The Truth Won’t Set You Free.
(ThyBlackMan.com) There have been few falls from grace as dramatic as Lance Armstrong, who has gone from inspiration, cancer survivor, and American hero to liar, cheater, and pariah faster than the time it takes to shift a bicycle gear. Armstrong has been stripped of his 7 Tour De France titles, he’s likely to lose the bronze medal he won in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and last week he lost over $30 million worth of endorsements. There can be no doubt Lance Armstrong is now enduring his walk of shame but it’s not as if he didn’t make the most of the tawdry time he had the night before.
Lying and cheating brought him global fame, made him a multi-millionaire, and a hero to cancer survivors throughout the world. Armstrong may have had his sponsorships and yellow jerseys taken away but his bank account remains intact as does his Live Strong organization and the charitable works it does despite the fact he’s recently stepped aside.
Defying the old adage that cheaters never win, Armstrong already has and no amount of public shaming can change that fact. In this respect, he’s no different than the Wall Street executives who lied and cheated this country to the brink of a second Great Depression. Besides Bernie Madoff you’d be hard pressed to find any of them getting three hots in a cot. In lieu of orange jumpsuits, most of them were given golden parachutes because this country seems to reward liars and cheaters.
While most Americans have responded to the Lance Armstrong revelations with shock and disappointment, many have shrugged them off with indifference. These cynics believe cycling is such a dirty sport it doesn’t much matter that Armstrong lied and cheated his way to the top. He was simply doing what everyone else was doing, only better. They point to the fact that in one Tour De France Armstrong won, the top 22 finishers have been implicated in doping scandals. Everyone was dirty so the playing field was leveled and Armstrong’s accomplishments should not be diminished they say.
Many share the same view of politics. They consider it a dirty sport, so they expect politicians to be dishonest and to say or do whatever necessary to get elected. Never has this been more evident than during the 2012 presidential election.
Mitt Romney’s campaign manager famously dismissed the extreme positions he took to win the Republican Primary by stating flatly he would simply “Etch a Sketch” himself into a more palatable candidate for the American people during the general election. This is precisely what he has done. Romney has successfully closed the gender gap by softening his positions on women’s health issues as if he hasn’t publicly stated he’d “be delighted” to sign legislation overturning Roe vs. Wade during the primaries. The governor won the first presidential debate largely by misrepresenting positions he’d been running on for the last six years he’s been campaigning for the presidency.
Lost in all of the talk of binders full of women was the fact that the story Mitt Romney told just wasn’t true. During the 2002 gubernatorial race, the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project, a coalition of nonpartisan women’s groups, pressured both party candidates to sign a pledge to hire qualified women after the election. This is a vastly different picture than the one Romney painted in his anecdote about sending his staff to track down qualified women for his administration.
The governor’s supporters seem to be following his lead. During the second presidential debate when Romney got his hand caught in the Mr. President you didn’t say “act of terror” cookie jar, the Republican response was to attack the moderator for telling the truth. A recent Public Policy Poll asked Ohio voters who they thought deserved more credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden: Obama or Romney. 47 percent of registered Republicans said they weren’t sure, and 15 percent said Romney deserved more credit for Bin Laden’s death. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a whopping 62% of Ohio Republicans who presumably know Bin Laden is dead but simply think Mitt Romney or some unnamed go getter not named Barack Obama is responsible. This 62% is no different than the fans who would happily cheer Lance Armstrong while he’s standing on the podium even if he were holding a bouquet full of syringes.
A recording recently surfaced during which Mitt Romney encouraged business owners to pressure their employees to vote for him because there’s “nothing illegal” about telling their employees it is in their best interest to do so. After failing to eliminate early voting (which often favors Democrats), voter intimidation and voter suppression tactics have been employed in nearly all of the swing states with significant Latino and African American populations. Some states have “mistakenly” printed the wrong election date on Spanish language Voter ID cards. Others have seen billboards erected in African American communities gently reminding them that voter fraud is a felony punishable by up to “3 1/2 years and a $10,000 fine.”
Mitt Romney doesn’t much care how he gets to a first term as long as he gets to one. If he has to inject himself with a cocktail of human growth hormone, testosterone, and EPO in order to pedal just a little bit faster and beat President Obama to that finish line he will not be given any pause before doing so. Like Lance Armstrong who flipped his tainted victories into conscience cleansing charitable works, the governor would gladly cash in a sketchy steroid soaked victory for an opportunity to “save the country” as Anne Romney likes to say while out on the campaign trail.
It is often said that the truth hurts but during this election cycle it has become increasingly clear that it no longer seems to matter.
Staff Writer; Justin Michael Carter
One may connect with this brother via Twitter; J. Carter.