You can’t make this stuff up

During my recent two-month stay in Chicago, I rarely watched television news. Normally, I am a news junkie. I constantly watch MSNBC, CNN, FOX, C-Span, BBC and other network or cable news programs. I also review print news and online stories on a daily basis.

Well, now that I am back home, I have resumed my news viewing and reading habits. The coverage is almost always focused on our national and state politics. Looking at it with fresh eyes, the main thing I’ve concluded is that you can’t make this stuff up.

It doesn’t matter to me whether you are Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, Libertarian, Independent, right, left, or a political agnostic. Since, as I have observed in many previous columns, electoral politics eventually play out as public policy, and public policy affects us all, we need to pay attention.

Already, I have grown weary of news of President Trump’s alleged sexual misdeeds with what looks like an aging adult film actress named Stormy Daniels. My goodness, the woman looks as though she sweats Botox.

Enter former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the new legal spokesperson for Trump. One of his first acts was to spill the beans on a Trump payment of $130,000 to Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election. According to Giuliani, the money was funneled through a law firm as hush money intended to prevent Daniels from damaging Trump’s POTUS chances. Did you make that up, Mr. Giuliani?

As it turns out, the lawyer at the firm, Michael Cohen, handled a $700,000 slush fund (hush fund?) presumably provided as hush money for other women with whom Trump had illicit contact. That’s a lot of money, and we can only assume that it was meant to hush up a lot of women. I asked myself, aren’t these women prostitutes? And, if they are, isn’t prostitution illegal in nearly all 50 states?

I tell you, you can’t make this stuff up. Trump loyalists claim his alleged misdeeds are of no consequence. After all, don’t men routinely cheat on their wives? And don’t they routinely lie about it? The main difference with President Trump, of course, is that he is the leader of the free world, and that every word he says has consequences far beyond those of mortal men. Is the first lady now the second, third, fourth, and on and on? What does it matter if we call ourselves a Christian nation?

As to Trump’s lies, people who keep track of such things say he has told more than 3,000 since his inauguration in January 2017. Now, if a person is a liar, what it means, among other things that run to character, is that their word cannot be trusted.

As a result, the pundits say Trump’s lies have cost America its standing in the world. Our allies don’t seem to be quite sure we will stick with them. Our enemies don’t believe we will do what we say.

Trump’s habit of lying has nearly everyone guessing, including the media and private citizens. It’s awkward, to say the least.

So, whether you’re pro-Trump, anti-Trump, dump-Trump, or don’t care-Trump, if you can’t trust the president of the United States to tell the truth, it becomes difficult for you to trust the powerful institutions he commands. As I suggested earlier, collectively, these institutions affect your daily bread.

This pathological lying and consequent lack of trust has caused many to conclude that we are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. What happens when a loose lipped, thin-skinned, tweeting president attacks the judiciary and law enforcement? What happens when such a man places himself above the law? What happens when a president apparently values loyalty to himself over love of country?

Although I value each citizen’s right to vote his or her conscience, conscience, I think, should be rooted in deeper values grounded in universal truths. Hopefully, voters will be wise in their choices.

In the meantime, from what I’ve witnessed in the news, that may not be the case. Instead, what we may see is the continuation of a Barnum and Bailey government, rooted almost entirely in the personal interests and satisfactions of those who run it. In our brand of democracy, that’s dangerous. And I didn’t make this stuff up.

Have a nice day.

This article provided by NewsEdge.