Trump lies and America’s violence continuum

I have written the DOJ will not prosecute Trump but absent any  prosecution  American democracy cannot expect to continue on its present trajectory.  The longer Trump goes unpunished the worse his affinity for lying and the use of his bully pulpit to gas light and incite racial, religious hatred will become.  The Washington Post back in 2021 said in it’s article highlighting Trump’s span of lies during his administration

When The Washington Post Fact Checker team first started cataloguing President Donald Trump’s false or misleading claims, we recorded 492 suspect claims in the first 100 days of his presidency. On Nov. 2 alone, the day before the 2020 vote, Trump made 503 false or misleading claims as he barnstormed across the country in a desperate effort to win reelection.

This astonishing jump in falsehoods is the story of Trump’s tumultuous reign. By the end of his term, Trump had accumulated 30,573 untruths during his presidency — averaging about 21 erroneous claims a day.

What is especially striking is how the tsunami of untruths kept rising the longer he served as president and became increasingly unmoored from the truth.

We have learned that Trump’s lies are purposeful.  He has been told some of his statements are lies and even has admitted to others that he knows what he says is not the truth but he says it anyway. Politicians like him are able to strike a chord with elements of society that tend towards violence.  We’ve seen that already in the events of Jan6 and this is why he cannot be allowed to continue to lie unabated.

Lies regarding racial animosity and immigration are themes that have sparked intense murderous violence in America’s past.  Such violence historically has usually led to changes in policy or in one case an entire local govt and that hasn’t been lost on Trump et co. 

The lynching of 11 Italian immigrants in New Orleans in 1891, please make a mental note of that year, who were accused of murdering a police official of the city of New Orleans happened at a time when immigration was a hot button issue in America.  Five of  the people lynched were not tried at all for the murder but were executed. Three were tried and acquitted for that offense and three saw their case end in a mistrial yet all  were victims of a mob mentality that was stoked in anti-immigration rhetoric of the times.  It goes without saying no one responsible for these 11 murders was punished and attempts by the federal govt to compensate the families of the victims was fought by the Congress which managed to reduce the original amount  suggested by the president at the time of $25,000 down to slightly over $2,000 per victim. The practical effect of this act of genocide on a burgeoning Italian community in New Orleans was shortly after the lynching, the city passed an ordinance giving control of all New Orleans dock work to the newly formed Louisiana Construction and Improvement Corporation, a business headed by several of the lynch mob leaders. Italian waterfront merchants and workers, who had been making remarkable economic progress up to then, were thus eliminated as competitors. Left unpunished and essentially rewarded, people aligned with the mob mentality which murdered New Orleans’ Italian immigrants went on to continue lynching of immigrants in the state based on a lie.

Seven short years later in Wilmington, NC an entire govt changed hands.  Described by some in the parlance of the day as a race riot caused by the black citizens of Wilmington what happened in 1898 is also known by many as a violent overthrow of a duly elected government by a group of white supremacists much like the Jan6 insurrection.  It was fomented by lies and simmering white resentment at the political participation and coalition between African-Americans and white Southern Republicans in what was called a fusionist govt.  This agitation resulted in scores of innocent black citizens killed and the complete withdrawal and overthrow of a duly elected local government in Wilmington. 

These two historical examples point to the necessity of dealing with lies in a timely, concise, definitive way. Whataboutism and equivocation have no place in combating the political rhetoric used by Trump and his MAGA movement supporters.  WaPo gets it right when it called the increased number of Trump lies at the end of his term a “tsunami”.  Why are we waiting for a corresponding wave of violence to accompany it?

White American paternalism has been around for a very long time

How the Founding Fathers dealt with the issue of owning human has a lot to do with the politics of the Country since its founding to the modern era.

This WaPo article on the attempts of a living African-American to discover his family history is the bridge between American paternalism past and present. William England discovered his great grandmother was conceived by a slave who was impregnated by her owner, an Alabaman legislator who figured prominently in the antebellum South’s history. Ella Clay, England’s great grandmother was just another slave to her white father as far as the man who conceived her was concerned. England seemed to want to attribute some humanity to the father of his great grandmother by saying he allowed her to have her wedding in his house. Of course she went on to live a life of slavery and slavish subservience to white paternalism. Rape of enslaved women by white masters was common during the years of slavery. It was a way to staff the work force and increase the wealth of the rapist because the product of such violence was always deemed a slave and slaves were by far the biggest asset of plantation owners.

Nineteeenth century American white male paternalism resembles present day Right male paternalism in the way men of today interact with women and the human beings that interaction creates. The anti-abortion movement says women have no recourse, legal or otherwise in what happens to their bodies, regardless whether it is through rape or incest or physical threats to womens’ bodies while men who rape and ravish them go on living lives full of choices. These men have a choice whether to be responsible for their children or their sexual partners or completely abandon them a la Herschel Walker et co. and continue the commercialization of women’s bodies. Whereas genteel Southern men could copulate with women of color indiscriminately and dehumanize and enslave children from such a union 21st century Right males use women’s bodies for sexual pleasure and can absolve themselves of any responsibility to raise children, completely abandoning them to their sexual partners, the family of their partners or the State. These same Right males who bemoan the intrusion of the State in THEIR affairs don’t mind that the same state should take care of the human beings they leave behind. The right to rape women seems to be a common thread that runs in paternalism of the 19th through 21st century and women and the children they are forced to bear are the ones who suffer.

Finally this parting shot at southern culture and the myth of it being a righteous movement designed to advance a distinct, positive way of life of American life. Antebellum southern America resembles its MAGA successor in another key point and that is its adherence to myth and lies.  From the above mentioned article is this tidbit

Long after the war, the Clay family perpetuated a myth about life on Southern plantations. Virginia Clay — rumored to have had a long affair with Jefferson Davis — became a leader in the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the group that erected Confederate monuments across the South and idealized “The Lost Cause” in the early 20th century. Virginia’s memoir, “A Belle of the Fifties,” described the glittering social life she enjoyed before the end of slavery. The UDC promoted Virginia’s book across the country, helping create the perception that led to “Gone with the Wind” and generations of rosy pictures of a bygone Dixie.

The reliance on a lie and the immoral behavior of those who advance that lie seem to be another common data aspect antebellum southern white paternal America shares with MAGA Republican paternal of today’s America. Before, during and after American slavery the history of the country was steeped in death, the enslavement and disenfranchisement of people of color. Today’s right MAGA inspired movement seems to share similar goals of returning American culture to an antebellum paternalism.

Mass Murder at the hands of a 15 year old is becoming common in today’s America

When you hear the gun crowd say, ‘guns don’t kill people, people do’, kick them to the curb. Such bumper sloganeering has no place in a developed, mature democracy like America unless you want to bury your head in the sand and let the pandemic of mass murder continue. What took place in Raleigh, North Carolina where a 15 year old went on a rampage in his community and killed 5 people including his older brother may be new to Raleigh but it’s happened before and that’s the problem.

Mitchell Johnson, 13 and Andrew Golden, 11

Back in 1998 two boys down in Arkansa killed five people in their school when those two were 11 & 13 years old. Yeah….an eleven year old child along with his thirteen year old buddy killed four students and a teacher. Their names were Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden. They had nine firearms and 2,000 rounds of ammunition. Luckily none of their weapons were semi automatic rifles. Imagine the death toll they could’ve inflicted as they lay in ambush as students and staff filed out into the open. Remember this; they were just 11 & 13 years old. Let that sink in for a minute………………….In the state where they lived, they were tried as juveniles and released when they reached 21 years old. Moving on to the present where,

in Raleigh, Austin Thompson 15 years old walked around his neighborhood for several hours killing people at random. He was described by eyewitnesses as between 13-16 years of age, small, very young. One has to wonder whether his victims who when they first laid eyes on him saw the same small statured boy described by 911 callers whose appearance made them stifle their flight response to danger just long enough for him to kill them. Torres, one of the shooter’s victims, was a police officer on his way to work. Eventually the boy was taken into custody and whisked to the hospital with bullet wounds to the head and body. It’s unclear whether he attempted to kill himself or was shot by police.

Victims of Raleigh, NC mass shooting from top left: JAMES THOMPSON, 16, MARY BETH MARSHALL, 34, SUSAN KARNATZ, 49,GABRIEL JESÚS TORRES, 29, and NICOLE CONNORS, 53,

There’s no mention in published reports about the boy’s parents who rightfully deserve attention if for no other reason than whether there were firearms in the home. It’s also unclear what type and how many weapons the boy used in his murder spree but I certainly hope a 15 year old boy living a suburban life with parents couldn’t go out and get weapons from the streets. Maybe that IS possible but for now the parents have a responsibility to monitor, influence and correct the behavior of their children for it’s the parent people usually go to to inform and ask about why children behave the way they do. Unfortunately it’s too late for corrective action on the part of the parent. That now is the responsibility of the State. So, that said, Mr. and Mrs Thompson why did your boy have access to guns and go out and kill five people including your other son? It’s a reasonable two part question to ask parents of juvenile murderers. What was going on with your child emotionally, mentally, psychologically and where and how did they get hold of firearms.

People with guns kill people and as the lethality and rapidity of firearms becomes more potent who has access to these weapons of death should become a priority of the State. Yes, it must be regulated by the State because as much as 2nd Amendment people want to complain about infringement and regulation it is also the responsibility of lawmakers to insure the safety of the citizens of the state. Common sense gun legislation is the key . Parents with juvenile children in the house should not have firearms within the reach of immature children and when those children get ahold of their parents’ weapons and commit acts of violence parents should pay the price for their parental neglect. As of this writing there are over 500 acts of mass shootings commited by people with firearms in America. If that doesn’t bother you perhaps you don’t belong in a structured lawful society.

Herschel Walker is not your typical black man living in America

Donald Trump and Herschel Walker together during their time with the New Jersey Generals

Maybe it has something to do with the fact he sits on the right hand of a benefactor who’s determined to see him take a job he’s not even remotely qualified for. It might have something to do with the fact Walker so closely mirrors the foibles, mistakes, the criminal behavior and incessant lying of Trump. That must be the only reason he still has viability as a senatorial candidate. Usually, people don’t get away with the things Walker has done like assaulting women, lying about his resume, or even worse lying about children he has fathered or ignored and all on a public stage but certainly not black men. Yet there are people in authority who consider him legitimate and a viable candidate for the job of US Senate.

For the entirety of his public life, Walker has been a tool used by rich powerful men and institutions for purposes that solely benefited them. He has been given opportunities that most never have. That fact doesn’t bother those who’ve used him; they are perfectly fine with that. In fact, they line up to use him for their own purposes when their predecessors are finished with him. So after being used by the University of Georgia, he was picked up by a nascent football league commandeered by Donald Trump to compete with the NFL. Now, he’s being used by Trump again who once owned the team Walker played for to disrupt the Republican Party to fashion it in his, Trump’s, image.

Walker’s professional life may have been marked with some successes but his personal, private life is a hot mess. He’s assaulted multiple women, including his ex-wife and lied about his paternity of children, now up to four from four different women. He’s lied about his career resume, saying at one time he got his degree from UGA to managing hospitals, all proven lies. Yet he still is in the running against Raphael Warnock and there’s really only one reason why. He is a tool for the only president in American history to be twice impeached and who is currently under investigation for a host of crimes.

Walker is being used by Trump, for the moment to redesign, reshape the Republican Party in his image to become the party of American fascism. There are all sorts of groups that will fall under that umbrella, from the virulently racists KKK, to the corporate elites who see America as a limitless supply of cheap labor class who will struggle to buy whatever consumer goods branded with enticing names. (Remember Trump steaks?) All this is being driven by a man with an ego the size of America who is presently being investigated for crimes ranging from tax evasion up to possible espionage and who has never been held accountable for what he’s done in his past.

Trump has enlisted the right man for the job of further lowering American standards and degrading the electoral process. Walker is uneducated in general and uninitiated in the political sabotage that’s swirling around him at the moment. He’s too stupid to see that whether he succeeds or fails is entirely irrelevant. For now he’s a political balloon being floated before the American electorate to see America’s tolerance for corruption. It appears the tolerance level for it is quite high. Trump’s candidacy proved America will tolerate criminal behavior if it comes from a perspective that scratches the nativist white itch of the country. Walker however is different than Trump because he’s a scary black man with imagery that instinctively frightens white America. He’s fathered (raped) children with white women and not taken care of them (The women and his children have said this) and he’s seeking to gain admission into a club, the halls of power, that he’s not at all qualified for. That these were once excuses to deny African-Americans access to jobs and privileges in America is being totally ignored by white Republicans who insist the only thing that matters is reaching a “number” in the Senate that can give them power. Even the idea that Walker be that number reminds one of a time when white people detested the idea that the work force reflect a certain “number” of candidates. However all the objections of the past about African-American perceived behavior are thrown out the window with Walker.

Lindsay Graham back during the 2016 campaign season said if the Republican party embraced Trump it would be the end of the party. The GOP has seen a steady decline in the relevancy it might have once held in American politics because of Trump. His promoting Walker’s imploding campaign is one more nail in the GOP’s coffin . Walker has led a life that is inconsistent with the pro-life and being connected to family “values” of the Party. The same could be said about Donald Trump but Walker cannot get away with the deception of Trump because Walker is black. The real issue is, however, no matter how glaring his sins are he should not get away with them because they are wrong and inconsistent with the tenets of a decent society that’s based on equitably applied standards. Walker still remains a candidate for Senate and will likely get a substantial number of votes. The fact that he is still in the race and still has the support of powerful white people is proof positive he is not your typical black man living in America.

Political lies should no longer be accepted in American politics

….because in today’s America they lead to bigger and worse things, bordering on sedition and insurrection.

America was groomed to accept the big lie with Trump’s candidacy.  Even before he announced it he lied about his wealth, his business acumen, his charity, his affection for America and her institutions.  At that time we were delicate with him and either overlooked his “misstatements” or “hyperbole” or excused it as something akin to “locker room talk”.  After all we all have told a ‘white lie’ or two to get ahead in one way or another.

Unfortunately, left unchecked locker room talk ballooned into something that threatened our democracy such that by the time Trump left office the number of white lies, political misstatements and hyperbole was an astronomical thirty thousand plus. Maybe one of the reasons they were so large in number is because America equivocated.  We were timid in calling Trump out for his lies.  Most if not all of them could’ve been easily fleshed out, discovered to be lies, exposed.  At one point during the Trump administration fact checking became a thing because he told lies so frequently it left people scratching their heads wondering where were they all coming from.  Some of them were comical, like the one where he said his inauguration was the largest with the most people attending of any other presidential inauguration. One look at that day would have you asking what alternate universe Trump lived in that made him say the things he said. I mean really?  The largest attendance of any inauguration? Really?

Trump arrives in his limousine to the inaugural parade reviewing stand.

There were other lies Trump told that were designed to inflame public passion such as his statement offered by him and others in the GOP that terrorists from the Middle East, i.e. Muslims infiltrated America via the ‘southern border’.  This lie was addressed by Trump’s own State Department which concluded  ” there’s no credible evidence of terrorists entering the United States through the Mexican border”.  This was not difficult to discern yet Trump asserted it eight different times during his presidency and each time people believed it while those who didn’t rarely if ever called him out for it.

There were more seditious lies Trump advanced like the lie the 2020  elections were rigged. He has repeatedly made that lie at least 76 times even though he knows it is not true and he has been told almost as many times that it’s not true. Trump and his allies even went so far as to file dozens of lawsuits in six swing states, but virtually all of his claims were rejected for lack of evidence or standing, often by judges appointed by Trump.  An insurrection was carried out by thousands who believed otherwise.  Unfortunately by that time it was too late to call Trump a liar when we had accepted so many of his lies before.

Twitter Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene for Posting Coronavirus Misinformation

I wish we had made a good enough example of Trump to make others shy away from using lies for political gain but far too many in the GOP have taken Trump’s path to political ascendancy, like Marjorie Taylor Green.  I remember before even taking her oath for  office and while she waited in her DC area hotel Green was lying about gym facilities being closed.  She attributed that to a bad public health Covid policy regarding social distancing and thus began grievance politics the GOP uses that must always be accompanied with lies.  Everyone must have rolled their eyes reading this up and coming Republican lying about something demonstrably untrue that could be easily verfied as untrue.  In fact, many people who read her tweet in December 2019 made it a point to tell her she was lying as did I, but that didn’t stop her and neither did Twitter’s suspension of her account. 

Fortunately for America, Congress has been in the hands of mature, responsible public servants who quickly removed her from any position in the House. For a brief period she was relegated in Congress to………nothing but the midterms call and Republicans eager to regain control of Congress have resorted to the strategy that gave them results in 2016….fear and lies and people like Green with the proven talent to do both well have been put into service.

Post Trump administration political campaigns have taken on an edge that resembles the vitriol of their namesake, Trump. They are full of arrogance, rebellion, disdain for the American political process and of course more than a healthy dose of lies. After January 6 those lies can and have led to violence and death and Green’s latest lie that Democrats want to kill Republicans is designed to lead to just this inevitability. The basis for her latest lie is easily shown as baseless yet it reveals how Republicans have become dependent on lies they hope will have a large impact on their political plans. Suggesting Democrats are out to kill Republicans is meant to suggest the only response to be made is a response in kind to something that never happened. Therein lies the threat to American democracy a baseless lie designed to prompt civil unrest and possibly civil war, or said another way, a continuation of the Jan6 insurrection, which was also started based on Trump’s election fraud lie. Because Republicans think such tactics increase their chance of taking back power there will be no voices of restraint or condemnation from them. In the absence of being held accountable for their lies by society and because Republicans lack the discipline not to lie one can only expect they will only lie more prolifically and boldly as they try retaking Congress and the executive branch.

The lies told by Republicans are easily proven as lies; they are not part of some esoteric, conspiracy that can only be understood and debunked by a super computer that only governments control. Rather they are very easily and quickly discounted by picking up a newspaper, or going online and reading various sources that report on what government officials say. Americans aren’t willing to do that. Instead we are happy to be spoon fed lies and conspiracies by unscrupulous public servants and such reliance only increases the chances the American experiment will soon be over.