When I was a child a much repeated moral tale was of George Washington who, after cutting down a cherry tree, confessed the deed to his father saying “I cannot tell a lie.” Apparently this never took place, but we were given a model to emulate. When we made a mistake we were to admit it, not gloss it over with a lie.
Yesterday I went to the dentist to have a crown replaced on a back molar. It had only been four years since this crown was laid, so insurance wouldn’t cover any of it. (We have very good dental insurance, a rarity these days.) Here such a procedure costs upwards of $2000, so I was already trying to figure out how to budget the unexpected expense. But as he began to work, my dentist said “I don’t know how this happened, but it is my fault.” That’s right. The dentist said it was his fault. And then he said he wouldn’t charge me for the replacement since it was his fault.
I had already had another unexpected encounter with the receptionist when I checked in. I asked her why she had called me at the last minute to move the appointment forward twenty minutes. She replied,”I made a mistake. I overbooked.” On my way out the dentist told this woman that there would be no charge because he had made a mistake. I joked that this seemed to be a day of atonement at the dental office.
So far since he became president, Donald Trump has lied, as of October 9, 2019, 13,435 times according to Fact Checker which keeps track. These only include public lies told with a straight or an enraged or a victimized expression to the American people. He has managed to so confuse the public that half of Americans distrust anything coming out of the mouths of the other half of Americans.
May more of us act like the staff at the dental office. Whether of not George Washington actually said it, “I cannot tell a lie” is a good habit in our lives.