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Fudging & Taking Oaths

In 1664 there was a captain of a merchant ship employed by Pepys with the surname of Fudge.  Captain Fudge was known for his fibbing as was chronicles by the Navy, “There was, sir, in our time one Captain Fudge, who always brought home his owners a good cargo of lies, so much that now aboard ship the sailors, when they hear a great lie told, cry out, ‘You fudge it’”.  The name’s meaning carried on.  In the 19th century children who cheated at marbles called each other “fudgers” and we still use the word “fudge” as a verb aligned with distorting the truth today.

Few people are more qualified to be called fudgers than our current lot of politicians.  Whether they’re fudging the numbers in a bill, fudging the facts in a debate, or fudging their promises in campaigns – there’s always plenty of fudge to go around.  Unfortunately, people like fudge.  They like it when the CBO reports a deficit reduction after observing the largest bill in the history of America.  They like it when their legislatures tell them the trillions of dollars being spent on a bill are about creating jobs.  They like it when politicians tell them that their bills will keep unemployment below 8%.

People like being told things are getting better.  They like to be told that someone is out there looking out for them.  The problem is that those words rarely turn into results.  Nevertheless, we continue to elect those who promise the most in hopes that this politician will be different from those who came before.  Meanwhile, politicians remain the most unfaithful of promise keepers.

The Quakers and Essenes had it right when it came to taking oaths.  They followed principles that Christ himself outlined in the Sermon on the Mount; that is, do not take oaths but let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,  be ‘No’.  Anyone who must go beyond saying ‘Yes’ and apply an oath to it is telling you that they do not trust their own integrity.  These people feel the need to convince you that they mean what they say not because they said it, but because they swore upon something.  Perhaps they swore it on things like their parent’s grave or their own life.  This just further illustrates their willingness to lie as nobody can affect such things (short of suicide).  These people cannot be trusted.

A man of virtue and integrity, however, need only affirm or deny and people will believe, not because of the severity of the oath, but because they have always followed through.  Nobody believes the drunk who swears on his mother’s good name that he will use your money for food, but a righteous man who simply says he will deliver your money to the least of us is entrusted in good faith.

We, as citizens in a republic, find ourselves in a precarious place; having to trust those who have a poor record of being trustworthy and a superior record of fudging.  Federal politicians are notorious for this because they can hide in Washington and play political games in order to justify or conceal their failures.  This is why a renewed concentration on local politics is supremely important.  Local politicians cannot hide as easily.  They surely cannot hide from a citizenry that is holding their representatives accountable.

We have a job to do.  We must pay attention and hold our elected officials to keep their promises.  Further, we need to properly distinguish between the oath takers and the deliverers.  It is our job to elect those worthy of the office, not a bunch of fudgers.


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  • Jim Gourdie March 14, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    To lie or fudge has become acceptable behavior because they found another word that for them makes it acceptable behavior. They call it “Spin”. You have talked about it before and I think you are right. We need to start focusing more on improvig state and local government. And, in that way maybe we can drag the Federal government along.

  • Bunkerville March 14, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Men and women of virtue is what we desparently need. I keep checking the horizon.
    Bunkerville recently posted..192 Countries exist in the world We give Aid to 150My Profile

  • Matt March 14, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Very well said. I think that the fudgers have been running the show for decades, and they really don’t like people that stick to their words.