It may be obvious to regular readers of this website that those words are accurate. And yet, we rarely if ever read them in our mainstream newspapers or hear them said in our television viewing either by newscasters, pundits, or even the politicians who have to deal with Trump’s medacities.
In this morning’s New York Times, columnist Charles M. Blow, whose work regularly “trends” on the Times website, takes this on directly in a column titled In Defense of the Truth. which begin simply with a short sentence:
Once again: Donald Trump is a liar.
that statement occasioned by the report on Friday by both the Department of Justice that neither the FBI nor the Department’s National Security Division has any record or evidence to support Trump’s charge via Twitter on March 4 that the Obama administration wiretapped the Trump campaign.
The next three, short paragraphs lays out the framework for what Blow wants us to realize:
To some this lying may seem small, just another defect among many, but to me it is so much more. Honesty is the foundation of character. The truth is the common base from which all else is built.
And yet, this man feels completely unbound by it. He has no respect or reverence for it. For him, honesty is an option, one that he feels no compunction to choose.
Before Trump’s bigotry, race-baiting, misogyny, corruption, bullying and vindictiveness, there is the lying. One could even argue that the lying is a core component of all the rest.
Here we might think back on the statement that Trump had sent private investigators to Hawaii to explore the question of President Obama’s birth and they could not believe what they were finding. I am unaware of any evidence that Trump ever sent such folks to the 50th state.
But there is more.
Blow refers to the work of the fact checkers at both The Washington Post and Politifact, with the former finding Trump made 492 false statements in his first hundred days in the Oval Office, with only ten days with no such statements and 5 with 20 or more, and the later noting the following
- statements absolutely true 5%
- statements “mostly true” or “half true” — 26%
- statements that qualified as “mostly false,” “false” or “pants on fire,” = 69%.
He quotes Maria Konnikova of Politico as putting Trump in a different category than other politicians:
“The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. Nixon, Reagan and Clinton were protecting their reputations; Trump seems to lie for the pure joy of it.”
What is key is what this does to those subject to Trump’s lie. Konnokova citres the work of Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert about what this does to our brains, which are simply not equipped to deal with such constant mendacity: that it overloads our brains, which eventually give up trying to figure out what is true, or as Blow puts it:
Trump is quite literally overwhelming our human capacities with his mendacity.
There is more.
This is a hard column to summarize without sapping its impact, so you should go read it, and if I have convinced you, here again is the link for it and you can stop reading what I offer.
If you are still here, allow me to offer a few more brief snips from Blow:
Trump’s incessant lying is obscene. It is a collapse in morality; it is an ethical assault.
t seems odd that we have to defend the merits of truth, and yet we do. We must.
How is one supposed to debate policy with someone who almost never tells the truth? How can a liar negotiate treaties or navigate international disputes? Without truth, everything falls apart, or more precisely, nothing can be established.
America made a colossal mistake, and it cannot be easily undone.
All of this leads Blow to the assertion which I only partially quoted in the title of this posting. Here is it context:
...we must develop a societal strategy for protecting the true in a post-truth world, and the first step is that we must never stop saying: Donald Trump is a liar.
Donald Trump is a liar
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