The Scots are to be admired for their education, integrity and common sense. Not surprisingly, they asked us (in the Highlands after the election), “Why are Americans so stupid?” and, “Why do Americans lie so much?” My answers did not reassure them.
American education has been dumbed down and critical thinking has been abolished. Common sense has been replaced by brainless “zero-tolerance” policies. A Gallup poll found that 30 percent of Americans believe the Bible is literally true. Many Americans are excitable and insecure and need a father figure as president. The media are dominated by six corporations driven purely by profit. There is no independent BBC to present the truth.
Americans are accordingly wide open to lies. No sanctions are in place to prevent lying. Instead, liars are admired and rewarded. Hence, Republicans have perfected the art of lying. Concerning Trump, Republican candidate Ted Cruz said, “This man is a pathological liar.” Nobody cared. (Republican “think tanks” figured out years ago that conservatives cannot think.)
Roger Ailes of Fox News epitomized the zeitgeist when asked what “the truth” was. He said, “The truth is whatever people will believe.” Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich believes likewise. On CNN with Alisyn Camerota he disagreed that crime was going down, saying the average American believed it was going up: “Liberals have a whole set of statistics which may theoretically be right but it’s not where human beings are at.”
She protested: “They are FBI statistics! The FBI is not a liberal organization!” He continued, quite calmly: “People feel that crime is up and that’s what I’ll take to the American people. I’ll go with what people feel and I’ll let you go with the theoreticians.” He sneered at those who respect the truth.
Contempt for truth is now prevalent and gives us Fake News, aka bulls**t (more politely, bullspit). In the old days they called it lying. At my Catholic school, boys were soundly thrashed for lying. Pope Francis recently declared it a sin to spread fake news. Wish him luck stamping it out: Evangelical Christians were a significant block of support for Trump and he cannot thrash them all.
John Oliver on the Last Week Tonight show said, “There is no longer a consensus as to what a fact is.” The days when people got their information from responsible journalists, with multiple editors demanding multiple sources, are gone. Oliver stated that 62 percent of Americans get their information from social media.
The mainstream media are abysmal. They enabled Trump’s lies. CBS chairman Les Moonves was overjoyed: “The money’s rolling in and this is fun.” And: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” CNN’s Jeff Zucker is one of the few who regret the wholesale streaming of Trump’s lies: “We put on too many of his campaign rallies unedited.”
Yet Trump’s lies pale into insignificance compared to his Ten-Ton Whopper. This was his pledge to fight for the Little Guys and “drain the swamp.” He will not renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement — America’s oligarchs rake in too much money from it. Have Republicans ever done anything for anyone other than the super-rich?
In their voting booths, the Rust Belt dimwits fondly imagined they were sending Washington a message. Trump promptly ignored it.
He is filling the swamp with plutocrats hellbent on eating Little Guys alive. Three are from Goldman Sachs. One munchkin foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman for 27 cents. He had foreclosed on another woman who then voted for Trump! You cannot make this stuff up. The next Labor Secretary is a CEO of junk-food chains. Like Trump, he believes that workers should be paid less. His sweatshops have often been busted for violations of labor laws. He is now in charge of enforcing labor laws.
The morons who stuck us with Trump are in for a rude awakening. The Financial Times predicted (Trump’s False Promises), “The consequences are likely to be grim” for them. Republicans will establish their conservative paradise to impoverish them further. This will feature massive tax cuts for the wealthy, skyrocketing national debt, abolition of Social Security, abolition of Medicare and Obamacare for 30 million, increased poverty, destruction of public education and a vicious war on workers. The crumbling infrastructure will have to be “saved” — by privatizing it and sticking us with exorbitant user fees.
Republicans will not only impoverish the working classes but those who depend on them, such as mechanics, realtors, plumbers, hairdressers … the list is endless. If you do not know whether to laugh or cry, cry — very hard. We could have had Bernie Sanders and possibly a Democratic Senate.
So if you go to Scotland, take my tip. Lie! Brazenly! Say you are Canadian.