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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion politics

OPINION: The dark hilarity of the George Santos chronicles


Thus spoke George Costanza: “Jerry, just remember: it’s not a lie if you believe it.”  

I’m not one to miss a chance to make a good “Seinfeld” reference — it’s the greatest American sitcom ever written and arguably the most timelessly-relevant television series next to “The Simpsons.” Life is full of moments that make one say, “Hey, this is sort of like that one episode of ‘Seinfeld’…” and, evidently, nobody has taken this truism more to heart than the newly-elected Rep. George Santos of New York.  

Santos is an interesting case, which — even though “interesting cases” have long been the norm in American politics — I do genuinely mean it. It’s a well-known assumption among the general public that politicians lie: it’s just sort of what they do. It takes a lot to really shock a voter base with this assumption in mind — so, when the New York Times reported that Santos had largely faked his resume, they didn’t just reveal that he was lying. They revealed he’d been lying a lot. About really obvious things. And then, in an effort to cover up those lies, lying some more. 

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Thankfully, New York Magazine has laid out every lie Santos has told in an easy-to-follow listicle for those who don’t read the front page of the Times every day. Let’s start with the basic stuff: there’s no evidence he ever attended the private high school he claims to have gone to. In fact, he has a GED; there’s no evidence he ever attended college, despite having claimed to have had a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Baruch College and a master’s degree in business administration from New York University; he’s never worked for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup either, despite claiming to have done so.  

He never really did much with his animal charity Friends of Pets United, and he definitely didn’t save 2,500 cats and dogs. In fact, he might have killed one when he cheated a disabled veteran out of $3,000 for his pit mix’s surgery. His mother didn’t die on 9/11 and she wasn’t even in the U.S. during the tragedy. His grandmother wasn’t a Holocaust survivor and his family isn’t Jewish — although he claims to be “Jew-ish,” which also has no credible backing. 

He was never a Broadway producer. It’s unlikely he was ever on “Hannah Montana” or “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” and he definitely didn’t star in a nonexistent film with Uma Thurman. He was actually a drag queen in Brazil, but he — at first — vehemently denied this.  

And so it goes. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced Tuesday Santos is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. He is currently not allowed to be on any committees of his own because of his questionable history. But let’s get the obvious out of the way: the voters in New York’s Third Congressional District were intentionally misled and Santos should be removed from office. 

There’s a difference between a politician lying and a politician fabricating their entire background in order to deceive their constituency into voting for them. It’s abhorrent behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated in the slightest. 

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But, damn, if it isn’t funny. 

It’s somehow especially funny in a political environment dominated by objectively funny events. It’s funny that he vaguely claims to have gotten his start in “import & export sales,” just like Costanza did in “The Stake Out.” It’s funny that the only article on the “In the News” section of his website is the Wikipedia page for the 118th United States Congress. And it’s funny that he continues to use his “campaign account” on Twitter to do his best Donald Trump impression as everything around him crumbles. 

American politics are absurd. Yes, it’s important, and yes, our entire future does unfortunately rely on a political system maybe one day doing the right things. But, still, I would argue that our political environment perfectly embodies Albert Camus’ definition of the absurd: that is, the “futility of a search for meaning in an incomprehensible universe, devoid of God, or meaning.” 

Making progress is important and we should never falter in our fight for that. But not everything can be immediately fixed by individual action alone. And it’s okay to face that absurdity and find the humor in it.  

Joey Sills (he/him) is a sophomore studying journalism and political science. 

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