We must not accept habitual lying from our leaders

We must not accept habitual lying from our leaders
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meet with survivors, families, hospital staff, and first responders, Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Donald J. Trump is a habitual liar. I know that will probably not come as a shock to anyone. It is, however, something that needs to be said often, and loudly, especially by the press. He is unfit for office, and his penchant for not telling the truth, and by extension, his spokespeople’s inability to be truthful on a consistent basis to the American public, should in itself be an impeachable offense.

As Americans, especially in this digital age, we have a relationship of sorts with our leaders. In the past, if a politician lied, it would end up in the paper, which you may or may not read, and if the politician lied, it was a lot more effort to track down the lie and the subsequent truth. In today’s world, we see these people on TV almost 24/7. Information is instantly available at our fingertips, the truth is merely a few finger taps away. Also a few taps away are conspiracy theories and defenders of the lies.

Trust is a fragile thing. Secrets and lies jeopardize trust and can damage us and our relationships—sometimes irreparably. Which is why honesty from our country’s leadership is vital. Dishonesty opens a door for foreign powers to manipulate leaders, and the general populace. Distrust allows bad actors, like militias, and white supremacist groups (who are already paranoid), to grow and flourish.

Facebook recently announced that politicians were exempt from their truth in advertising policy:

If you see an ad on Facebook, should the contents of that ad be true? Historically, the answer has been yes. The company’s posted advertising guidelines prohibit “misinformation,” defined here as “ads that include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organizations with particular expertise.”….Facebook is now exempting political figures from this policy. If a political candidate or party wants to run a Facebook ad announcing that their rival is a lizard person, they now have an open lane to do so.

We know what happened in 2016 when Facebook became the Wild West of false and misleading stories and ads planted by a foreign government. This is why it is so important that we protect the truth, and prevent politicians and other, possibly nefarious, actors from posting false and misleading ads on social media.

Even the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) states on their website:

When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.

The Federal Trade Commission enforces these truth-in-advertising laws, and it applies the same standards no matter where an ad appears – in newspapers and magazines, online, in the mail, or on billboards or buses.

If the FTC applies these standards to products, the same standards must be applied to political ads, no matter where they appear.

The president’s constant lying is not only impacting how American citizens relate to our government, it also impacts our foreign relations. How can any nation, friend or foe, take him at his word? If he threatens a rouge nation with sanctions, or military force, they are not going to believe him. If he offers aid, how can they trust the aid will arrive, let alone keep coming? How can our allies expect us to honor our commitments with the constant stream of lies he tells? How can any nation ever expect to negotiate in good faith with a person who lies as much as Trump does?

If you are a parent you do your best to teach your children not to be habitual liars. Now everyone tells white lies from time to time—and to expect anyone to be completely honest at all times is really an unrealistic expectation. That being said, there is a difference between that and what we see come out of the president’s mouth, his Twitter feed, and his staff’s responses. He is a habitual liar, he lies so much, and so often that I doubt he can even recognize what is real and what is a lie anymore.

When this is all over, and Trump has gone down in the annals of history as the worst U.S. president of any era and his sycophants and followers distance themselves from him, it is my hope that after this national nightmare is over, that we can begin to hold our leaders to a higher standard; That we will no longer have to tolerate a leader who habitually lies, and just flat-out makes up stories. That someone who is unqualified as Trump was and is can never reach the Oval Office again.


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