I came in third: the runners ahead of me were named John and Bob. You don't forget this stuff.

I ran too...

..but not nearly with the speed and endurance James did at the boat school. But I recall vividly the best 1/2 mile I ever ran - in an intramural meet at Annapolis my youngster (sophomore) year - breaking 2 minutes on the 220-yard flat indoor track at Halsey Field House. I also remember my first (and according to my wife) my last marathon, at Kiawah Island. I ran 3:42:19, and still have (somewhere) my finish line photo. As others have noted, athletes remember their best performances, and marathoners remember not only their finish time, but nearly every painful step.

I'm sure all of us know people who are pathological liars. They lie about anything, anytime, anywhere, whether they have to lie or not. They will lie when you know they are lying, and they know you know they are lying. Many of their lies are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But those who know them, and know their pathology, know to never take anything they say seriously.

At Annapolis, I served on the Brigade Honor Committee, and as a senior sat on several Honor Boards - the proceeding that finds midshipmen guilty of an honor violation and recommends separation from the academy. Cheating on a test or lying about an academic or military assignment could bring that kind of punishment. The purpose, of course, was to establish the importance of being able to trust what someone says, and for others to trust what we say. We were taught that "little white lies" were as damaging to that trust as the big lie.

Media apoligists have fallen all over themselves to not call Ryan a liar, or to correctly describe the fact-free GOP convention. But "fair and balanced" is dishonest to the American people, enabling and rewarding the liars for their little white lies. Those who have reported accurately the charade have faced criticism for being "harsh."

But it is time for the media to do its job - to report facts, not regurgitate statements. And it is time for all of us to stand up in whatever forum we can to call out the liars, and tell them we don't want to entrust them with our nation.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR