Sunday, September 4, 2016

Trump Surrogate Pastor Mark Burns Caught Lying

The great thing about telling the truth is as the saying goes the truth will set you free. If you really do have an advanced post-graduate or professional degree, if you really do have the professional certifications that are required for your chosen field, if you really did join and participate in service organizations or governmental organizations, if you really did graduate from exclusive competitive colleges or universities, if you really did pass exams which allow you to call yourself a doctor or lawyer, if you really did put in work as a combat hero in Iraq or Afghanistan, then there will be documented proof of all of your accomplishments. You can sleep easy at night if someone decides to do a little background checking on you. Any investigation will leave you unworried. You may or may not have a huge ego because of your past accomplishments but either way your work is something that no one can take away from you. On the other hand the world is full of small petty little men and women who either for egocentric reasons or more purely mercenary ones lie about their past achievements. Sometimes these lies are small ones. Some people claim on their resume to be team leaders or managers when in fact their entire past experience consists of taking orders from someone else. Some people might exaggerate the level of responsibility that they had for a project or initiative. These sorts of falsehoods are venial sins in the big scheme of things but lying is still wrong. If you're lying about the small stuff to get over then you'll probably lie about the big stuff as well. You're not someone I want on my team. I don't want to supervise you. I don't want to report to you. I can't trust you.

Other people, like Trump surrogate Pastor Mark Burns (if that is indeed his name), decide to throw caution to the wind. If you're going to lie you might as well lie big is apparently a mantra Burns takes to heart. It recently became apparent that Burns was lying about among other things:
  • His membership in the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi (he's not a member)
  • Graduating from North Greenville University (he attended one semester and didn't graduate)
  • Pursuing his master's degree at Andersonville Theological Seminary (he's not even enrolled)
  • Serving in the Army Reserve (he was really in the National Guard)
When caught on these discrepancies Burns claimed his website had been hacked and that the media was out to get him because he was telling the truth and wasn't politically correct. These are the normal go to defenses of someone who isn't very bright or doesn't think quickly on his feet. Later, after presumably conferring with the Trump campaign, Burns issued a statement admitting his lies. Now Burns wasn't the first political operative to lie and certainly won't be the last. Remember the Hillary claim to have landed in Bosnia under sniper fire? I thought Burns' CNN interview was humorous. But it was also a reminder that living honestly is a pretty good shield against media attacks. I also wondered about the intelligence and character of a man who lies about things that are so easily verified, like fraternity membership or college education. But apparently he's smarter than his congregation...

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