One some level, Oak Grove Mayor Mark Fulks has to feel empathy for President Barak Obama. Who better to understand your pain than someone who is traveling the same path you’ve already walked.

One some level, Oak Grove Mayor Mark Fulks has to feel empathy for President Barak Obama. Who better to understand your pain than someone who is traveling the same path you’ve already walked.

Both Fulks and Obama have been targeted with a flimsy lie regarding their residency that’s treated as just short of the Holy Gospel by some disingenuous figures. Both have weathered the storm of shoddy allegations and outright fabrications. And both are victims of a world that has somehow reconciled allowing perception to have the same meaning as truth.

When yours truly first set out as this newspaper’s beat writer for Oak Grove more than a few moons ago, folks who know the “real truth” felt it was imperative the world (all 6,000 or so residents of it according to the 2000 Census) know Mark Fulks’ dirty little secret. Apparently Fulks, the mayor, obtained a small living space in Oak Grove to maintain an address solely for the purpose of becoming mayor.

You read that right. Fulks supposedly wanted to be mayor of Oak Grove (again, population 6,000) so badly that he obtained a small living space in the really small and isolated town just so he’d have an Oak Grove residence. Being mayor of Oak Grove meant just that much to him.

I feel like I just contributed to a lie by writing that foolishness.

Unlike Obama’s birth certificate, Fulks’ address isn’t considered a private matter. This means anyone with even a little time to waste could have looked up his address and, perhaps, paid the mayor a visit. (I wouldn’t just show up unannounced. That would be creepy.) Thankfully, sensible behavior prevailed and the lie didn’t impede Fulks’ political career, one in which he continues to lead the best little town in Eastern Jackson County.

Unfortunately, our president hasn’t been afforded the same good luck. Foolish folks continue to deny official confirmation of Obama’s birthplace, and the media (including yours truly in this case) continues to report that a great deal of Americans believe a blatant lie.

Supposedly, perception equals reality. The truth-is-perception often equals an opinion not supported in truth. At the very worst, perception is used as a weapon of mass destruction, degrading our society by using lies or innuendo to misinform or mislead the general populace.

Telling a lie is wrong. When we allow our neighbors or leaders to spread falsehoods with impunity, we are left with a world in which nothing can be considered credible. Every speech, every newscast, every opinion column, every textbook has to be questioned because, at any moment, someone might haul off and lie just for the heck of it.

The truth is Mayor Mark Fulks lives in Oak Grove, Mo. The truth is President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Those statements can be proven and supported with documentation.

Anything to the contrary is simply a lie.