Editorial — George Santos: A lesson in truth telling

Just over a week ago, George Santos, a Republican from New York recently elected to the United States House of Representatives, recused himself from having a seat on any congressional committees for his first term in office due to allegations of fraudulent behavior.

This move by Santos came after it was discovered that most of his resume and personal biography consist of fiction. The first to identify the many falsehoods in Santos’ life was The New York Times, which published an in-depth story unearthing several contradictions to the narrative the 34-year-old man had attempted to create throughout his election campaign.

Despite claiming himself to be a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor,” the two Wall Street firms Santos listed under the employment section of his resume — Citigroup and Goldman Sachs — said the congressman had never worked for them. Additionally, Santos claimed he graduated from Baruch College in 2010, where he not only majored in economics and finance but also was the “star” of the university’s volleyball team.

Unfortunately for Santos, and anyone who voted for him due to his incredible volleyball skills, Baruch College found no record of the congressman’s graduation or attendance at the university. 

Santos’ pattern of constantly lying about his life even existed long before he ever envisioned himself running for office. If we are to believe the commonly said phrase that “all politicians habitually lie,” then Santos was destined to hold an elected seat of government one day.

According to court documents, while living in Brazil (where his parents grew up) 19-year-old Santos stole a checkbook and wrote over $700 worth of fraudulent checks. While just one example of lying, and quite a serious one, Santos’ actions early in his life indicate a pattern of consistent fabrication to further himself in some way.

While these are all serious accusations, Santos has also made up several other details about his life that are incredibly bizarre. For instance, he claimed to be of Jewish descent and stated that his maternal grandparents escaped persecution during World War II. He later retracted his claim, stating that he meant to say he was “Jew-ish” instead of Jewish. Santos also claimed that his mother was working in the South Tower when it was struck on 9/11, but immigration documents show that she was not even in the country at that time. 

The issue with the entire George Santos scandal, however, is that he has masterfully learned how to maneuver in the contemporary political arena on Capitol Hill. Considering the standard that has been set and the legacy that remains from previous presidential administrations, there is no denying that the behavior of today’s elected officials has dramatically changed. 

We no longer exist in a political landscape defined by buttoned-down, tight-lipped individuals who are willing to practice bipartisanship. Instead, those running for office — on both sides of the aisle — know that they must be memorable to even have a chance at securing a position in power. How they choose to be memorable, however, can vary greatly.

Some may choose to publicly protest social issues with their constituents, while others may spew hate speech and falsehoods on social media. Every method of persuasion you can possibly think of has likely been used by a politician to be elected to office. But in the recent past, it seems that making yourself a media sensation by saying and doing controversial things is the fastest way to secure votes.

Remember when politics were boring? Thanks to the recent shift in American politics that has allowed politicians to become the equivalent of Hollywood celebrities, being elected is merely a means of clout, money and stardom for some individuals. 

While we have all indulged in our fair share of political memes, which have heightened in breadth and popularity within the past 10 years, it is a bit frightening that the same people who lie about being star volleyball players have the power to take our fundamental rights away. 

So, what can we learn from George Santos? We believe two things for certain. First, we believe Santos is an excellent example of why you should not lie on your resume. Not only will you miss out on job opportunities, but you will also soil your name with the employer you are looking to work for. 

Secondly, and perhaps more grimly, we have learned that no matter the amount of lying Santos has done, he will continue to reap the benefits of his momentary stardom for the rest of his life. Not only will he continue to hold his seat in Congress, but he will still receive the immense monetary gains that accompany that position.

You can think Santos is funny. You can think Santos is crazy. But it is certain that Santos is a liar and has become famous for being one.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is an editorial, written by the North Wind Editorial Board in its entirety. It reflects the majority views of the individuals who make up the editorial staff of the North Wind. It is the policy of the Editorial Board not to endorse candidates for any political office, in order to avoid aligning this public forum with particular political organizations.