Truth, Lies, and the Politics of a PreschoolerPosted: May 17, 2013
Lately, Mouse and I have had a lot of discussions about truth and lies. She’s been pretty late to this game; at heart, she has never been the type to spin tales. She’s also previously been terrible at holding up to scrutiny. Usually I’ll just ask her different versions of the same question, and she’s toast.
“Did you tell me the truth? Yes. Did you tell me what actually happened? Yes, mama. Did you lie? Yes… Wait, mommy!” (Crying ensues.)
Lately, though, she’s been telling some pretty tall tales. It is fairly obvious when she isn’t telling the truth because she fidgets and looks up and to the side while she is weaving her web of lies. Mostly, she lies when she thinks that telling the truth will get her in trouble.
Last night, she and I were having yet another conversation about why it is important to tell the truth, and she got quiet.
“Well, mommy, but sometimes you can say it fifty-three-hundred times and it might come true.”
Does the very act of putting out your own narrative over and over again lend it life? Where is the actual truth? Sometimes Mouse’s lies are, well, a little fuzzy. When I push her on them, she knows what she said isn’t right, but I’m fascinated by her ability to re-frame the events of her life.
Mouse: My sister is sad because she didn’t know how to twirl like I do.
Me: Your sister is sad because you told her she wasn’t twirling right.
I can’t help but think of politics. One side has a narrative, the other side has a narrative. Facts, meh. Then each side goes about raising as much money as they can to yell their narrative as loudly and in as many places as possible, while simultaneously muffling the other side’s narrative. Yeah, sometimes there are pesky truths that get in the way. Not always.
Obama: Mitt Romney is a privileged business man who cannot fathom the concerns of the average, middle class Americans. He will continue a dark legacy of money and privilege that I have been fighting for four years. He does not respect you.
Romney: Obama has eroded our American values of hard work, individualism and accountability. He has lead our country into crisis by redistributing middle class Americans’ hard earned wealth and refusing to be fiscally accountable.
(Please don’t virtually tar and feather me. I’m just trying to show how relative today’s politics are and now none of it has much to do with actual facts and truths.) I see this dance play out in every major political debate, every marriage, every disagreement. We are all fighting to have our story on top.
Before this, I used to worry that Mouse was too passive and honest to a fault. I might be wrong, eh? Now I’ve got to worry about my kid going into politics. Shudder.
It is still not cool to lie, Mouse. I understand how complicated it is though. I really do.