Roger Marolt: All lies matter
Trump is a liar. A dangerous one at that.
We now know this for certain. In a stunning admission Wednesday, he finally told the truth about his lying. Half the country could be satisfied, if it weren’t for the unimaginable consequence this one humongous fib has wrought. It is no longer the elephant in the room. It is 190,000 corpses in infamy.
In attempting to justify his misleading words and behavior in purposefully painting the coronavirus epidemic a hoax, a bug no more dangerous than a common cold, Trump told the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, “I don’t want to create panic, as you say. And certainly, I’m not going to drive this country or world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We want to show strength …”
… Because everyone knows viruses always back down when we are confident and they see us flexing our muscles.
He didn’t want us to panic. It is clear now that we should have panicked, perhaps a lot more, as they were doing in New York City while we were told to prepare for a happy Easter with packed churches and egg hunts as usual.
This is not the typical boys-will-be-boys type of lie that all of us men tell in the locker rooms as we joke about grabbing women under their skirts and having them do whatever we want after that. This may be the most consequential lie uttered by a president of the United States. From Eisenhower to Ford, 58,000 U.S. soldiers gave their lives in Vietnam for political fraud. We now rapidly approach nearly four times that many U.S. citizens’ deaths, many preventable, and the virus is not through.
Trump didn’t warn us that the tsunami was coming. He didn’t tell us the light at the end of the tunnel was the freight train. He didn’t bang the drum when the lion bounded into the village. He kept the hurricane horns silent when the eye had clearly focused on its target. He believed that we were better off oblivious. He took control of our fate out of our hands while simultaneously washing his of any responsibility.
“The truth will set you free.” That’s not in the Constitution. It comes from a far older document that transcends it, even inspired it in many ways. They are words uttered profoundly perfectly by humanity’s slave. We cannot possibly be free when making decisions based on falsities. Among the greatest thefts of freedom is by those in power withholding or distorting information that impairs our God-given free will in formulating actions affecting our lives, livelihoods and wellbeing.
Perhaps the most insidious thing about Trump’s lie is not that, as the leader of the free world, his words and actions are having tremendous negative consequences for the entire planet, or that minorities are disproportionately devastated by his recklessness, but that he turned his most ardent supporters into pawns in this devastation. While half the country didn’t fall for it, he convinced his devotees to not protect themselves with masks. He told them it was OK to congregate. He green-lighted life as usual for them.
It is one thing to justify a lie to those who trust you by convincing yourself it is for their own good. It is plain evil to let them run headlong into danger’s path as a result. You cannot possibly justify a lie when its consequences turn lethal.
Even if I dumb myself down to give Trump benefit of the doubt, assuming good intentions in sugarcoating the seriousness of the pandemic even though he knew its deadly potency, could he not have gently urged people to take basic precautions, nudged them calmly to take care of themselves, to be safe?
It is sadly ironic that 19 years ago today we mourned the deaths of almost 3,000 people from the attacks on the World Trade Center and we came together as a nation in unprecedented solidarity. Nobody decided it was best that our eyes be shielded from the horrifically violent tragedy malevolently perpetrated. We panicked. A frenzy ensued. We came together. The images seen over and over again became so etched in our minds that we could never forget.
Except, unbelievably, we have. Not even two decades later we are helplessly divided. It is the lies. All of them. They matter. There is no way to rally around truth when it is strategically concealed. Left with nothing else, the country was directed from the top to rally around a lethal deception.
Roger Marolt believes Trump may have chopped down a whole orchard of cherry trees. We will never know. Email at email@example.com.
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