Logically Distorting “Truth” To Maintain the GOP’s Pretenses

The Trumpian onslaught on truth continues daily.  “Shit” continues to make headlines and the efforts to deny the obvious on this issue has reached the comical proportion.  It makes me think of a skit I’d like to see, two partisan groups fiercely arguing over whether or not “the emperor has no clothes on” while the emperor himself, stark naked and perhaps, “playing with ‘himself’”, is leading the panel discussion.  What a distorted sense of reality we are creating for our little children, some of whom are only now coming “on-line” in this new world of theirs and learning how to define reality.  Matters of the distinction between “shit-house” and “shit-hole” should not be part of the verbal soup they are beginning to make sense of.

Sarah Sanders Huckabee again did her part in this madness yesterday, dutifully “strutting and fretting her hour on the stage” in the role she has signed onto—trying to make a “silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”  Addressing the obvious racism accusation against Trump demonstrated by the “shit” meeting she casually explained that Trump could not be a racist, given that NBC gave him a highly-rated tv show for a decade and would not have done so if he had been a racist.  And, today she knows on some level what a ridiculous argument that was to make but acknowledgement of the mistake in logic is not permitted in the dark hole in which she lives where no wrong can be acknowledged.

The sad part of this drama is that again today Republican leaders will passively sit by and not attempt to intervene with Trump.  They are trapped by choices they have made and are now in too deep to escape, having foregone the moral faculty which would allow them to choose the welfare of the whole over the welfare of their party.  The literal destruction of the world is possible and they allow their hands to be tied rather than simply acknowledge, “Oh boy did we screw up!  Let’s swallow our pride and focus on addressing a tragedy in the making.” Again today, the whole world…including you and I…have an opportunity to watch this tragedy and recall the wisdom of W. H. Auden, “We wage the war we are.”

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The S–T is Still Hitting the Fan Over S–t!!!

Forgive me, but I’m going to talk vulgar here again and do so deliberately just to make my point.  Trump has put so much vulgarity on our table in the last couple of years.  I’m sure many parents have had to answer their young children’s questions at the morning breakfast table, “Momma, what is pussy?,” or, “Momma, what is a cunt” or, “What is a son-of-a-bitch?”  But now, the few mornings children are asking their parents, “Momma, what is a shit-hole?”  And for some Christian parents who voted for Trump, with the assurance that, “The Lord has raised him up,” surely threatened their kids with, “I’ll wash your mouth out with soap if you say that again.”  Hypocrisy is really hard to recognize if “humble” is bred into your cultural bones, meaning there is nothing “humble” about it.

I spent the first ten years of my life in “shit-hole” country of rural, backwoods Arkansas in the 1950’s.  And by this term here I am not denigrating the state that I still love but am referring to the culture in which outdoor toilets, i.e. “privies”, were still used by some.  Any my family belonged to that population that did not have indoor plumbing until about 1960, having only one of those “privies” down a path near the garden.  As a comedian familiar with this culture once noted about his childhood, “We described our house to a realtor as, ‘Three bedrooms and a path,” rather than, “Three bedrooms and a bath.”

But now I must get very serious about this subject, given a meeting in the White House last week on the subject of immigration in which this issue arose.  There IS a difference between a “shit-hole” and a “shit-house” and anyone with one eye and half-sense should know this!  A “shit-house” is a clap-trap small building in which you take care of your “bodily necessities” but a “shit-hole” was for those less fortunate who merely went to the periphery of the property and “did their business” in a hole in the ground.  Therefore, if I should be in a White House meeting and said “shit-hole” and was quoted as saying, “shit-house” I would be very upset and whoever misquoted me would be guilty of lying, would be nothing but a “lying scum-bucket.”  There is a difference, mind you!  Get your facts straight!

My sarcastic point is that now some of Trump’s sycophants are defending Trump, parsing his words, by insisting that they had not heart him say “shit hole” but “shit house.”  This gross dishonesty is taking place even as one conservative figure has now reported that Trump was calling people later in the evening of the event to see how this gross speech might play favorably with his base.

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“Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave When We Practice to Deceive”

Scott Peck in the mid-eighties wrote a best-selling book, “People of the Lie,” which explored extensively the subject of evil and how that it creates and perpetuates a web of deception.  In the last few days we have seen two more people demonstrate their willingness to follow along with the characterological dishonesty of Trump, blatantly lying with the firm confidence that their Republican Party is controlled by a willingness to follow along with dishonesty.  Specifically, two Senators, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of George after first merely equivocating on whether or not they head Trump describe several countries as “shit-hole countries” changed their story a day later and denied that Trump had said it at all.  Furthermore, Cotton and Perdue will have throngs of supporters who will readily trust their report over the growing swell of people who have, and are saying otherwise about what Trump said.

People like Trump, Cotton, Perdue and other GOP leaders are without excuse.  They deliberately lie merely to cover their own dishonesty and stay in power, knowing their rank-and-file followers will believe them.  These rank-and-file followers merely are guilty of the basic human frailty—believing only what they want to believe even in the face of clear evidence that suggests it is false.  This “human frailty” is common to us all and the only antidote if having the courage to let the light of some self-reflection penetrate the dark world that we live in by nature and begin to entertain questions like, “Hey, maybe there is another way of looking at this,” or, “Maybe I should not believe everything I think,” or, “Hey I can handle the internal tension of handling two contrary thoughts in my mind at one time.”

AFTERTHOUGHT

As I write I’m listening to the morning news, I’m learning further evidence of the intrinsic dishonesty that the Republicans are demonstrating.  It seems that those Republicans who are denying that Trump said this offense thing are basing their defense on debate over whether he said shit “hole” or shit “house.”  They apparently are believing that he said shit “house” and not shit “hole” and therefore are arguing that Trump is being falsely accused.  Incredible. Incredible. Incredible.  And so very sad and pathetic.

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Trump’s Denial System Running Amok

Trump is increasingly beset by reports from within and without the White House thats he is mentally unstable.  But, given my history in clinical practice, let me tell you how he is coping and that all of us cope in some fashion—simple denial.  Trump has at his disposal to anything critical the instantaneous response, “Fake news” and it always prevents any internal collapse because it really believes this.  Anything that he is exposed to that offends his self-perception he merely dismisses as being invalid and “fake news” is just his stock response.  He could merely rely on, “Ain’t so,” or, “I’m not, but you are,” or, “The Lord gives me reassurance when my enemies buffet me.”  It would be nice, and safer for the country, if he knew that he was lying but beneath the surface of his denial he has still another level of denial, that being also, “It’s not so!”  And beneath that is still another layer in which it is, “Not so,” on and on, ad infinitum.  Furthermore, he has encircled himself with minions who have been sucked into the black hole of his heart and they offer him reassurance daily and even help popularize the phrase, “Fake news.”  Witness Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump’s problem is not some garden-variety neurosis with which we are all plagued.  It stings us all when our self-percept is criticized but we respond with embarrassment, and sometime humiliation, and own up to our character flaw.  But Trump cannot handle the sting of embarrassment and humiliation, which is why he so famously could not issue a perfunctory, “yes,” last fall when asked if he had ever asked God for forgiveness.  Someone with that much repressed anguish and rage cannot offer even a bromide version of, “I’m simple sinner saved by the Grace of God.”  And his minions offer us a generous sample of other “god-forsaken” souls who are in the same boat, some of them, “devout” Christians!  The only way to deal with this abysmal internal ugliness is to lash out at others, even to the point…in this case…of fomenting a war.

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Silly Thoughts about Trump and the Gang…

So Trump and Bannon’s “lover’s quarrels” have finally reached critical mass and “melt-down” is on our table.  I can’t help but think of all the cast-of-characters in this Trump Show would make a good reality show on TV.  For example, Trump, Bannon, Scaramucci, Roy Moore, Michael Flynn, and Jarred Kushner…I’d like to lock’em in a room for a few weeks and afford them with all the comforts needed to live comfortably.  I would have the TV camera running at all time and then just watch the melt-down begin, escalate, and then come to the point of violence.  Oh the dialogue I can imagine taking place!  I would wait until just before there was blood-shed, then I would lower a large screen into the room and suddenly an image of Barack Obama would be on display.  Well, it would not take too many episodes before this motley crew were united in fury at this black man, having found an object for the self-loathing that has been driving them all.  Makes me think of T. S. Eliot’s wisdom, “United by the strife which divided them.”  The image of Obama would readily provide a focal point for this internal rage and peace would begin to filter into the room. Obama is just one suggestion for this role.  There are so many would could fulfill the need for a “them” in this group dynamic.  Anything is better than owning their own intensely denied subjective anguish.

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Huckabee Family Lacks Critical Thinking

Mike Huckabee, and his daughter Sarah Sanders, are doing their part in continuing to “wage the war on Christmas,” an ironic war that many Christians participate in throughout the year.  This is because they fail to exercise the Shakespearean “pauser reason” and subject their passionately held convictions to any scrutiny.  For example, just yesterday Huckabee, the former governor of my home state, Arkansas, compared Trump to Winston Churchill.  The absurdity of this comparison is apparent to all, “all” referring to those who have not imbibed the Trumpian kool-aid.

There is no doubt that Huckabee and his daughter are sincere Christians and very good people.  But they mistakenly think that the notion, “God is leading me,” is not subject to human error.  They would never consider the wisdom of the bumper sticker, “Don’t believe everything you think,” because they are firmly ensconced in their thinking thus incapable of utilizing that Divine gift of the neo-cortex— critical thinking.  Adam Gopnik notes in his recent book, “Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life,” the importance of “the mental discipline of contradicting one’s own idea.”  Having this ability to be self-critical, especially in the dangerous realm of spirituality and politics, brings that aforementioned “pauser reason” to the table, a gift which can’t be ours without the corresponding gift of being able to handle contradictory notions in our mind at one and the same time.

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Congress, “Put-On Your ‘Big-Boy/Girl Pants’ and Grow Up”

Christmas came a few days early for the Republican Party this week when they passed the tax bill, giving themselves something to crow about while the Democrats have something to whine about.  And I think there is plenty to legitimately “whine about” with this legislation but I want to focus on a dimension of the issue that I don’t think is often recognized—I WANTED MY SIDE TO WIN!!!  There was a sense in which this political issue was a simple pony race at the county fair and I wanted my pony to win and, suffering the ignominy of defeat, I’m disappointed and pissed!  This seems very childish…because it is very childish and because I, like all of us, am very human.  We can’t escape being human so we bring this “human-ness” to all matters even though we prefer to disregard childish immature motives like a simple desire to win.

However, I find nothing “wrong” with this human quality of mine.  It is fun to win and not fun to lose.  But, there are certainly other matters on the table in matters of this magnitude in which winning and losing are less important than what is in the best interest of the whole country.  If I am not mature enough to have the honesty to recognize this childish need to win at all cost then I am apt to be driven to win at all costs, regardless of the consequences. Therefore, I am not of the, “I hope it fails” mind set which prevailed with many during the Obama administration.  I am skeptical, but I hope it does succeed in creating jobs for the American people and strengthening the economy, though the economy appears to be doing quite well right now.  I don’t like that the main impact of the bill appears to be the fattening of the purse of the wealthiest One Percent of our population but I’m not going to allow that egregious, shameless larceny to keep me from hoping there is good that comes from the legislation.

The main thing I am concerned with is the need of Congress to put on its “big boy/big girl pants” and stop focusing mainly on their side winning, on making decisions on the basis of assuring re-electibility, but on the basis of what is needed for the country.  Merely having the winning pony at the county fair is so grade school.

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