Donald Trump lies. A lot. Media commentators complain about this, not because they’re corrupt, though they are that, but because he lies. A lot. I didn’t think hard enough about this when I wrote in support of his candidacy in 2016, or at least not hard enough about how much it might annoy me.
Truth is the most important concept in human thought, in life itself. Without it fixed securely in view, we are ever heading in the wrong direction. I hate dishonesty more than any political figure or doctrine; and so to advise the reader to vote for Trump again would need to be justified differently.
Most of Trump’s lies are entirely unnecessary. He has a fanatically devoted base, as well as a functioning cult of personality. He has no need to lie. He knows what his base want, and he wants it too. The feelings of the opposition should be of secondary importance.
But that isn’t the way Trump works. Those who warned previously of his narcissism and insecurity were not exaggerating. He wants praise from everyone. He would like as much to be regarded as a great feminist as a great conservative. The ‘great’ part is all that matters. As the exasperated Trump advocate Ann Coulter pointed out recently, “It’s all about him.”
Lying as a public figure makes it difficult for friend and foe alike. To speak in defence of a Trump pronouncement too often proves a wasted effort. As soon as you have finished agreeing with him, he retracts the point, or even denies saying it at all. There is comedy in this. And it’s not always funny.
Trump ultra-loyalists, who find nothing degrading in tidying up his babble into coherence it doesn’t merit, embarrass themselves rather too much. When there is no Trump regime to speak of, or to defend, their reputations will be in tatters – and quite rightly.
So what to do with the ‘mad king’ who nonetheless faces the right way on most of the vital issues facing a great country? I am not American, so this is not my responsibility, but I feel compelled to say what I think I would do.
A few points:
I do not believe any resident of Honduras has a God-given right to American hospitality. Immigration law should be enforced. A wall would help, but doesn’t seem likely to come.
America has too many problems within its borders to go on military adventures without good reason.
Europe, which is my responsibility, can ultimately benefit from Trump’s isolationism. It is high time European powers set about building a military force capable of defending our beautiful continent. We cannot rely – and should never have relied – on American military charity. While we should be as friendly as possible with our natural ally, we must be our own guarantor.
Kamala Harris, who is obviously more dynamic than her senior running mate, is the personification of money politics. She offers a return to a corrupt norm, never desirable in the first place.
Finally, though Trump’s lies are infuriating and demonstrate a real lack of respect for his supporters, old media forces are ultimately more damaging to truth than he is.
Only Trump’s most intoxicated supporters believe he tells the truth all the time. But the slippery and clever deceptions of the mainstream press are held as credible by the majority of educated people. They do not lie outright, as Trump does, but they do evade certain topics, keep attention off uncomfortable but important realities, de-platform dissident men, and drive at untruth, even if not all the way.
In conclusion, Trump may well be the best option on the ballot this time around, but that should depress, not enliven. I look forward to a time when someone more professional and straightforward promises the same renewal.