During Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign his statements were checked for accuracy by Politifact, a Pulitzer Prize website, which found 76 percent of Mr. Trump’s pronouncements on the trail were “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire” false. At the same time, most people polled said that they considered Hillary Clinton a dishonest person.
We know that Mr. Trump equivocates, makes incorrect statements, says things that are expedient and reverses his position on issues when it suits him. However he is believed by many people to be “honest!”
Mr. Trump fired James Comey, director of the FBI, and issued many misleading and contradictory statements about it. The fact remains he has the right to select his own director but he fired this one while he was in the middle of investigating whether Mr. Trump received help from Russian sources during his presidential election.
Mr. Trump pushed the envelope of normal politics in America. If this meant America would have a fair economy and a balanced budget, then we could all start our happy dance. The truth is that feelings and his emotional campaign have moved the discussion of issues to an area where policies are beside the point.
He identified things that bother average Americans, and adopted a strategy of promising solutions and repeating the promises over and over to the point that the truth in his promises is less important than the repeated mantra that soothes the collective mind of the American people.
He has attacked disfavored groups and unpopular realities as if that would create a magic correlation between the promises and an actual plans for action. It is not that the truth doesn’t matter but the manner in which the truth is delivered is now as important as the information itself.
Mr. Trump is more of a provocateur than a politician. This form of politics is not new and it has been successful in modern times.
There are those who scoff and smugly proclaim that a strong man cannot push America in a bad direction because the American people are too educated, too concerned and too modern to be taken in by simple lies. However a modern nation disheartened by its situation can turn to a strong personality who lies and promises simple solutions to all national woes. Our political candidates and leader must be held accountable for what they do and what they say in public and in private.
In 1932, in Germany, during the a run-off round of the presidential election, Adolf Hitler hoped to win an improbable victory and his underdog campaign released literature within two weeks of the election that said that he was the only person able to save his country and that he was cruelly slandered with fake news by his ruthless opposition.
The literature said that “every criticism of the candidate was a lie” and boasted how the candidate went to court over 100 times to sue people who had impugned his reputation. A person more concerned with his own personal dreams utilized what he called the “big lie” to convince people desperate for relief to believe in him despite many warning signs.
He described the big lie as one so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth [so] infamously.” The term was adopted in a psychological profile report prepared by the U.S. Army’s Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the modern CIA which said, “His primary rules … never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie … and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe.”
A leader should tell the truth and not play on hate or emotion to gain power or preach a gospel of intolerance when in office. A democratic society must beware easy answers and empty promises and hateful speech from all politicians.