His toxic discourse is distorting the media, the voting process and democracy itself.
Donald Trump has finally acknowledged from his own lips that President Obama was born in the United States. Less than two months out from Election Day, he — or more likely his campaign staff — has decided it is time to put to rest an issue that might benefit Hillary Clinton.
Of course, nothing Trump says now, including his campaign's preposterous attempt to explain that he performed a public service by “successfully compelling” Obama to produce his birth certificate, will erase the record of his vicious five-year attempt to delegitimize the nation's first African-American president. Trump’s turnabout only highlights his ceaseless stream of deliberate lies, unwitting falsehoods and blatant distortions of reality — a toxic brand of discourse that is doing great harm to American culture and politics.
Many of Trump’s falsehoods concern himself and his own achievements. His boast that he owns the “largest winery on the East Coast” is a relatively trivial but typical example. In fact, the Trump winery is not even the largest in Virginia, the state where it is housed. The cumulative effect of these multiple untruths about himself is to deprive voters of an ability to accurately assess his record as a businessman, a taxpayer and much else.
Other Trump falsehoods concern public affairs of great moment. We have his claim, for example, that after 9/11 “thousands and thousands” of Muslims were seen celebrating the attack on rooftops in New Jersey. Or his tale that an infant child of his acquaintance became autistic after receiving a vaccine. Or his assertion that Japan and China have been flooding the U.S. market with cars while "we send them, like, nothing." The United States last year exported $62 billion worth of goods to Japan and $116.1 billion to China.
Here the damage is of a different sort. Trump might soon be the president-elect, at which point his pronouncements would carry extraordinary weight. Even without wielding the powers of the Oval Office, the fact that so many of them are false has already altered the world in noteworthy ways.Read the rest this op-ed HERE.
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