John Colson: If truth isn’t truth, then what is it? |

John Colson: If truth isn’t truth, then what is it?

“Truth isn’t truth.”

What the hell does that even mean?

To be clear, it’s not a direct misquote from George Orwell’s classic anti-government screed, “1984,” but it gets to the same place — the belief that truth is what our “dear leader” says it is, and that our “dear leader” can change what he says is the truth anytime he wants.

The “truth” phrase was uttered during a recent TV talk show by presidential advisor and supposed lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and was cast as an explanation of why he is resisting the idea of President Donald Trump testifying, on the record and under oath, before special counsel Robert Mueller in the ongoing probe into a wide range of subjects including Russia’s indisputable interference in the 2016 presidential election on Trump’s behalf.

OK, Giuliani is a lawyer (which, when pronounced with a certain inflection, rhymes nicely with “liar”), and it’s his job to keep his client out of legal trouble, right? Well, maybe, but Giuliani has a track record of making things worse for Trump, rather than solving problems, every time he opens his mouth.

Another of Giuliani’s takes on the presidential testimony concept, during the same TV talk show, was almost as revealing. When Giuliani claimed that there is too much potential for Trump to be “trapped into perjury” if he met with Mueller, he was all but admitting the prez could not be trusted to keep his own foot out of his mouth.

Of all the causes of the current administration’s paranoid reactions to the Mueller probe, this seems to be at the core of most of them — Trump is so unfamiliar with the concept of telling truth from lies, he might speak without thinking and ensnare himself in charges of lying while under oath, which can be spun into charges of obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offense.

This, obviously, is not quite the same as saying the president is too dumb to know when he’s about to spout a lie, and that he’s too out-of-control to stop himself even if he does see it coming — but it’s about as close as one can get without saying the words.

As I have noted many times, Trump has proven beyond all doubt that he really is that dumb, as are his closest aides and advisers.

How else, for instance, could Kellyanne Conway have come up with the idea of “alternative facts” in early 2017 to explain why Trump and his team tried to bully the entire nation into believing Trump’s lie that his inauguration drew a bigger audience in Washington, D.C., than those of any previous president-elect?

What this all comes down to is an acknowledgement that Giuliani, his boss and the advisers are incapable of even recognizing the truth, much less espousing it, and that they are busy as beavers trying to rewrite history as it happens, wherever it happens, to keep the nation in line while they do everything they can to dismantle government to a point where it can’t be easily repaired.

The rewriting of history as it happens, of course, is intended to prevent the nation’s voters from finally recognizing that they have been had, they’ve been duped by greedy hucksters and their sycophants. It also is one of the weapons being deployed to prevent voters from concluding, nationwide, that the only way to dig out of our national political crisis and emotional malaise is to vote Trump and his Republican lapdogs out of their control of the White House and Congress, as well as state legislatures and other, lower bodies of government.

This is not our first time around this particular race track, of course.

Richard Nixon, back in the good ol’ Watergate days, meant much the same as “truth isn’t truth” when he declared, “If the president does it, then it’s not illegal.” Thankfully, back then, we had people in Congress, in the judiciary and even in Nixon’s administration that fought back against the administration’s wholesale corruption of the government.

And another thing: Trump recently told an audience at one of his dog-and-pony shows (which are nothing but ego-boosting gatherings of the faithful, paid for with taxpayer funds), “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

This is in furtherance of his strategy of convincing his supporters that any news published by any outlet, anywhere, if it disagrees with what Trump says is the truth at the moment, is “fake news” and should be disregarded.

This, as most of us now understand, is another facet of Trump’s intention to undermine national confidence in one of the pillars of our democratic republic, the free and unfettered press guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Because news media are quick to recognize fraud and corruption, and just as quick to make that recognition public.

Hence, Trump’s declaration that the news industry is “the enemy of the people” interested only in assisting the “witch hunt” (Mueller’s investigations) in bringing to light the various bits of skullduggery and sleight-of-hand going on behind the curtains at the White House.

I ask you, and urge you to ask yourselves, if “truth isn’t truth,” then what is it?

And remember, there are only 76 days left until Nov. 6, the national election day when democracy can be restored and bolstered by removing the Republican stranglehold on our government.

Email at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User