Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Worth quoting: Robert Reich

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and now Professor of Public Policy at University of California at Berkeley, posted this today on his Facebook Page:
Some of Trump’s lies are more dangerous than others. Today, White House press secretary Sean Spicer reiterated that Trump believes millions of undocumented immigrants voted in the presidential election. Trump has “stated his concern of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him." Pressed for evidence, Spicer said Trump’s view is “based on studies and information he has."

But there are no such studies or evidence.

Trump repeated the same allegation of massive voter fraud yesterday at a meeting with Congressional leaders.

This particular lie is especially dangerous because it plants in the public’s mind a concern about voter fraud, which he and Republicans will use to legitimize more draconian voter ID requirements, more demands that foreign-born citizens prove their citizenship before voting, and more procedural limits on voting – all designed to suppress the votes of likely Democratic voters in 2018 and beyond.

The media must fight back, demanding evidence. Democratic leaders who happen to be in Trump’s presence when he makes this claim must dispute them. We all have an obligation to spread the truth.
I completely agree with Robert Reich about this. It seems to me that what Don is trying to do is, first, assert his legitimacy. This has to do with his massive ego, because as someone with severe narcissistic personality disorder, he simply cannot tolerate any negative views of him or evidence that he’s not “the best”. The fact that Don lost the popular votes by nearly 3 million upsets him, so he lies about it in order to feel better about himself and to restore his delusional self-belief in his own perfection and superiority.

The second reason he does this is more sinister: He’s trying to undermine and delegitimise democracy itself. Throughout the campaign, he made constant and repeated incendiary and false statements about election “fraud”, declaring the election was “rigged”. Observers took that to mean he expected to lose, and so, was setting the state for his next self-promotion campaign post-election.

I disagree.

I think the reason he lied back then, and the reason he’s lying now, is to weaken people’s faith in democracy. Also, his constant lies about things we all know and can easily check are about undermining people’s faith in newsmedia and even facts themselves. In so doing, facts become what he says they are, truth is what he declares it to be, and democracy is what promotes him and the interests of the oligarchs and plutocrats, and anything that stands in the way is anti-democracy.

Don and his gang are setting the stage for authoritarian rule, where they control everything, including people’s memories and beliefs. He wants people to truly love Big Brother*, and the only way to do that is to delegitimise democracy and everything that makes it possible.

His lie about the election is stupid for being so utterly, completely and demonstrably false, but that doesn’t matter to him. His goal isn’t to be believed, it’s to become loved like Big Brother. The real question is, will the Republican Party let him get away with it?

It’s become evident that George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four will become a constant reference point for however long Don is in office.

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