I took this photo recently when visiting family in Las Vegas. The building carries the name of the man some (albeit a minority) of my fellow citizens chose to be our new president.
Saturday, in a style reminiscent of communist regimes and the propaganda tactics they so effectively employed, he and his press secretary, Sean Spicer, blatantly lied to America.
Misinformation is a game they play well.
Undoubtedly, it is but one of many lies to come. Mr. Trump understands that the number of lies is infinite. And that it’s possible for their number to overwhelm the truth. And that well-timed lies can divert people’s and the media’s attention from more important matters. And from the purveyor’s political vulnerabilities.
Obvious lies serve another purpose. They allow the purveyor to see who challenges them, and who repeats them.
Garry Kasparov goes further. He says, “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
These tactics have gotten Trump this far. Indeed, it’s arguable he rode to power on the back of his biggest, most brazen lie of all: the Birther lie. There is no reason to think this zebra will change his strips now.
But he not only lies. He also denigrates good people. He impugns without just cause. He belittles. Maligns. Disrespects. Bullies. Threatens. He assaults (verbally and, if he’s to be believed, physically as well).
He makes things up and then unabashedly peddles his fictional self-aggrandizing narratives. He does whatever he thinks will bolster the Trump brand and his personal fortunes and nourish a frail and needy ego. He’s the consummate charlatan.
As San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovic said Saturday, “You really can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.”
Fortunately, if the election results and this past weekend’s marches are any indication, a majority of Americans don’t buy Mr. Trump’s act. That’s the good news. The bad news is we must live through this national nightmare. And suffer the injury he is sure to inflict on our country and the world.
Unfortunately, no one can wave a magic wand and imbue this man with virtue, decency or wisdom. But we can hold him and his minions accountable. And we can apply pressure to limit his influence and power. We can call out this charlatan at every deceitful turn.
We also can remind each other that his behavior and the values he embodies are unacceptable. And that human values matter. And that America is better than this.