26 July 2020

Mugged by Reality

On Friday, the New York Times published an excellent piece (link here) with the title "‘Mugged by Reality,’ Trump Finds Denial Won’t Stop the Pandemic."

Donald Trump's natural instinct is to lie, to twist, to obfuscate, to distort, to deceive, and more. He lies habitually and excessively. It's like he can't help himself from doing so.

As a businessman, he lied all the time. Sometimes that got him into trouble but more often it did not.

As a late-blooming politician, he lied endlessly on the campaign trail, more than any prominent candidate in American history. As President, he has lied more than 20,000 times, as recently documented by the Washington Post (details here). No past President comes close to touching such a record.

When the media documented those lies and sometimes called him on it, he just steamrolled on, pretending it didn't happen. His core supporters were so enthralled by him that they believed his lies and screeched "fake news" when the media reported the truth.

Lying was a trick that worked Trump's whole life. It doesn't work with a pandemic, however.

For the majority of Americans who already knew Trump was a serial liar, his constant lies about the coronavirus have only made them angrier and more frustrated at stillborn and tepid solutions to the crisis.

For the minority of Americans who still believe Trump, their blind faith has become a fatal mistake. He mocked social distancing, shutting down the economy, wearing masks, and more. They mocked such practices, too, and tried to pretend the pandemic didn't exist. And as we can now see with soaring infection and death rates in so-called red states, that blind belief has become deadly.

"He needed to be the pandemic President. Instead he became a pandemic denier," says a medical doctor quoted in the Times article linked first above. "Unfortunately, when a President refuses to accept scientific reality... his words and actions are emulated by large numbers of Americans who then dismiss the seriousness of the pandemic with predictable disastrous consequences."

Even now, with Trump somewhat more sober and honest about the pandemic crisis, he's still lying a good deal of the time. He hasn't stopped lying; he's just lying and dissembling a little less.

And the Covid-19 pandemic still will get much worse before it gets better. The summer/autumn surge is looking like it will be a lot worse than the spring surge.

This is why we need a new President elected on November 3. Trump will never stop lying. We need a President who will tell us the truth, who will see the problem for what it is, not what he wishes it would be. Only then can real solutions be developed and have any chance of lasting success.

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