The assault on truth

Marsha Shearer
Marsha Shearer

If this is who we are or who we are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life. Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable  of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.” – General Michael Hayden

This statement by the former CIA and National Security Agency Director was in response to Trump’s tweet on Nov. 25: “Fox News is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!” 

Actually, it is the President who represents our nation to the world.  He hardly needs FOX or CNN to interpret who he is.  They just need to train their cameras on him and let him talk … or tweet.  Odds are, what you’ll get is a barely discernable statement – verbal or written – with lousy grammar, 5th grade vocabulary and syntax that would drive that 5th grade teacher to drink.  More importantly, odds are that it’s likely to contain exaggerations, inappropriate comments and/or lies. 

PolitiFact rated a whopping “69 percent of Trump’s statements as mostly false, false or pants on fire.”

Just 5 percent were rated as absolutely true.  Consider that.  Would any of us maintain a friendship with someone who’s truthful 5 percent of the time?  Should any nation trust another whose leader is honest 5 percent of the time?

Trump is not our first language/learning impaired president but others were sufficiently aware of their deficiencies to use staff to review and edit before making pronouncements.  But self-awareness of deficiencies is one of Trump’s deficiencies. He doesn’t see any. Nor is he the first president to lie, but Trump takes lying to a whole other level. They seem to arise from one overriding need – that of self-aggrandizement – the need to not just protect his fragile ego but to assure himself and everyone else that no one is better at anything than Donald J. Trump.  He does that by manufacturing adoration while belittling others who pose a threat.  Almost every speech he makes, regardless of theme, purpose or location has to include statements denigrating Hillary and Obama.  Michael Gerson, former Republican presidential advisor and speech writer, describes Trump as a “wrecking ball motivated by grievance.” 

Trump lies about information that’s provable and readily available; he’s a pathological liar who makes up an alternate reality. He states regularly that President Obama never achieved a 3 percent quarterly growth rate in his 8 years.  Fortune magazine finds that 3 percent or more growth occurred 8 times during those years.  Now he’s even questioning whether the voice heard round the world on the Access Hollywood tape is his although there’s a video of him stating “I said it.” Perhaps that video is fake, too. Gerson talks about Trump being untethered from reality and the source of a continual pattern of deceit coming from the White House. Each day brings a new degradation of the office. What once was unacceptable – even unimaginable – is just one more assault. On Wednesday, Trump  retweeted 3 White Supremacist videos which had been proven fake and resulted in public rebukes from the Dutch government and British Prime Minister and praise from former KKK Grand Dragon, David Duke. Let that sink in.

After a while, you run out of flabbergasts. 

And that’s the real danger.  There’s never enough time to react and refute the latest outrageous tweet or statement before the next one is delivered.  It’s impossible to keep up. And so a facile response is “no big deal, everyone lies, that’s just what he does.” What would have been considered abhorrent is now accepted as the norm.  But this is not normal.  This is not who we are. 

Donald Trump has become an enemy of the people.  He, through his puppeteer, Steve Bannon, is systematically destroying our institutions and our government.  He is tearing our nation apart.  He is fostering all the “isms” by engaging in them himself – thus giving permission to all those who have a grievance to blame it on “the others.” He is the consummate liar and con artist.  Never in our history has the enemy within been any stronger and more dangerous than now. 

Nothing is more important than honesty because everything else rests on it.  It is our right as Americans to demand it.  And that’s the truth.

Marsha Shearer is a Villager and frequent contributor to