"Power doesn't come from a badge or a gun. Power comes from lying ─ lying big and gettin' the whole damn world to play along with you. Once you got everyone agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain't true you got 'em by the balls."
That was the lecture delivered to Bruce Willis' character John Hartigan by corrupt Senator Roark, played brilliantly by Powers Booth, in the movie Sin City. It was the scene that came immediately to mind when I was watching President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address.
Why am I writing about this now, a year and a half later? Because lying and lying big seems to be more and more routine for this administration, and I wanted to reminisce about a lie from the recent past that probably slid by without your notice.
In his 2013 SOTU address, President Obama stated: "Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than 2.5 trillion dollars." This was false on several fronts.
First, as a person who has watched the ballooning national debt closely over the past several decades, I knew that we had never come close to running a 2.5 trillion-dollar deficit, let alone reducing deficits from previous years by 2.5 trillion dollars.
Second, the deficits in the previous four years before 2013 had skyrocketed to about 1.3 to 1.4 trillion dollars per year ─ levels roughly three times the previous record. Whomever you blamed for this abysmal performance, characterizing it as a drastic reduction in deficits was downright Senator Roarkesque ─ lying big and gettin' the whole damn world to play along.
This lie was so audacious that it pushed me over an edge of sorts. I simply had to document my frustration in some way to keep my sanity. I got the idea to put together a video mash-up of the scene from Sin City along with a snippet from the president's speech combined with some nifty charts and graphs.
I did not know the first thing about making a video mash-up, but with my 20-year background as a software consultant in hand, I charged ahead and downloaded a video editing package. A few days later, after plenty of poking and prodding, I had a passable mash-up and had saved my sanity in the process. After making my masterpiece available to the world on YouTube (Google "Obama Roark" and it will be the first link), I could finally take a cathartic sigh of relief.
I know what some of you are thinking. With the "like your doctor keep your doctor" whopper and a veritable hit parade of others to choose from, what was it about the deficit reduction lie that put me over the edge? Maybe it was the accumulation of it all, and it was just "last straw" time. Maybe it was that I am particularly sensitive to the immoral theft of trillions of dollars from our children with our continuous deficit spending.
Whatever the reason, it prompted me to start speaking my mind in a more public way than I had previously about the corrupt and bankrupt ideology of the progressive Left. That first video mash-up has progressed to several published opinion pieces on the $15 minimum wage, the VA medical scandal, and the Southern border crisis.
If we do not wake up and change course in this country, we are in for big trouble. If we are not up for a change toward more forthright leaders, I say at a minimum we press Powers Booth into service as our next president, perhaps even in character as President Roark. At least that way we will get our lies delivered to us with some theatrical flair and can enjoy some entertainment value in the process.
Eric Minor is a software consultant based in the greater Seattle area.