" ... our next president will be a liar ... Every candidate who survives into election year is a proven liar." - Michael Kinsley, "Ahead By A Nose," Vanity Fair, Special Oscar Edition. Here is the article.
Kinsley goes on to say that the no-liars, like Lincoln Chafee and Rick Perry, wind up essentially no-where people in politics. After the GOP crowd was finished with their fun, Bill Clinton went on to bounce back from his 1998 "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." That was not unexpected.
But in litigation, defendants/plaintiffs/witnesses must tell all the truth. They take an oath to do that. If it is proven that if they, horrors, lie, they could go to the slammer. I was a bit player in a side show associated with the Rhode Island lead paint trial. Before I was deposed for hours, I was, you bet, sworn in. The message was clear: There was to be no fooling around about the facts - whatever they were.
But the art of lawyering is filled with creativity and nuance. The most successful lawyers follow the poetic wisdom of Emily Dickinson. A line from one of her poems reads: "Tell all the truth but tell it slant."
One of the best lawyer stories I heard was from a woman whose mother was the driver of a car which plowed into another vehicle. As a result there were five fatalities. The lawyers at the insurance company allegedly kept proposing to the driver how the accident could have happened. Both the daughter and mother were stressed out by that process. But the reality was that the driver had little memory of her actions and thoughts before, during, and even immediately after the accident.
It turned out that the mother's testimony wound up serving the insurance company well. Not surprisingly, though, she died soon afterward. Between the accident and the coaching she lost her grip on life.
However, lawyers have plenty of company in shaping all the truth on the slant. Maybe a good definition of "being a grown up" is always framing our story on the slant. That applies whether it's an interview for a job or promotion or a proposal for marriage. All the truth really has no place in the world of adults. For close and intimate relationships, now that I am totally grown-up I only allow in those with silver-tongues. Life is less painful that way.