Cereal Liar


Sure, in ranking Trump’s lies, a-voter-ID-for-a-box-of-cereal would be pretty low on the list…while disguises-to-illegally-vote is both deranged and just plain weird…but to repeat, it’s the lying itself that underscores a particularly sinister method to his madness.

In Trump’s case, though, the flouting of the truth serves a particular purpose: it is always a declaration not of any moral or legal or philosophical principle, but of power. As Masha Gessen once noted in The New York Review of Books, authoritarians in the mold of Trump or Vladimir Putin do not lie or distort to truly convince the listener that what they are saying is true. They seek to demonstrate power over the truth itself, and thus dominate the body politic.

Trump lies so often and about matters so trivial that the natural impulse is to shake your head and move on. But that’s the problem. I also can’t imagine a similar reaction/dismissal if the tables were turned, i.e., if a Democratic politician displayed an equal disregard for the truth, the gauntlet would be severe, a combination of GOP officialdom taking the hissy fit to high art, magnified through the lens of the puke funnel’s usual suspects.

And on a related note, the midterms turned out to be pretty good, though you wouldn’t have known that from election night coverage. Convenient that Democratic victories always elicit advice of caution from the punditry…wouldn’t want an excess of democracy, right?