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As I See It

To tell the truth



I recently read an article that posed an interesting question. What if politicians couldn’t lie? What if they were required to tell the truth? We aren’t talking about some sort of truth serum, but rather making it a crime for someone in public office to tell a lie. Can you even imagine? A politician standing up and telling us he voted a certain way on a bill because one group gave him or her a lot of campaign money? A politician who doesn’t always lie about how evil the other party is? Hard to fathom, but that is what the Governor of Washington is proposing. Sort of. His idea is not to prohibit all lies, because we’d need a lot of oversight for that. Governor Jay Inslee proposes punishing politicians who lie about election results. Of course, we shouldn’t need a law requiring our political leaders to tell the truth. But fining people for lying is not exactly unprecedented. The Securities and Exchange Commission has rules preventing publicly traded company executives from lying to their stockholders. If they do they can go to jail. Of course, this will never happen. In order for our politicians to face penalties for not telling truths, it would have to be approved by those who would be punishing themselves. But it shouldn’t be too much to ask that those we elect to office and whose salaries we pay just tell us the truth once in a while.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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