Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Mark Twain is credited with popularizing the saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” I wonder under what category of lies Twain would lump Donald Trump's lies. I imagine he'd have to come up with a whole new "genre" to accommodate Trump's epic litany of fabrications, frauds, fakery, and phantasmagoria.

Republicans have been surprisingly successful painting Hillary Clinton as “a liar,” while turning a blind eye to their candidate’s bizarre travels through fantasy land. I've asked myself, "Why?" and I've decided it's because no one really expects Donald Trump to tell the truth. Apparently Trump equates being truthful with being "political correct," and we know well what he thinks about political correctness.

Let’s be honest, for a change, Hillary Clinton has lied. But to paraphrase Yogi Berra, half the lies they tell about Clinton lying aren’t true. Where she has bent the truth, she’s admitted it; awkwardly perhaps, e.g., “I short-circuited,” but she’s come clean. Not Donald Trump. He lies and then doubles down, belittling whoever has the temerity to challenge him.

What’s worse, Donald Trump lies to bamboozle, to swindle, to cheat. Often, the people he’s victimized are society’s most vulnerable — people down on their luck striving to get ahead, small businessmen working 80-hour weeks to build an enterprise.

Donald Trump is one of those people the writer Jose’ N Harris was talking about when he wrote, “Those who lie, twist life so that it looks tasty to the lazy, brilliant to the ignorant, and powerful to the weak.”

A week or so ago, Hillary Clinton said one "could be grossly generalistic" and put half of Donald Trump’s supporters in a “basket of deplorables,” people driven by “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic" sentiments. She later walked that back a little -- maybe it wasn't half.

At the risk of being politically incorrect myself, I say it could be at least half if we add the lazy, ignorant, and weak-kneed people who make up another large segment of what is certainly a deplorable "basket" of the American voting public.

Donald Trump is a horrible person, and is grossly unqualified to be president. He is, as former Defense Secretary Bob Gates recently said, “willfully ignorant about the rest of the world, about our military and its capabilities, and about government itself.” But what's truly distressing to me is that so many Americans support him. I thought we were collectively better than that. Where the hell have I been all these years?

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