Politics and civics

Political hypocrisy weakens democracy by generating cynicism

Mitch McConnell is the poster child for political hypocrisy, evidenced by these opposing statements on governance.

hypocrisy [hi-pok-ruh-see]
A pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess…. an act or instance of hypocrisy.

It is a cliché that people don’t always practice what they preach.

It is probably a cliché that politicians tell people what they want to hear. Or tell people what they think will be most damaging to an opponant.

There are rarely such clear demonstrations of why political hypocrisy leads to derision than this.



Pew Research reported in 2015:

Currently, just 19% say they can trust the government always or most of the time, among the lowest levels in the past half-century. Only 20% would describe government programs as being well-run. And elected officials are held in such low regard that 55% of the public says “ordinary Americans” would do a better job of solving national problems.

With rhetoric like this, opinions like that are not surprising.

The term originated in Greek in reference to actors (Political Hypocrisy, Introduction, pdf). The term extended from theatre to religion as a reference to “individuals who did not actually believe what they were saying” (p 8). Hypocrisy is the use of a persona to generate a false impression. Hypocrisy like this exhibited by McConnell damage democracy because vice leads to a generalize loss of trust, a rational response. This is not “virtue” in the sense of acting in a polite manner.

But the concept is much older, perhaps as old as human nature.

These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Matthew 15:8


By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

3 replies on “Political hypocrisy weakens democracy by generating cynicism”

Hypocrisy? Mitch is a lightweight and (IMHO) using him for a quote is very poor form. Especially when you do not include an example from the opposition party. As a UW prof, surely you can provide a balanced perspective. Or can you? So let me provide the first example of political hypocrisy that came to mind as I read your post. “You can keep your Doctor, premiums will go down (on average) $2700.00, “. Shall I continue? You may have UW coverage and not see the impact in your mailbox. We have Premera through the Microsoft Alumni Asso. Before O-care, premiums were $300/mo then $600/mo. It stabilized fir a short while then $900/mo. Then Sept 2016 a jump to $1200/mo. And now the kicker: We just received a notice that our type of policy is being discontinued as of Jan 1. They have nothing similar to offer. I submit this as an example of hypocrisy from Mitch’s opposing party. Further, this outright lie was spoken by someone of much higher rank than Mitch and with a much larger pulpit to speak from.

$1200/mo = $14,400/yr. and that’s one darn fine motorcycle vacation, almost anywhere in the world I would want to ride. Thanks, O.

Gerald, I’m sorry that your insurance premiums went up. The issue of health care costs in the U.S. is an important one for conversation.

It looks like for Skagit County, the exchange plan option is Group Health and something called BridgeSpan Health Company.

I have no idea how the insurance companies decide where they will provide what coverage. I’m not sure anyone does.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.