Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trump and the truth: mere acquaintances

In the second GOP debate Trump bloviated about the horror of pumping numerous vaccines through a needle "that looks like something for a horse" (I paraphrased from memory) into a "beautiful little baby". He went on to mutter darkly about people in his own campaign whose infant children had horrible reactions to the standard immunization routine.

Emotionally compelling, perhaps. But factual? I doubt it. The thing is, we can't tell because nobody calls The Donald on such gibberings and demands that he back up his offhanded assertions with evidence. His supporters obviously don't care, but neither his opponents nor the media seem to give much of a damn, either, when he pulls airy nothings and unsubstantiated anecdotes out of his ass.

We all know he's a bully. He prides himself on being one, and enjoys our outrage at his pride. But not enough of us are angry that he gets away with saying stuff that isn't true.

I don't expect that I'll agree with a national GOP candidate on most issues for the rest of my life, but I'll at least respect that candidate if he or she talks about the world as it is, not as it looks in paranoid nightmares. (Incidentally, on vaccines, it's the science-deniers on the left who are the biggest problem.)

But even the low bar of respectful disagreement is too high for the vast majority of the GOP's presidential candidates. Only John Kasich seems to be consistently willing to talk about the real world, rather than pandering to the far right's angry delusions. And Trump picks up from the frayed edge of where the other GOP candidates leave off stretching the truth.

This business of the country becoming more anti-intellectual as time goes on has got to stop. The stupid, to borrow Matt Taibbi's term, has got to be rejected firmly at every turn. We can start by branding Trump what he is: a serial liar.

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