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Don’t let Trump’s lying turn you into a zombie

Based on the logic of the new Trump administration, I would say Saturday’s Crested Butte Women’s March was Big League. Bigger than the Fourth of July! That march was the biggest thing ever seen in this town ever—period!

As I watched the new White House press secretary scold reporters Saturday I kept looking to see if he was blinking an S-O-S or sending a secret signal to his mom to rescue him. He looked like a hostage or a man not yet comfortable selling his soul. As described by former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleisher, “This is called a statement you’re told to make by the president. And you know the president is watching.” It is a tad depressing to watch a man lose his dignity on the world stage. And it ultimately matters to all of us unless you are content to be a zombie that unquestionably accepts Big Daddy Donald’s lies.

In anticipation of early week powder, I had already written an editorial on the short-term rental situation in Crested Butte, but I can run that STR piece next week. I was impressed with the outpouring of the Women’s Marches across the globe, but Alissa Johnson, who participated in Denver, can focus on that (see page 3).

I will instead focus on the deliberate strategy by the new president and his representatives to simply lie about big things and small and disparage the press. Whether it is about his craving insistence that he had the biggest crowds and ratings for his inauguration—period—or his untrue claim the media made up a fight between him and American intelligence agents, or his insistence he would have won the popular vote except for millions of illegally cast votes…this strategy seems an attempt to make lying seem normal. It is a strategy to brainwash the citizens and turn you into a flatline, accepting dolt.  For a guy who on Friday was suddenly quoting Bible verses and invoking “God,” he doesn’t seem to care that the Bible clearly says it is not okay to purposely lie.

It is one thing for a president or politician to lie; that unfortunately is not unusual. Previous presidents have all lied about policy and personal issues. But to force one of your children, in this case press secretary Sean Spicer, to face his peers and lie about something that does not really matter without having the balls to take questions is sort of perverse but telling.

And then to watch professional people like Reince Priebus and Kellyanne Conway apparently so intent on holding on to power they publicly defend the lies by framing them as “alternate facts” is, as the president might tweet—So Sad!

There are no such things as “alternate facts.” There are alternate statistics, alternate points of view, alternate ideas. Citing lies as alternate facts is an Orwellian way to purposely deceive the American people. It is lying.

What makes me shake my head this week is that Trump’s lies seem to be there only to condition the American people to his deal-making strategy, which apparently starts with blatant falsehoods. His lying seems meant to discredit any questioning of his decisions by a free press or anyone who has a different point of view.

To continue to pound the media as some of the “most dishonest human beings on earth” frames his desire to avoid scrutiny. What’s he afraid of? There is no purpose to blatantly lie about a trivial matter such as the number of people at his inauguration ceremony except to try and brainwash the American people to accept that lying is normal and that he will make his decisions from within his own bubble—a bubble obviously not always based in reality. Talk about a new level of state-sponsored propaganda. So sad.

Since November I have honestly tried to open up my mind to why this rude bully received so many votes. And I think I sort of get it. His populist message strikes an understandable chord for many. In fact, I hope he can turn over the apple cart of politics that for too long has supported a corporate elite over average American citizens. He did that Monday by rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that I believe undermined U.S. sovereignty, made corporate lawyers more powerful than nations and was negotiated in the dark. I like his calling out of the Iraq wars. I like his skeptical eye on both political parties. Heck, the first part of his inaugural speech was downright Bernie-esque. As I watched him speak, I hoped the Republican establishment leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell started to question their future. But was that speech all a lie? Will he circle back to the TPP? Will he make a move in the Mideast that throws us deeper into conflict over there? Who knows? That’s the problem…the purposeful erosion of trust.

If the president of the United States treats the citizens of this country as zombie dolts who will ultimately accept obvious lies and contradictions to his own words that are on the record, we are in real trouble.

If he is so thin-skinned as to spend time on numbers at a ceremony, we are in real trouble with his adolescence. (Or is it really another attempt to distract us from what is really taking place under his watch?)

If we simply forget that he slapped around the country’s intelligence agencies last week but this week claims it was the media that made up the spat, then we will be nothing more than a country of zombies pledging allegiance to a liar and we will be in real trouble.

If we blithely accept the president’s word that our electoral system is damaged to a point that millions of illegal votes sneak through and can throw a presidential election, we (and our democracy) will be in real trouble.

If we roll over and simply accept that he is not a standard politician and his lies are part of his unique persona, we are in real trouble. Because when it comes time, in a truly important situation, that we have to trust the person leading this country with a major decision—that trust will not be there. If those with open eyes can see he lies about inauguration numbers, how are we to trust him when he says that radical extremist Canucks are preparing to invade New Jersey and we must take action? Words matter.

It may seem that his lie about a small matter and his press secretary’s prevarication without taking questions is a minor detail in the start of Trump’s term—it is not. It is the start of trying to turn you into a zombie who accepts your daddy’s statement that the sky is red when you see it is plainly blue. It may be too late to rescue a sad Sean Spicer. It is not too late for you and the rest of the country to stay awake and realize there are people trying to turn you all into zombies.

Don’t let them—period!

—Mark Reaman

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