Among my more liberal, left-leaning friends, especially those who reside for some portion of the year in the USA, there is a visceral, shuddering abhorrence for all that Donald Trump represents. It is almost incomprehensible to these fine people that such a boor could ever have been elected president.
I also have friends who inhabit the right (or right-centre) side of the political spectrum, and many appreciate some of the man’s actions in office—such as tax cuts, immigration reform, and a more robust foreign policy. Yet they, too, are repelled by his personal character.
It has occurred to me, however, that I have a lot in common with the self-proclaimed saviour of the free world. It gives me no satisfaction to admit this, but the commonalities are too numerous to ignore. Let me list a few of them here.
Like the president, I have never had a sexual encounter with the porn star, Stormy Daniels. Nor did I ever carry on an extra-marital affair with Karen McDougal, the former Playboy bunny. And I know he didn’t either because he says so.
Not once, ever, have I grabbed a woman by the…..well, you know. And neither have I ever chomped on tic-tacs to freshen my mouth before pressing myself against a woman and kissing her without her consent. The president claims—despite a prior candid conversation with one Billy Bush, taped on a tour bus—that he’s never done those things, either.
He often boasts of the tremendous support he gets from women, and that is true of me, too. In my case, those women are my mother, my sisters, my wife, my daughters, and some long-standing friends. The president doesn’t really identify who his are, but it must be true, right?
I’ve never fired a director of the FBI because an investigation about my conduct was a witch hunt and total hoax. Neither did the president do that, by his own admission.
I’ve told everyone I know that the tax cuts enacted by the president won’t help me at all financially. He has said that, too, about himself.
I have never publicly mocked a disabled person. I never supported the American war in Iraq. I have never made my income tax returns public. Never did I mislead or defraud students through a fake, diploma-mill university. He says he didn’t do any of those, either.
Like the president, until the news media made a big deal of it, I had never heard of WikiLeaks. Nor did I know anything about David Duke and his KKK affiliation.
Neither have I ever stayed overnight in a Moscow hotel, or been entertained by Russian strippers. I have never made money from business dealings with Russian interests. Nor, so he says, has the president.
I have absolutely no pecuniary involvement in any Trump-related business, just like the president, who, as he has himself avowed, completely divested himself of his interests after his election.
None of the following people have ever played a major role in my life—George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, or Steve Bannon. Unlike me, the president does admit knowing them, but not to the point where they could exert a significant or lasting impact on his behaviour.
There are so many commonalities between us.
But, as you read through this list, one significant difference might have occurred to you. Every one of the statements in the list pertaining to me is true. The statements regarding the president are not.
Which brings me to a final similarity—somewhat embarrassing for me to admit. I confess that, just like the president, I also tell lies. These might include falsehoods about my weight, my golf score, my book sales, the number of followers of my blog, that sort of thing. Not all the time, but sometimes.
The president makes me look like an amateur in this arena, however. By some estimates, he has told more than three thousand lies since taking office fifteen months ago. That’s an average of two hundred lies a month, almost seven a day. Very few people ever hear my fabrications; but the president’s falsehoods are tweeted almost daily, and repeated endlessly by the mainstream media, social media, and self-serving political hacks and special interest groups.
And sadly, many people believe them.
I would characterize myself as an occasional liar—or, to put it more charitably, one who sometimes utters misleading statements, tenders alternative facts, or (in the president’s words), offers truthful hyperbole in lieu of the truth. Nothing that really matters to anyone but me and my fragile ego.
As I tell my friends, I’m a writer of fiction. I make stuff up.
But the president can trump that. A congenital characteristic is not something inherited, but rather a feature so ingrained, so strong, that we cannot imagine it changing. The president is, I believe, a congenital liar, one who cannot help himself, one who believes in his own infallibility. He doesn’t think he’s making stuff up; he just believes whatever he says. So, if his lips are moving…
The old adage has it that there are lies, and there are damned lies! Perhaps the same is true of liars.