Should there be consequences for not telling the truth? Has Trump, through repetition of obvious untruths – “there was no quid pro quo”, “the fake whistleblower lied” – numbed his base into accepting falsehoods, rendering truth null and void?
Do you find it shocking? That not one Republican has turned on Trump (like in the Nixon era) despite his shenanigans? Oh man, I thought the end was near last week when Ambassador Sondland testified, questioning-and-answering himself, “Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.” O-M-G! “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.” Wow! It’s finally over, I thought. The jig is up.
But no. Republicans hammered at Sondland all afternoon, getting him to admit to the word “presumption”.
The biggest mystery to me? The reason I watch this tumultuous train-wreck that refuses to derail? I keep trying to figure out why. Why does ANYONE still support this dangerous man (with the codes to the nukes) who does and says vile things ALL THE TIME IN PLAIN SIGHT?
In an effort to understand, I’ve read several books on Trump, one of them by Steven Hassan, The Cult of Trump. Some think it’s too much, to suggest Trumpism is a cult. But if you view the current situation in America with an open mind, if you follow credible news sources (the ones Trump calls the “enemy of the people”, “lamestream” and “fake news”) and stay away from extreme propaganda machines Trump follows, like Breitbart and Fox (it’s labeled “right” bias and factually “mixed” due to poor sourcing, the spread of conspiracy theories, yet reliability of straight news) it’s hard to understand the Trump phenomenon in any other way.
Would you agree Trump – “the stable genius” (his own words) – is narcissistic? To be sure, narcissism, in and of itself, is not bad. A good dollop of narcissism is, and has often been, found in world leaders. It’s the over-the-top kind of narcissism Trump exhibits that is truly frightening. Example: going on and on about himself in his father’s eulogy, to the point mourners understood the best thing about Fred Trump’s life? The production of The Donald. In short, he lacks empathy. By the way, so do psychopaths.
From blogs.psychcentral.com, some cult leader traits that match Trump’s leadership style:
*acts larger than life
*subjugates cult members’ rights for “good” of group even if self-destructive– Note Sondland’s words “everyone was in the loop”. Also, it appears the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, is facing an ethics probe into his role in the Ukraine scandal.
*us vs. them approach– Trump calls Democrats, a valid US political party “Do Nothing Dems”, “un-American”, “treasonous”
*questioning and dissent are not tolerated– Those who participated in the hearings? Labelled “Never Trumpers”.
*closeness to leader rewarded, distance punished– Those who participated in the hearings? “I don’t know (Ambassador Sondland) well,” Trump says, despite appointing him and receiving a $1 million donation from him.
*“lies are repeated so often they seem true” I mean, O-M-G!
*“cult leaders enrich themselves at members’ expense” Ukraine scandal anyone?
*“communication is coercive or deceptive” An actual quote from President Trump: “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Say what???
*“sameness is encouraged” T-shirts/hats at rallies. And those chants: “Build the wall!” “Lock her up!”
Another thing I’ve noticed? Whenever Trump and his allies are labeled anything due to bad behaviour – racists, conspiracy theorists, corrupt – they flip it. “You’re the racist!” It’s mind-boggling and mind-bending.
I found Trump’s treatment of Marie Yovanovitch, particularly awful. A 33-year veteran of foreign service, who has been literally under fire in her job working for America – Democrat and Republican presidents – and Trump blanket-labeled her “bad news”. No proof, no detail. While on a recent ridiculous Fox news rant (53 minutes!) he offered a reason, said she wouldn’t hang his picture in the embassy. Yovanovitch’s legal team says photos were mounted “as soon as they arrived from Washington, DC.”
Who do you believe?
Ah, truth. It matters to me! I was raised on it. Trump? His father apparently raised him on these mantras: “You are a king.” “You are a killer.” Ain’t that the truth? Guess Fred got the eulogy he deserved, huh?
Are you old enough to remember the game show Truth or Consequences? It was hosted by Bob Barker when I was nine, watching it in black and white, upside-down, practicing headstands on our cowboy motif basement couch in Chatham, Ontario. Barker would sign off, “Hoping all your consequences are happy ones . . .”
If you try to be kind and mostly tell the truth – I was pretty old by the time I could master and parse white lies – your consequences should be happy. But if you’re unkind? Lie like breathing? How do you continue, time and again, to get happy consequences?