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.