Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Tim. He wrote it out of an abundance of frustration with loved ones, and those he does not personally know, who continue in their blind devotion to Donald J. Trump. Tim presents his argument as to why people should not be supporting Trump. Disclaimer: I did not ask Tim to write this, nor advise him on the writing of this essay.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ―
As a historian and especially an historian of constitutionalism, I am just so sick of the lying and false narratives being created by this administration. I am equally sick and tired of the millions of minions across the United States of America who cultishly believe and pass on the deceit in their public discussions and social media diatribes. It is no longer a matter of trivial importance; it is now a matter of life or death for individuals and for the well-being of the entire nation. It is a lack of manifesting anything in the republican sense of government and leadership our Founders espoused.
It started out as ridiculous personal boasting about crowd size and the size of other things. Of course, people have told me that such was not very important and just normal human nature. I replied at the time that such was only the tip of the iceberg. As the good book points out, lying is not a sometimes thing; it leads to death (Proverbs 21:6; and you might want to check out the kind of person that’s being spoken of there – a person who builds his wealth deceitfully perhaps?).
Ah, the president does not lie, many proclaim.
Well, let’s see.
Take two of the president’s major domestic policies: health care and trade. The president entered office promising that he would repeal and replace the allegedly unpopular health care system of the previous administration: it would be for “everybody” and it would be “a lot less expensive.” In fact, his quotation at the time to the Washington Post involved an appeal to the working poor: “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
Now, nearing the last of his term he personally and – definitely — not his party moved to do anything constructive on health care except to weaken and handicap the existing one. I have personally seen my company provided health coverage decline significantly unless I wanted to pay hundreds of dollars out of my own pocket per month. This resulted in the reality that, when my wife was referred to the local emergency room for suspected novel coronavirus infection, despite not having a test or treatment to give her, she was still charged over $2000. Just for the honor of being seen face-to-face! Additionally, one of the deadliest acts of this administration involving health issues was allowing the government’s Predict program specifically designed to look for infectious diseases to expire in the fall of 2019 just before such an infectious disease would emerge by year’s end.
On trade, this administration initiated a trade war on nearly all fronts and has, indeed, achieve slight benefits on revised trade deals with Canada and Mexico. Yet, billions of dollars have been lost in American income, especially in the agricultural sector, as a result. It is true that the administration and Congress provided some taxpayer relief to offset those losses. However, the damage in trade and communication between the US and China has left the US less prepared to cooperate and benefit form China’s dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Medical products that would have been vital to US testing and treating of the disease were not available because of the trade war.
Furthermore, there was and continues to be a lack of leadership on the part of the administration to envision, lead and direct US resources for the production and distribution of these desperately needed supplies. What does he do? First, he does implement emergency powers, but then he does not exercise that power for any meaningful coordination of the national resources to combat the threat. In fact, what he actually does is blame governors of states for their lying about their need or for being incompetent in their handling of the issue through locking down their states. Second, when a backlash occurred, he claimed an executive power constitutionally to do whatever he decided. But, when that clearly could not be substantiated by the Constitution itself, he turned it back on the governors. Yet, while leaving it up to the governors in his public addresses, he was at the same time tweeting condemnation for governors questioning national government help or keeping controls on public events, while tweeting equal praise on those in his support and willing to open up their territories.
Further damning as far as his deceit and lack of thoughtful leadership goes is his total lack of any deference given to history or science. In the major history written of the flu pandemic of 1918, The Great Influenza, there are clear patterns of stigmatizing the source (Spanish flu equates to Chinese virus) medical quackery (wearing looser shoes equates to taking a malaria drug or breathing exercises), and finally the push to back off of restricted business and social gathering (Georgia’s governor and the president now equates to a range of cities in 1918 – you might want to consult the National Geographic article about how late lockdowns and early lifting of restrictions turned out).
The most damning of all of the lying and deceit is the direct contradiction between the facts and the words of the president or of his spokespersons on substantive matters. These are in the dozens and certainly include the ‘great call’ he had with his Ukrainian counterpart. Stiff-arming a foreign leader with financial incentives to accomplish some foreign policy objective is certainly one thing that is an accepted part of diplomacy. Providing a threat of the withholding of Congressionally-authorized foreign aid in exchange for at least a declaration of an investigation into corruption against a political rival at home is not stiff-arming; it is a form of extortion, a violation of the law, and a gross misuse of executive authority: it is what a mob boss does.
Another example is the constant double-speak that goes back and forth between the president’s scientific advisers such as Dr. Fauci and the president or his spokespersons, which for some reason that is not clear Fauci is constantly willing to explain away. The latest gross dishonesty might prove harder to explain away, but it will only probably end up getting the source of the scientifically supportable opinion fired – you know, the whole reason the orange coiffed man is president – the damned ‘Apprentice’ show!
This Tuesday, the CDCP Director speculated a fear of his on how this fall might see a resurgence of Covid-19 at the same time as the onset of the flu season. This was in an interview with the Washington Post and it was picked up by other news organizations like CNN. The president’s response was to tweet that the quote was misconstrued and more of an example of his favorite ‘fake news’ claims against any media other than FOX. This ‘out of context’ claim was further supported the next day by the president’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who insisted her authority came form a discussion with Director Redfield himself. We know this is a lie because we have a tweet from Mr. Redfield in which he urges being safe and references the Washington Post article to his followers for further reading. If Mr. Redfield had felt he was misquoted on his position on the threat of the virus now and into the future, he would not have referred his twitter followers to the article, but he would have tweeted a correction with much haste and emphasis.
One final note on the FOX organization and its lack of integrity. There is evidence to indicate that, at the same time the talking heads on their shows were calling Covid fake news and a partisan ploy to attack the president, corporate executives were closing down offices, handing out work from home orders and otherwise requiring new procedures for social distancing and cleaning within company facilities: so much for genuine news reporting. This illustrates clearly how FOX is in the business of making money no different than the hucksters of miracle oils. Fake news does sell and it sells from the mouth of the current president at his rallies, at his news conferences, from his spokespeople, and from his favorite TV shows on FOX. The problem about these lies and disinformation is that they have such tragic consequences.
And, for all those Christians who hail him ‘a messiah:’ the father of lies is not God; it’s Satan. Did you ever consider that MAGA is really similar to Magog? You evangelical believers in a literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation maybe should pause on that one.
Tim Zacharias is an educator and historian and a registered Independent. He is the son of Wycliffe Missionaries and grew up in the jungles of Ecuador. He’s an avid sports fan and has coached nearly every sport, but basketball is his one true love.