Don’t Normalize the Lies, Call Him Out
It may be a natural consequence of being isolated in the White House, but it seems that Presidents lose the ability to speak the truth once installed in office.
In my lifetime, this syndrome began with Lyndon Johnson. The Gulf of Tonkin incident, as it unfolded, seemed to be a just reason for the United States to escalate its involvement with the Vietnam War. Johnson asked for the resolution which gave him wide ranging authority to commit U.S. Troops to Vietnam following two attacks on a U.S. Warship in the Gulf of Tonkin. The measure passed and as a result the United States involvement in the Vietnam War escalated dramatically, which would take the lives of more than 57,000 American Soldiers. The problem was the incident never happened. Lives lost due to a big lie.
Richard Nixon perfected the art of the ‘Big Lie’. Everyone knows the story of Watergate and the iconic statement, “people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.” In the end this statement was prophetic as he did get everything he earned.
Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Senior, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all had their moments with lying. Certainly no one will forget the statement “I did not have sex with that woman” or “it depends on what the meaning of is, is.”
And so, there is a tradition of being loose with the truth in the Oval Office. However, we are now in a situation where almost every day our president reinvents the truth to suit his immediate narcissistic needs. Here are the lines from just the last four weeks that were reported by Politifact National:
-Democrats “want virtual immunity for illegal aliens who have created horrible crimes and murder.”
-U.S. farmers are receiving $16 billion “out of the tariffs that we’ve gotten from China.”
-“Mexico, they took 30% of our automobile business.”
-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “called our country and our people garbage.”
-When his supporters chanted “send her back” about Ilhan Omar, he eventually stopped it.
The lies come at us faster than we can absorb them. His defenders just go along with all this, saying it’s just the haters who spread this garbage. But, I have been wondering why this can go on and on.
I think that it is “ratings” that propel his persona. He is obsessed with size – the size of his buildings, the size of his wealth, the size of the crowds at his rallies, the size of his margin of victory, the size of his approval rating. And when the true facts are pointed out they are just dismissed as “fake news.”
Here is where the ‘Big Lie Theory’ kicks in. By repeating his lies to his crowds and posting them on social media he fuels the denial engine. He has even gone so far as to say that what you are seeing isn’t real.
I used to worry that the United States will lose respect around the world. In fact, I think that all the Leaders of the G20 are embarrassed to have to take Mr. Trump seriously. He is the president of the United States. His pronouncements, usually by tweet, have had ripple effects that rumbled around the world.
I am in agreement with many pundits who think that Donald Trump never expected to win the election. He saw it as a way to promote his brand and make a profit through the election process. He was as stunned as the rest of the world when he was elected. There was no plan, no course of action charted. The presidency now is run on the whims of a man who is in way over his head.
Too many lives are being lost due to his constant reversals. Just recently he backtracked on his commitment to have strong background checks for gun purchases. He was all for it and then abruptly declared we already have strong background checks. This is another lie unsupported by the facts. Millions of guns are purchased every year without background checks.
It is my sincere hope that when there are actual presidential debates next year between the Democratic candidate and Donald Trump that the reporters call him out for his lies. Do not let him smear his opponent with fantasies of his own creation. Do not let him get away with ‘Big Lies ‘any more.
The time for truth is now.