So, Somebody’s Lying
Terry H. Schwadron
Jan. 15, 2018
What we face in our government is nothing less than colliding realities.
It’s no wonder that people turn off from interest in politics, government and policy-making.
Simply put: Accepting reality — facts, if you will — is a necessity for governing, regardless of political point of view. How else do you know what problem you’re trying to fix? If you want to argue about what to do about Problem X, be my guest, but let’s show a mental ability to accept some reality about what’s wrong.
We are reaching the point, if we have not already achieved it, where you cannot believe almost any government statement about what has just happened. I’m not talking about opinion, here, or even “spin,” in which one party or another puts his or her own frame on what has occurred.
This is beyond “alternative facts.”
Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Alabama and David Purdue of Georgia, who had said publicly that the did not recall that President Donald Trump asked about why we are allowing immigrants form “shithole” countries, now are saying that Sen. David Durbin (D-Ill) who confirmed the comments was making it up — for political gain. So too with Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham, (R-SC), who found elliptical language to confirm that he had called out the president for using vulgar language to disparage whole nations by race. Indeed, the president himself last night repeated his own denial that he had made the comment, citing the two senators who had defended him, adding that he is not a racist.
What? Durbin and Graham made it up? Not hardly. And no one outside of Trump defenders believe it.
Neither do world leaders, particularly in the countries designated as shitholes.
Let’s face it: Someone in this story is a bald-faced liar. On whom would you bet for the truth? If he didn’t say it, why would the White House and Trump himself be tweeting about having used “strong language” about those countries of origin?
On top of all else, Trump was showing that he clumps people together by national origin, however inartfully he expressed himself, reversing himself on the face of it by looking at nation of origin rather than individual skills, the alleged point of his immigration proposals.
That the president harbors racist feelings remains incontrovertible, given decades of actions and words that have been well documented. That he lacks control over his impulses to blurt out statements that he does not want to defend is without question. That Republican leadership is quiescent and weak in challenging the president is beyond unfortunate.
But for senators to accuse one another of lying about what happened? That’s where we have real problems — the inability of these guys to grasp what is real.
How do they deal with any problem if they deny reality? That’s why we have problems deciding not on policy, but whether “Climate Change” is real. That’s why we insist this week on legislation to put Medicare recipients to work when they do work.
The talking heads this weekend were full of spin about how the politics should work to put warring parties together sufficiently to pass some kind of law to rectify the president’s own launch of proceedings last September to expel 800.000 Dreamers, those brought into the country without documentation registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act.
But even there, the discussion does not take into account a ruling by a federal judge this week ordering the Trump administration to resume DACA. Among other things, the judge had no problem recognizing reality, citing Trump’s own tweets as evidence for finding evidence for continuation of the program.
On the same day, Trump disputed a taped (his and theirs) interview in which Trump rather startlingly told the Wall Street Journal that he and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un probably have a good relationship, days later said he said “I’d” rather than “I,” as if that had a significant difference.
Trump regularly trips over his previous statements on the same issues. This week, in answer to a reporter’s question, Trump said he would find it unlikely that he would participate in any interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller III after having said the opposite in previous questions about the matter. His statement: There was no Russian collusion with his campaign, therefore there would be nothing to talk about. Trump conveniently is overlooking that there were elements of collusion and cooperation, that the interview is most likely to focus on obstruction of justice rather than “collusion,” and that the special counsel is looking into financial dealings by the Trump family business.
Last week, after Trump sent out contradictory tweets about a pending congressional renewal of authorization for surveillance of foreign nationals, reporters asked about the confusion. The White House response, via Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was that there had been no confusion, just unintelligent reporters.
This one is simple: If you say it, own it. Defend it or say it was said in error or double-down on the sentiment at hand. But denial — and getting your followers to deny to protect you — that runs counter to any reality that the rest of us live in.
This habit has nothing to do with mental stability or political deal-making or party loyalty. It is about an ego-manical person who has no sense of what is real.
Unfortunately, that is not a disqualification for office.