It is being reported that President Trump’s number of lies since he took office has gone past 13,000. That is a lot of lying.
Normally you would make allowances for a politician “lying” to the public because in most cases it is a question of exaggerating things that make the person look good, omitting those that don’t and having some kind of explanation that softens an ugly truth when it is found out.
Some politicians will admit to “ugly” truths up front so that the damage can be lessened as time goes on. Others will admit to them using their own slant as a way of making the impact less severe.
In this regard, I recall the tragedy involving Senator Edward Kennedy and the drowning of Mary Jo Kopechne on the night of July 18, 1969. I remember the Senator who drove the car and survived the accident, with a medical collar around his neck.
Although Senator Kennedy went on to do great things in Congress, the mystery and the unsatisfactory explanation surrounding that night contributed significantly to his failure to be elected President of the United States. At the time, it was a bridge too far even for a politician.
Soon after I arrived at what is now MSU Denver, I was tasked with building curriculum, programs and departments at the new and growing institution. I particularly recall a senior seminar I organized and taught about the works of Carlos Castaneda that detailed the author’s experience as an apprentice to Don Juan, a Yaqui shaman. This “new age” series of books featured the philosophy of a warrior defined as a person in search of universal knowledge.
Among the teachings of Don Juan was the idea that a warrior should use all of the available tools in the journey and search including lying and cheating, etc. However, a warrior must never succumb to believing her or his own lies.
There are two types of “truths.” The first is our every day exchange of facts that forms the basis of our practicality, and the second are the universal concepts that define man’s existence and beliefs.
Non-fiction writers constantly wrestle with anecdotes and facts that are the building blocks of a civilization. Fiction authors write and tell stories that have obvious or implied significance related to our humanity.
What happens however, when someone builds a reality where only one person can or would want to decipher its meaning? What happens when generally accepted truth is branded as fake?
This is the world view Donald Trump offers the country and world. In this view, the facts are not the facts and what one sees as obvious is not real.
It is a world of a reality that can move at the speed of light. In it, the author can present its elements as facts that can be changed, eliminated and forgotten in seconds.
What the rest of the world sees as lies in the thousands are the pieces that make up this virtual image that can be contradicted or disappear at any moment depending on the whim of a child-like character that is playing with his impulsive nature. There is very little in the area of facts that would compose the nature of truth or significant meanings implied in fiction because in this highly personalized reality all meaning leads to only one person and one name.
We elected this character to be leader of the free world. We still can learn from our mistake.