The Curious Case of George Santos

Alex Brandon, Associated Press

Way back in the day when humans were still figuring out the best way to govern ourselves, a particularly astute member of our tribe known as Aristotle wrote a particularly brilliant work called Politics that outlines various types of regimes. There is, of course, the vaunted democracy and other old favorites like kingship, aristocracy and tyranny. But of all the regime types Aristotle mentions, the one most closely related to the form of government we have in the United States today is “constitutional rule.” The essence of constitutional rule is that the many rule for the good of the whole. And, like any type of regime, it has its flaws. In the long run though, the history of our country has shown us that constitutional rule has been quite successful in creating a strong and just society that people want to live in.

But man, the case of Rep. George Santos really shines the spotlight on some of our political systems’ ugliest spots.

Let me be extremely clear right off the bat: the point of this article is not to advocate for a nationwide regression to a dictatorship or something of that sort. However, George Santos represents something about our system of government that we need to be very wary of going forward. Aristotle himself posited in Politics that the downside to a system of government in which everybody shares in decision making is that, every so often, you’re going to get a “bad egg” in a position of power. Santos is one of those rare cases where, no matter how you stand politically, the man is clearly a bad egg.

Santos is the embodiment of what every sane parent tells their child not to become when they grow up. He is a liar to such an incredible degree that, in a sort of twisted way, it’s almost… impressive. The man has absolutely no shame. It seems there is no claim too outrageous for him to make. Santos’s dishonesty range from funny and trivial lies — like his claim of being a renowned fashion model who would soon be making an appearance in Vogue — to much more serious lies.

Santos has claimed that his mother was inside the World Trade Center on 9/11 when documentation definitively shows that she was in Brazil at the time. He also claimed that his grandparents fled the Holocaust when genealogical records disagree. This is only a fraction of the lies, but the point is clear: the man is a fibber of the worst degree. He told lie after lie to craft a false narrative that, regrettably, ended up getting him elected as a representative in our government.

Since his election, more details about his false claims have come to light and public outcry has been swift and harsh — as it should be. The fact remains, though, that Santos is still a sitting member of the House of Representatives. There’s a bold-faced liar sitting in one of our sanctified chambers of legislature. It just seems so wrong. Santos is currently a member of the Republican party, but the GOP has decided not to completely ostracize him. Ostracization should be the only acceptable way to treat such a person. It seems that the tumultuous party would rather take advantage of him for meaningless, short-term political victories. The GOP was more than happy to use Santos’s vote to get Kevin McCarthy appointed as Speaker of the House. This is a total embarrassment to the party, and it is one that Democrats will, no doubt, capitalize on again and again until the tales of Santos’s many mistakes ring in our ears like a broken record.  

The whole mess is a bad look for our country. Cheaters and liars aren’t supposed to win. It goes against so many of the principles that keep our society just and functional. I know that some people blame the voters who were duped into voting for Santos rather than blaming the liar himself, but I can’t bring myself to agree with that. Yes, it was a mistake that not enough people did enough research on Santos’s past. But, then again, how could you honestly predict that someone running for an official position with the government would be so boldly willing to lie about their past?

One way or another, Santos needs to be made an example of. His presence in Congress is a disgrace to our country and the bedrock of constitutional rule that it is built on. Our founding fathers are turning in their graves.