Many people, certainly including me, focus on the staggering amount of lies Donald Trump tells daily. We all want to believe he is a true outlier. People, including me, regularly discuss how America has never had a liar like Trump in government.
It’s true America has never had someone in government who lies as often as Trump Lies, but most of his lies are insignificant. On the other hand, there are volumes of evidence to indicate politicians with substantially more respect than Trump, I know that’s a low bar, have lied about extremely substantial things.
Sure, Trump lies about things big and small. But most people know he’s lying. The pathological liar isn’t the problem as is the convenient liar. When Trump speaks, most people know to ignore him. When George W. Bush, Colin Powell and a host of officials lied to us about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, most Americans believed. When George H.W. Bush lied to us about Panama in 1989 and about Latin America in the ’70s, most American believed. When Reagan lied about efforts to ship weapons to the Contras, most Americans believed. When Kissinger, helms, Nixon, Ford, and a host of officials lied about US efforts to destabilize and overthrow the government of Chile in the early ’70s, most Americans believed.
It’s true–Donald Trump is a liar. It’s just as true that American officials have a long history of lying to the American public in Congressional testimony (which is perjury), in the press, and directly through television and radio.
While Donald Trump’s lies are part of what makes him embarrassing and ineffective, the willingness of so many to violate our trust by lying to advance agendas most of us didn’t support and/or to hide their potentially criminal activity–has created the climate that made Trump’s lies more acceptable than they should have ever become.
Many call for a return to normalcy. They want us to return to their idea of America before Trump, where people could sometimes believe our government. Of course, they don’t say it that way because those calling for a return to normalcy won’t admit how abnormal our once normalcy was as a matter of respected conduct and character.
America doesn’t need a return to a normalcy that condoned lies and failed to ask the questions that held leaders accountable. America needs to use the experience of a presidency where multiple lies are told daily to change the ideal. Americans must no longer take their government at face value; instead, Americans must demand our government demonstrate actual proof and be subjected to regular audits and Congressional testimony.
Sure, we will always be told some lies. But the likeleyhood they damage us will depend on our willingness to ask the questions that have too often failed to be asked in the name of patriotism.