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  • Rob Nilsson

I DON’T NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING

I’ve been listening. Lots of brave and well informed writers, journalists, ( NY Times, New

Yorker, Washington Post) other artists and strong souls speaking out about our “absolute”

ruler. Thought they said well and with more outreach than I am capable of. Don’t want to be

an echo chamber. Nothing new to add. But here’s my two cents in the hue and cry to get rid of him and his fawning cadre.


Coming from the Midwest, raised by 50s Stevenson liberals in Northern Wisconsin, I was

routinely reminded of the importance of telling the truth. Not absolute truth. Just the

everyday garden variety, working with “facts” (apologies to the postmodernista) and leaving

the epistemology to the academics. Although my mouth was never washed out with soap, that was on the agenda up there. But the lesson got through anyway.


“Robbie, don’t tell a lie.

“Why Mom?”

“Because no one will believe you next time.”


So in the Midwest, even as a kid, if you lied you didn’t feel good. That was what Mom

intended. It was like a stomach ache with the medicine cabinet too high to reach. Sure, part of it is that you don’t want to get caught. But then, in time, you realize it’s better not to have a reason to get caught.


I don’t think the 10 commandments are a good argument for enduring the extremities of

organized religion. For example #1. “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have any strange

gods before Me.” That’s in the realm of serious delusion. But #9 is a good one: “Thou shalt

bear no false witness against thy neighbor.” In other words, “don’t lie.”


Here’s a category of lies I found on the Web:

 Error—a lie by mistake. ...

 Omission – leaving out relevant information. ...

 Restructuring—distorting the context. ...

 Denial—refusing to acknowledge a truth. ...

 Minimization—reducing the effects of a mistake, a fault, or a judgment call.

 Exaggeration—representing as greater, better, more experienced, more successful.


Has Donald Trump failed to hit any of the six categories? Maybe the first: “a lie by mistake.”

But that might be giving him too much credit.


So what is the truth? The Web lists five categories of truth: the correspondence theory, the

coherence theory, the pragmatic, redundancy and semantic theories. Maybe I should stay off

the Web for a while.


But let’s say literal truth: “Barrack Obama was born in Kenya.” “The pandemic will just blow

away like magic.” Or slightly more abstract truth: “The president’s powers are absolute. “


Hmmmm.


These days we’re trained to think that the first instinct of a politician is to lie. But has there

ever been a prevaricating public servant so clueless he couldn’t conceal his first five or ten, (or even 11), lies? The Washington Post has him at 1800 “lies or misleading statements”. Some think he has to know he’s lying and is using it as an elaborate con. If he doesn’t admit a lie long enough people get tired of fighting it. So the lie convinces, well, 50% of Americans. Some people think he’s a genius the way he lies. Sorry. There is no genius classification for a liar.


As Mom said up in Rhinelander, Wisconsin you can’t trust a liar. No matter what he says, after

all the self- righteous window dressing and fake bluster, his lie still lies. Trump’s mind exhibits

a perfect storm of unconsciousness. He is truly H.L. Mencken’s “perfect moron”. A liar with

zero credibility. A man who doesn’t want or need to know anything.


Maybe I was wrong about the Midwest and its reputation for plain dealing and honesty. Maybe that’s all gone now. I hear my hometown has become rabid Trump territory. So I think you know what we have to do. I wish Biden were more original, charismatic, better spoken, more eloquent, smarter. Same for myself and everyone else I know. But today I have only one

abiding goal. I want Donald Trump gone. And, to tell the truth, right now, I don’t need to know anything… anything more than that.

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©2019 Rob Nilsson / pennywernergraphics