The Jerk and The Liar


I asked my 15 year old daughter what her perspective on the election was. We don’t talk about politics or watch a lot of news in our home, but I want my children to understand how great it is that we live in a nation where we have the freedom to choose our leadership.

I wanted her to make the connection between the everyday freedoms she enjoys and how the risks that our founding fathers took have benefited her and others.

I want her to have an understanding that while she is just one in a nation of millions she can have a voice and a say.

She shied away from my question and said, “I don’t really have an opinion”. I pressed. If you could describe the two primary candidates that are running for president in one word, what would you say?

One’s a jerk and one’s a liar.

Whoa! That blew me away.   She’s ingested those words from somewhere. The media, conversations with friends, I don’t really know where, but it’s her opinion and observation.

We went on to talk about the relationship between leaders and followers. We talked about how who we follow and spend time with not only influences us but also becomes a reflection of who we are because of association. It was a great conversation, but it disturbed me slightly that this was her perception of choice.

If my 15 year old believes this, what does the rest of the nation believe?  I know there is great anxiety in this election and I personally am undecided. I do believe that whoever wins is part of God’s plan for this nation and I have to trust in whatever the outcome is. While I don’t know either of the candidates personally, my daughter’s words resonated with me right or wrong.

I just can’t get her words out of my head. We all know jerks and we all know liars.  And if in fact we are choosing between a jerk and a liar, I asked myself why do they behave that way?

Here are two definitions:

jerk: a person who treats others badly usually in service to one’s personal interest or advantage

liar: a person who emits false statements with the intent to deceive in service of self interest

What’s the common thread between these two definitions?

Self interest.

Duh, they are running for president! They want to win!  They are personally vested in themselves to win.  I get that.  Yet, the words of Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg address come to mind…

Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth. – Abe Lincoln

Are we still for the people? Or are we for ourselves?