By BILL WATANABE
When as a boy attending Sunday school at my Christian church, I was taught to tell the truth. One of the Ten Commandments in the Bible specifically forbids telling lies, so God must think it is pretty important. I also remember how my elementary school teachers told stories about Honest Abe Lincoln and George Washington chopping down the cherry tree.
And yet in our society, telling lies seems to be running rampant and the lies seem to be getting bigger and more outrageous. The Internet has helped to spread so many lies far and wide while at the same time, sources of truth, science, empirical data, and verifiable facts are being castigated as “false” or “fake” and not to be trusted.
I can’t help but wonder what long-term effects this may have for our future generations. Who can be trusted?
The Nazis were experts in propagating “the big lie” and convincing millions of their citizens to believe that the Jews were the main source of the nation’s problems so that the good people of Germany looked the other way while millions of their Jewish neighbors and friends were being murdered. The Nazis showed it to be true that if you keep repeating a lie, no matter how big the lie, people will start to believe the lie and will promote the lie themselves.
Donald Trump is also an expert in the big lie and getting millions of people to believe the big lie and be totally committed to the lie and spreading it to others as the “truth.”
It is fairly evident from past behavior that Trump is a pathological liar – he lies about almost everything. Here are a few of his big lies over the years:
• For years Trump pushed the lie that Barack Obama was not an American citizen – a falsehood Trump abandoned when he decided to run for president.
• He bragged about the size of his inauguration crowd, which was an easily verifiable lie through comparative photographs.
• He said COVID-19 was “a hoax” and that it was “under control” and it would “magically just disappear,” which he knew was a lie when talking on tape to Bob Woodward.
• He said he had a national health plan to replace Obamacare, which would be “coming out in two weeks,” and months later, “coming out in two weeks,” and years later, “coming out in two weeks,” which was a lie because it never came out during his four years in office.
• He said he would build a border wall and “it will be so easy and Mexico will pay for it,” which was a lie. Mexico didn’t contribute a single peso.
But the really “big lie” by Trump was claiming he actually won the election in November 2020 but was pushed out of office due to mass election fraud. Trump claimed prior to the 2016 election that if he lost it could only be due to election fraud – planting the lie before it even happened.
The 2020 election results were certified by all 50 states; some states held recounts and Georgia even did two recounts of the ballots, but no systemic election fraud was found. After the election, the Trump legal team lost 60 out of 61 lawsuits regarding massive election fraud because they could not produce any legal evidence of fraudulent activity.
And yet, so many millions of Americans have bought into this monstrous lie and believe it to be true. These American citizens are not able to support the current administration’s efforts to serve the nation. This of course weakens the effectiveness of our government and impacts our entire democratic structure, which in large part operates on a basic (although not blind) trust in the system, a trust in science and empirical data, belief in honest sources of information, which in turn can create a sense of unity as citizens of one nation.
Putting trust in a pathological liar would seem to be an obviously poor choice – why so many people would do so is hard to comprehend.
Bill Watanabe writes from Silverlake near downtown Los Angeles and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.