As he described coming upon a Nazi street rally in 1930′s Germany, my college sociology professor captured every ear in the classroom.
Reed Bradford, an LDS missionary at the time, recognized Adolf Hitler at the center of the scene. Having read his book, “Mein Kampf,” he knew he was hearing in real time the “big lie,” the notorious Nazi propaganda technique of creating confusion by stating a falsehood as if it were obviously true, then repeating it again and again over time until it is no longer even questioned, but accepted as truth.
President Trump has elevated the “big lie” to an unprecedented level; as of Aug. 27, innumerable news organizations have tracked 22,247 documented lies. A few of the most memorable:
I’m going to “Drain the swamp!” I have drained the swamp.
(Seven of his advisers have been criminally charged, just the tip of the iceberg.)
We’ve got a great health care plan that’ll be out next week (month), any day now.
(Trump has been making this claim since his 2016 campaign.)
Nobody respects women more than I do.
(His own voice captured on an Access Hollywood recording shows otherwise.)
COVID-19 is just like the flu, nothing to be afraid of.
(He told Bob Woodward in February that it is dangerous, five times worse than the most strenuous flu and it’s airborne.)
It’s all Fake News. The media is the Enemy of the People.
(This is a tactic used by Hitler, Stalin and other dictators. He also admitted to Lesley Stahl, “I do it to discredit you, so that when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”)
I’m the least racist person in this room, or in the world.
I’ve done more for Blacks than any president except Abraham Lincoln.
An article by David Markowitz in Forbes Magazine describes the danger of the repeated lies: “Trump’s lies are problematic because they force us to question our institutions and the value of information. … What happens when our distrust in government affects our trust in family or friends? When we fail to value truth and instead, prioritize alternative facts … the fabric that holds our relationships together begins to fray.”
But some lies are worse than others: I will only lose if it’s a rigged election. We’re rounding the bend on the virus. It’s just going to disappear.
There have been deadly consequences and we have suffered them. We have 4% of the world’s population, but over 22% of the world’s deaths. Unless we elect Joe Biden, there will be no end to it because, even though this president has “moved on,” the pandemic most certainly has not.
As CNN’s Gloria Borger described it, “Joe Biden has a plan for confronting coronavirus; Donald Trump has a wish.”
Despite the unfeeling cruelty Trump displays in attacking any dissenters, an impressive number of past and present administration officials and loyal Republicans are finally speaking out. One is Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, who said in a recent NBC News article: “America has watched as the Republican Party … has given up its voice on things that mattered and instead bent the arc of the party towards the baser motives of one man, who is neither a Republican nor a conservative.”
And realizing that a protest vote for anyone else is essentially a vote for Trump, Steele said, “I am an American, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order. And I am voting for Joe Biden.”
I, too, hope that all Americans will put America first this election.
Char Valentiner, is a former high school teacher of sociology and English at Layton High School, a former volunteer mediator for the Third District Juvenile Court and, foremost, a homemaker, mother and grandmother.