This summer, Madison County Sheriff John D. Lakin appeared at a democratic rally in Alton. He seemed direct and empathetic. He told the crowd to call him personally—personally—should the need arise. When deputies refused to charge a man for punching my car’s hood at the Nature Institute, I remembered the invitation and I called my Sheriff. Tried to call. Subordinates asked, why do you need him? I was put on long holds. I was reconnected with the deputy substation in Godfrey. John D. Lakin, it seems, was just kidding. For whom does he work? And that’s just a local lie.
This morning, a gleaming and triumphant Congressman Paul Ryan appeared on camera. We won! When asked by “The Today Show,” what about all those billionaire CEOs who said the tax plan is crazy, Ryan shrugged. He said the CEOs didn’t read the literature. When asked to comment on billionaire Republican Mike Bloomberg’s op-ed piece denouncing the tax plan, Ryan said Mike doesn’t get it. When asked about a huge majority of American voters opposing the plan, Ryan talked down like a school superintendent to his district teachers: I know something you don’t know. No, he doesn’t. He is a comfortable liar. Mrs. Ryan, take note.
A few years ago, beloved democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, on his way to a tryst with Mary Jo Kopechne, accidentally crashed his car on a bridge and let the woman drown. He did manage to make it to shore, to tell a lie, to pay no price for killing a ‘nobody,’ because he was needed in the Senate, to be a voice for Progressive policies, to be revered for his courage at overcoming cancer, and to die with honor and accolades.
Lying to one’s self is a category of lying. A lot of priests and preachers and self-proclaimed evangelicals denounce the ‘sin’ of homosexuality then are found with underage boys in motel rooms. Bigoted cake bakers call themselves artists so that they can refuse to serve gay and lesbian and transsexual people. You just know what those people would have done to black people a few years back. All in the name of God. Not all in the name of you or me, because we would quickly deny them their excuse. But patriarchal God, Zen master that he is, keeps his mouth shut while his flawed constituency spouts bigotry and hatred.
Now, facts are lies because Bannon, Trump et al, relying on uneducated, unwashed white zealots, have not heeded the wisdom of George Orwell’s “1984” (originally titled “1948” until the publisher got cold feet) and invented a whole new reality. The truth is bigotry crowd got their start with rightwing windbag, Catholic and ‘Jesus is a White Man’ proclaimer Pat Buchanan. My father nearly shit himself with joy when he found a TV outlet for his hate, in Pat B. and his sister Bay. Hate became legit.
Patriotism, jingoism, nationalism: these are the ‘last refuge of a scoundrel,’ essential to slavery, Manifest Destiny, mass slaughter. A few notable scoundrels: Andrew Jackson, George Rogers Clark, Henry Kissinger, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Blackwater Inc., the KKK, Idi Amin, Augusto Pinochet, Father Charles Coughlin, Pat Robertson, The Crusades. The current nutjob sycophants: Sara Palin, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachman, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Trumps, Kennedys, Bush’s. The list is endless.
Now we find we can’t even trust the people we vote for. We have endured a year of selfish, lying, hypocritical, rich sons of bitches who give not a flying fig for what Steven Colbert snidely calls ‘ordinary people.’
My fellow ordinary people: what are we going to do? A lot of people my age say they don’t really care—they won’t be here for the coming chaos. They won’t? So, their grandchildren aren’t their responsibility?
Excuse me while I touch the lie.