Once upon a time, a "straight-shooting" Texas oilman without a single accomplishment to his name decided to run for president as God's chosen one. Proud of being a C student, and clumsy of speech like Moses, he would nevertheless lead us all to the promised land.
He promised to "restore honor and dignity to the White House" after the previous occupant lied about having an affair, and godly men and women everywhere rejoiced. Finally, after "Slick Willie," the days of bearing false witness were over " at least about sex. Six years later, the nation is on the verge of dying from so many lies.
Not long ago, conservatives actually bristled at the idea that anyone would call George W. Bush a liar. Now almost no one believes anything he says, and his audiences are growing smaller and smaller. There are only so many military bases, Veterans of Foreign Wars halls and cattle rancher conventions out there.
Excuse me, but this will be the longest incomplete sentence I've ever written: After the lie that was the Florida election, we were lied to about Sept. 11, 2001, about the reasons for going to war, about torture, about spying on American citizens without a warrant, about Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, about Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman, about staying the course, about nonexistent or exaggerated terrorist plots, about who supplied the gas that killed the Kurds, about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, about prewar planning, about nonexistent biological laboratories, about Iraq's bogus "imminent threat," about everyone having the same intelligence and drawing the same conclusions, about commanders getting "everything they asked for," about not knowing the levies in New Orleans would collapse, about the solvency of Social Security, about "the middle-class tax cut," about "clean skies" and "healthy forests," about the reasons for not showing us the caskets of our dead soldiers or reporting the true number of wounded, about mercury poisoning, about the real verdict on global warming, about this "booming" economy producing "high-growth, high-income jobs," about the success of abstinence-only sex-education programs, about campaign-finance reform, about the real effect of the Patriot Act, about how supporting "veterans has been a high priority in my administration," about spending on education and the results of No Child Left Behind, about protecting our national parks, about Bush not knowing Kenneth Lay, about the faith-based initiative not violating the separation of church and state, about Bush being the first president ever to advocate a Palestinian state, about opposing tariffs, about dumping Harken Energy stock, about the true cost of prescription drug "reform," about the real threat of the deficit, about the recession he inherited, about who is hurt by the "death tax," about why the eight U.S. attorneys were fired and why Alberto Gonzalez had nothing to do with it, about who really outed Valerie Plame, about "¦ (whoops, I'm running out of space).
If only I could write a column that was 10,000 words long instead of 600, then you might get something closer to the whole list. As it is, just try to remember the good old days when we impeached a president for lying about sex. And then get ready for the biggest lie of all: that Democrats will be responsible for losing the war, and "the American people will know who to hold responsible."
Meyers is minister of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City and professor of rhetoric in the philosophy department at Oklahoma City University.