There are any number of reasons why a few days ago millions of Americans chose to watch Donald Trump on CNN lie about everything except the existence of gravity. Much in the same way that traffic slows to look at the four-car crash, millions of us took the time to clarify and ratify what we already know – one Donald J. Trump is a liar of epic proportions and he presents a clear and present danger to any pretense at democracy that is left in the future of this country.
Watching him lie about his recent loss of the defamation and assault law suit was like watching Aaron Judge swat hanging curve balls on a Little League field. Watching him lie about the war in Ukraine was reminiscent of Muhammad Ali toying with less talented pretenders to his heavyweight crown.
But when he started to lie about the 2020 election the scene was reminiscent of Patrick Mahomes throwing underhanded touchdown passes over thirty yards. It beggars the imagination that almost three full years after the 2020 election that Trump has embedded his imaginary victory into the minds of over 60 million of his followers and we began to see why.
Repetition of the election lies within the same paragraph, within the same sentence, sometimes without taking a breath for what seemed like minutes at a time. His ability to lie about his infamous call the Georgia Secretary of State when he asked him to “find” enough votes is just something to behold. Kind of like Steph Curry shooting jump shots forty feet away from the basket – nothing but net.
Trump did lie when he asserted that he had a legal right to hold on to any secret/confidential government documents. He did lie when he said that he never incited the January 6th mob to violently attack the Capitol.
He did not lie, however, when he said that he would pardon most of the January 6th insurrectionists if he was reelected. And we should believe him.
Indeed, we should have been believing him ever since he came down the Trump Tower escalator in 2015 when he announced that he was actually running for president after multiple false starts over a span of decades.
And we should have believed him when he said that only he could save America upon his inauguration in 2017.
That item is particularly important because those are the words of a true autocrat driven by an ego that has gone over to the Dark Side. And any student of history can see some real similarities.
Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy accompanied by armed thugs called the Black Shirts. And it was the Black Shirts that eliminated and intimidated all and any opposition or competition. And when the opposition realized that Mussolini was a real and present danger to anything resembling democracy in Italy, it was too late.
Following the Mussolini model, Adolf Hitler seized power in Germany accompanied by armed thugs call the Brown Shirts. And it was the Black Shirts that eliminated and intimidated all and any opposition or competition. And when the opposition that Hitler was a real and present danger to anything resembling democracy in Germany, it was too late.
And now, following the model of 21st century autocrats like Putin and Erdogan and Orban, Trump has organized his opposition to democracy in ways that are remarkably similar to his ilk. Not satisfied with the minority rule tendencies of American democracy which got him elected in the first place, Trump has his Proud Boys and Oath Keepers – organized and well-armed gaggles of thugs who have pledged their loyalty to Trump – no matter what. These New Age Black Shirts are better armed than anything the early versions of Mussolini or Hitler could have ever imagined.
These nascent Trump Guerrilla Gangs have already shown that they will kill on his command, that they will seek to overthrow the American version of democracy on his command and that they will follow him lemming-like off the cliff of a civilized nation into something more terrible than they can imagine.
Meanwhile there are over sixty million Americans who would vote for Trump as president today, without any fear or intimidation involved. There are millions of Americans who cringe at the notion of another Trump presidency but may not vote because of voting restrictions or worse, because of inertia or some misguided belief in the probable end of the American version of democracy.
Whatever the case may be, it should be clear that this nation is being threatened by a clear and present danger called Trump.
He is not just another demagogue. He is something so much worse because he has inspired belief in a matrix of lies that cannot admit the truth. That belief has inspired tens of millions of Americans to turn their backs on even a pretense of democracy in order to preserve an imaginary past is built on the foundation of white male supremacy.
Maya Angelou once said “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”.
Trump has shown us who he is.
We should believe him.