This post was originally posted at FRS Real Life Journal on WordPress
If all American politicians were required to take polygraph tests, no American politician would ever get elected yet reelected in America, because Americans tend to like being told what they want to hear and not what is the truth. Like saying "we can do this, but it costs money, which means I’ll have to raise your taxes or cut spending somewhere else". And when politicians tell the truth, they tend to pay a heavy political price for that. Truth serum would be death penalty for the careers of American career politicians.
But imagine what a bad politician would sound like on truth serum. "Senator Jones, why did you vote against the gun control bill? Because the NRA has me on in their back pockets, but both back pockets, as well as the front pockets. Yeah they bought me off. Oh be the way, my constituents aren't going to know about this, are they? Because then I would actually have to get a real job and work for a living". Or you ask a crooked politician why they voted against the school reform bill that increases standards on teachers and students. Imagine a crooked politician on truth serum answering that one.
The crooked politician with a 90 plus approval rating of the teacher unions might say this. "Because in that bill, school districts would be able to fire bad teachers. Which would mean people would be out of jobs, even the bad teachers. And I rather have bad teachers teaching, even if that means their not students not learning, then for them not to be working at all. Or having to something that they are more qualified for. Like flipping burgers and taking parking tickets, asking customers if they want paper or plastic. Oh by the way teacher unions have bought every pocket I have in all of my pants".
But we wouldn't need truth serum or polygraph tests for crooked politicians, if we simply had an educated electorate. And what does that mean? A lot of educated voters who know who they are voting for, before they actually vote for that person or decide not to vote for them. Which sounds like commonsense I know, but again we're talking about America where commonsense is not always common, because it is not always popular. And Americans tend to prefer to feel good, then to know what is good for them. Our political system is a perfect example of that.