There are lies.
There are Plato’s noble lies.
There are Hitler’s horrific lies.
There are the half-truths of toothpaste ads and political campaigns.
And there is George Costanza’s version on “Seinfeld” that “it’s not a lie if you believe it”.
And then there are Donald Trump’s reckless in-your-face lies that don’t need a professional fact-checker to prove them false.
This week, Trump, in need of another outburst of applause for his ego, returned to his campaign mode on his absurd victory lap that he has humbly cast as a “thank you” to the voters . In Cincinnati, the most conservative big city in Ohio with Kentucky just across the river, he rose before an appreciative audience to declare his claimed Election Day triumph as a “landslide victory”. He fashioned that numbing self-important vision on the same day that Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote margin reached 2.5 million as his electrified crowd chanted “Lock her up”.
This oration has moved well beyond flat-earth talk or reports on the Orwellian landing of Martians. Or as the author of “1984” described it, :”blackwhite” – the contradiction of plain facts. Have we come to that, folks? Will we forevermore link Trump’s name to the greatest lies ever told. Trumpisms? Long after this generation passes, he will be known that way. That seems to be a helluva way to lock in your stained reputation in the history books. (See Joe McCarthy.)
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a revolutionary of sorts, challenging accepted wisdom on many fronts. He captured Trump quite well as he created his universe of Transcendentalism. More than a century ago, he wrote, “Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but a stab at the health of human society.”
Landslide victory? Herr Trump, it’s a lie, even if you believe it!
Lock him up!