Lying seems to be all the rage. We are used to politicians telling lies, and we are in fact surprised when they tell the truth, but this guy from Long Island, George Santos, is such a liar that his lies are making headlines and even other politicians are shocked. Santos is a Republican from a traditionally Democratic section of Long Island but won the House seat with a little help from his Russian friends. He lied about almost everything on his resume from his education to his work history. He claimed to go to elite schools he never went to and worked for investment companies who have never heard of him. He also claimed to be descended from Jewish Holocaust survivors. I guess he wanted to appear sympathetic, but when confronted with the lie, he tried to back out by saying he meant that he was Jew-ish. He didn’t mean that he was actually a Jew. So what does that even mean?
He held some kind of mid-level job for a small company, but after hooking up with a well-connected Russian, his income went from $55,000 to several million a year., and he attributed it to large financial institutions who had never employed him. Newspapers are investigating the extent of his involvement with a particularly shady Russian oligarch, the source perhaps of his millions. The Republican Party on Long Island has disavowed him and is asking him to resign, even though it would jeopardize their majority in the House. So far he has refused and has in fact been appointed to two committees.
It makes me think about lies in general. When questioned by a news reporter, people on the street admitted “exaggerating” on their resumes, and how many of us have not embellished a good story a little bit? And you could say that writing fiction is lying, as you are making things up. But there is a difference between claiming on a resume that you are proficient on Quickbooks or that you went to Annapolis (A different politician) when you did not.
Omitting that you have close ties to a snarky Russian is a dangerous lie.
I actually come from a family of liars. My father’s life was built on so many lies that in the end he probably could no longer remember the truth and like Santos claimed he was a self-made millionaire. He told so many people that he had been a spy for the CIA that he believed it himself and remembered missions in East Germany.
My branch of the family are what you might call creative liars. We have active imaginations and use them to embellish stories or just make life harmlessly more entertaining. My son Seth was a good liar when he was a young boy. He could make up a good story on the spur of the moment and probably still does. He majored in creative writing in college.
When he was in kindergarten in Connecticut, his teacher admired his new snowsuit on the playground. “Thank you,” he said. “My grandmother made it for me.”
The teacher was impressed by his grandmother’s sewing skills, but when the class went back indoors, she noticed a tag inside the jacket which said Made in Korea. She asked Seth about the tag, hoping he would admit his fib. Instead he replied, “Yes, it was made in Korea because my grandmother is Korean.” She was not. A better story, though, than that she bought it at Carol Reid!