“This is of a different category than we’ve had. This is not simply the number of lies; it’s the velocity of the lies, it’s the character of the lies.” Peter Wehner
“No man in the whole world can change the truth. One can only look for the truth, find it, and serve it.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Forty-five out of forty-five U.S. presidents lied while in office. LBJ lied about Vietnam, Reagan lied about Iran-Contra, Nixon lied too many times to list here, Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” but none so relentless, so brazen, and with such impunity as the man who presently sits behind the desk. I listed a small sample of his doozies in Part 1 and, for you poker players, I revealed his “tell” when he’s about to spin one of his presidential yarns.
My mother used to say, “Tell the truth. If nothing else, it’s the easiest thing to remember.” It’s just good common sense, let alone healthy social etiquette, and most importantly, what God requires:
“Thou shalt not lie… Speak the truth in love… The truth sets you free…”
Solomon repeatedly warns of the dangers of deceit:
- Proverbs 12:19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
- Proverbs 12:22 The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
- Proverbs 17:7 Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool— how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
- Proverbs 21:6 A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
- Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Tellin’ It Like It Isn’t
I for one categorically object to Donald Trump’s assault on the truth. He and deceit are in lock step. He seems to believe that he can create his own truth. Irrespective of how fanciful, just keep repeating any outrageous tripe and it magically becomes true!
I’m aware that there are those who appreciate other things about his person and presidency (none of which, to my mind, offset the copious output of boloney on his Twitter feed, rally speeches, and press conferences). Many excuse this by referring to the lies of the last president, the one before that one, and so on. They want to know why we don’t object so vehemently to the fraudulent speech of previous politicians. To this I’ll quote conservative commentator Peter Wehner again:
“Donald Trump is engaged not just in an assault on truth; he’s engaged in an effort to annihilate truth. We’ve never seen anything like it in American politics. It’s relentless; it’s done morning, noon, and night. And it’s not just lies. It’s the nature of the lies. It’s an assault on provable truths, demonstrable truths.”
Speaking of “provable truths,” some people are better liars than others. They’re not better people, but better at being bad than other people. Their lies are more believable and can be difficult to track down and prove faulty. Then there are those who claim things that everyone with half an ounce of discernment knows is unmitigated malarkey.
I had a friend in High School who used to tell us the most outlandish stories about everything from romantic conquests to encounters with famous people. It was just weird. His lies were of the obvious ilk, ones that we all knew came from the alternative facts universe. I assumed his consistent crock was due to some sort of psychic glitch, something missing between neurons.
I’m no more qualified today to psychoanalyze the president’s penchant for poppycock than I was at sixteen but I’d be willing to bet, that in addition to his absence of character, our leader has something busted in his brain that lets him lie so habitually and with such impunity. There’s a difference between having a proclivity for deceit and a pathology for it. Unfortunately, I believe he fits in the latter category.
In one of his typical praise-me rallies Mr. Trump bellowed what sounded like a page out of Orwell’s Animal Farm: “And just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening!” Don’t believe what you see; believe me instead! The truth is whatever I say it is!
Reality then, is what you can get away with? The world he wants us to embrace is a world of make believe, one wherein he tries to make us believe what’s not there and un-believe what is! Reality is what he can get away with.
READ ALSO: A Kinder, Gentler Donald Trump
When Did Truth Become a Relative Thing?
Presidential legal advisor Rudy Giuliani says “Truth isn’t truth.” I don’t even know what that means! A bagel isn’t a bagel, I am not me, and you are not you? This is akin to “alternative facts.”
Talk about post-truth politics! If truth is relative, then we should give up even trying to come to an agreement about anything.
What disturbs me most is the horde of folk who identify as “Christian” that don’t seem to be bothered by the truth decay that is more than a little bit instigated by pervasive presidential bunk. Their willingness to rationalize the president’s behavior even after he’s caught in lie after lie is a mystery to me. Of all people, shouldn’t we who claim to follow the One who identifies himself as “The Truth” be first in line to tell the truth about lies? Shouldn’t we be the most offended by post-truth politics and the moral danger that shatters shalom, tearing into the fabric of our culture?
- “What is truth?” Pilate
- “I am the truth…” Jesus
READ ALSO: One Way To Pray For The President