It seems that the easiest way for a politician to win votes is demonizing his opposition. Rep. Jim Hagedorn clearly operates on this assumption. He has spread outlandish false stories about constituents who disagree with him. And he has told some whoppers.
In a recent Facebook post Rep. Hagedorn said all Democrats are “at war with our country, our beliefs and western culture." It is never true that any large group of people are all the same. And, each of us has a family member or friends who vote for the other party. We know that they are not demons “at war” with what we hold dear. Hagedorn’s words could be written off as simply dippy if they weren’t so destructive.
Which brings me to truthfulness and the damage of lies. Many things happen when someone makes a habit of telling hateful lies. In the short run they may damage their opposition, but in the long run lies destroy the liar’s reputation. And when lies are told by an elected representative, they damage people’s trust in all of their elected officials. That tears apart our sense of community and common citizenship. We start to see our neighbors as enemies. Rep. Hagedorn has said so many divisive false stories I suspect he does not believe he has a duty to build stronger communities and a better future. And that suggests that our current congressman lacks the insight and skills of a good leader.
Edward Murrow, a trusted journalist who helped our nation through World War II, said that to be “credible we must be truthful.” Americans want an end to discord and crave a hopeful vision of the future. We trust our elected leaders to guide our nation toward these goals. Mr. Hagedorn has made it a practice to sow discord and spread falsehoods. This can only generate more distrust and further conflict. Leading to fearfulness and a further loss of hope. We deserve better.