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The word itself sparks emotions from anxiety to resentment to anger. Its application can be found in virtually every segment of our society. Its popularity is increasing daily. Yet its long-term result is always devastating to the user, the receiver and our country.

It is lying. America's favorite pastime.

It starts rather early in age with many here in America. Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are two wonderful example of how some lies even offer reward. If you are good boys and girls, Santa will leave you good gifts. If not, you will get a stocking full of coal. Put that baby tooth under the pillow, and there is a good chance a picture of a dead president will magically appear the next morning.

Lies come in many varieties. The "white lie" is the favorite of many who think there really isn't anything all that bad about one. Then there's the "little lie," often accompanied by a touch of white, which I suspect reflects the internal stature of the user. Also, there is "not telling the whole story," leaving out critical elements in a story that would show the truth.

All are designed to accomplish the same mission – deception.

Lies can make things appear as they are not. Lying, many times, is merely in the eye of the beholder. What is one man's lie is another man's truth. Yet the deception is as powerful as any other lie.

Lies can convince consumers that if they use a specific kind of toothpaste, they will be the most successful person on the block. Or if they drink a certain beer, they will get all the pretty girls. Perfumes can place men in a trance-like state so they will become a subservient slave. The boys in advertising love the convincing power generated by a well-placed lie.

Interestingly, when told often enough and with great conviction, a lie becomes the liar's reality. The liar can no longer tell the difference. It is his or her truth. When repeated over time to the masses, a lie will replace the truth. Society will actual see the lie as the truth. Propagandists love this characteristic.

Lies are often used in the belief that telling the truth would be far less effective. As a result of our training to use and accept lies, some people prefer to lie over telling the truth. Lies seem to be the lifeblood of most politicians. Politicians tend to be one thing during a campaign and become quite another after the polls have closed.

Trusting in the truth, while sounding extremely easy, apparently is not to some. Trusting the lie has become so acceptable in our society that tellers of truth are often looked at as the liars. Trusting truth should be far easier than trusting the lie. I wonder why we don't see more truth than deception.

Classic lies always find a permanent place in our memory. President Clinton "did not have sex with that woman … not one time." Gov. Sanford went for a walk in the Appalachian mountains to clear his head. This list goes on and on.

The best way to detect a lie is to acquaint yourself with the truth. Just as in good wine, the more you taste, the better you get at knowing the good from the bad. Practice does make perfect when seeking the truth. Same proves true with those who prefer lies. Many become very effective liars with practice.

Start telling the truth in your own life, and you will know immediately when you hear a lie. Amazingly, you will find that truth works better than the lie. Oh yes, it may be a bit uncomfortable at first. Just like breaking any bad habit, it not the most pleasant transition. Over time it becomes natural and actually will produce much better results in your life with zero side effects and far less stress on your memory as well.

Crossing your fingers will not nullify the effects of a lie or provide cover when the lie is exposed.

Truth is! It never changes. It is the same today as it will be tomorrow. Truth does not need acceptance to be the truth. Even when rejected truth never changes. Truth is!

The lie, however, constantly changes. It can never stop changing. It never remains the same. Like a shark that must keep moving to stay alive, so is a lie. It must keep changing.

If we are to survive, America must start telling the truth and condemn anyone or anything that would offer a lie in place of the truth. When a lie is discovered, it must be exposed and when exposed be accompanied by consequences.

It is said the first thing to die in a court of law is the truth. The lawyer who can deceive, twist and pervert a lie to appear as the truth will win. If it does not fit, you must acquit. Yet has he or she truly won or merely deceived the jury and the judge? I thought the truth was what we wanted to find in a court room? Apparently, not anymore in America. Winning is our only goal.

I prefer the justice of the Old West. If a man shot another man in cold blood and there were witnesses to the event, the sheriff would arrest the killer, and within a day or two the townspeople would set up the gallows and a hanging would occur at high noon. Justice was swift. The truth was undeniable and was therefore acted upon. I suspect that fellow never went on to kill again.

So you ask, why would I bring up such an obscure topic in my column space this week? Simple. Lies in the end always produce death – in physical, mental and spiritual ways. A liar may think for the moment they are getting away with something and even be proud of their accomplishment. But make no mistake about it: On the outside they may seem fine, but inside something dies.

My hope for my country is this: Telling the truth will become more fashionable than lying. The truth for a moment may be disappointing, disturbing and perhaps even painful, but it will make us free. Freedom is what makes us great. A lie will steal our freedom completely.

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