Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin know, like Hitler and Stalin and other dictators or would-be dictators before them, that “the big lie” must be repeated endlessly in order to produce its propagandistic effect and be believed by the broad masses of the population.
The big truth also needs to be repeated, not simply stated once to then be forgotten.
Timothy Syder in “On Tyranny” stresses the importance of standing up, of taking a position, and of speaking out.
Roger Cohen has just shown us how speaking the truth, without mincing words, can facilitate the clarity of vision that we all need now as Donald Trump and his suppporters threaten American democracy.
We are tethered to a buffoon. He rages and veers, spreading ugliness, like an oil slick smothering everything in its viscous mantle. He’s about to bomb Syria. He’s not about to bomb Syria. His attention span is nonexistent. He attacks the foundations of our Republic: an independent judiciary, a free press, truth itself. His cabinet looks terrorized, the way Saddam Hussein’s once did.
President Donald Trump is dangerous. The main things mitigating the danger are his incompetence and cowardice. We live in a time that teaches how outrage can turn to a shrug, how the unthinkable repeated over and over can induce moral numbness, how a madman’s manic certainties can overwhelm reason. He is very busy; people resist; he opens another front; people shake their heads. It’s hard to remember on Friday what happened on Monday. Trump’s is the unbearable lightness of the charlatan.
Disorientation spreads. Trump’s main war, beyond all the military bluster, is on truth. This reflects his instinct for the jugular: Once the distinction between truth and falsehood disappears, anything is possible.
–See Roger Cohen, “Tethered to a Raging Buffoon Called Trump,”New York Times. April 13, 2018.
The Trenchant Observer