By David Taub
The make-believe universe that POTUS and his followers inhabit should have exploded long ago. But, now only weeks away from Judgment Day, it remains as alive as ever.
Proof positive can be found in the bullying slugfest instigated and maintained by POTUS that masqueraded as a presidential “debate.” It was anything but presidential and more akin to a WWE pitched battle, an assault and defense, than a “debate;” a wasted 90-minute exhibition of DJT’S rage-fueled, unhinged frenzy wrapped in insecurity.
A recent stunning disclosure is that DJT, a self-described billionaire, doesn’t pay Federal taxes (10 of last 15 years, and a pittance of $750 each in 2016 and 2017). He is up to his eyeballs in gigantic crushing personal debt, but we don’t know to whom he reportedly owes more than $400 million.
Does his deep red debt finally explain why he sucks-up to Putin, Erdogan, and the Saudi Royals during every conflict with the U.S.? Perhaps we now understand why he has been so unrelenting about NOT releasing his tax returns.
Most all Americans pay far more in taxes than he does: Is he (a) a tax cheat, (b) a business failure, (c) a brilliant con-man, (d) a tax criminal, or (e) all of the above? The New York district attorney is very interested in answers to those questions, even if his unwavering “base” is not.
If you still need one, here is a quick and disturbing litany that proves DJT is unfit to be President: more than seven million Americans infected with Covid-19, which now includes POTUS and FLOTUS, and more than 210,000 deaths, mostly due to POTUS’s egregious failures to address the pandemic with a meaningful “plan,” while he constantly disparages simple steps for protecting ourselves such as wearing a mask; an economy in shambles with millions of Americans out of work, perhaps many permanently so, and millions of others with work hours reduced to less than a living wage; begging the Supreme Court to destroy medical insurance for millions of low- and middle-income Americans in the midst of the deadliest disaster in 100 years; destruction of America’s world-wide prestige, purging the Supreme Court’s integrity, destroying the dignity of the Presidency; politicizing our armed-forces and expressing shameless disdain for and crass insults aimed at our military; reducing the integrity of the Justice Department, which has brought great distrust of our country’s most important institutions; espousing naked racism and endorsing white-supremacy, asking far-right heavily-armed “militias” to “stand by.” What do we think that means?
Unlike King Midas, about everything that “King Trump” touches turns into the exuded reprocessed food grazed on by horses.
But, you know what, his “base” does not care about the truth of any of this sad and depressing litany. Why? FAITH. Period.
Faith is a strange human emotional, but not intellectual, phenomenon, often exhibited within a religion versus science arena. Faith, in its simplest form, is based on a rejection of rationality and logic. It is a strongly held emotionally-based belief system that exists even when conflicting with the laws of physics and natural science. The faithful believer has no problem believing in preternatural miracles, even when natural laws contend (and largely have proven) such is impossible.
The second century theologian Origen was instrumental in formulating the axiom of unchallenged church authority. He noted that “…As this matter of faith is so much talked of, I have to reply that we accept it as useful for the multitude, and that we admittedly teach those who cannot abandon everything and pursue a study of rational argument to believe without thinking out their reasons.”
The beauty of faith is that is does not rely on rational or logical interpretations of empirical observations; its keystone rests only on the ability of the faithful to BELIEVE. Faith can be irrational or illogical insofar as what the faithful believe contradicts the rules of nature, physics, biology and astronomy. In the world of science such beliefs are otherwise characterized as magical thinking, belief in the supernatural or the paranormal.
The downside of faith is that too often it is a bar to comprehending the truth of a perceived reality. When truth (with a capital T) collides with faith (with a capital F), faith is almost always the winner, such is its power. It is so with the faithful denizens of POTUS’s alternate universe. Faith uber alles.
From my own life experiences, I simply think we must look to the common good as the keystone to a healthy democracy. What will promote the flourishing of all of our core values?
Faith versus Fact will be on trial November 3. Onto which cosmic ledger shall your name be inscribed? The winner of this test will shape our precious republic for generations to come.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this opinion piece. It shall be my last contribution on presidential politics for some time to come, if ever again. I am certain that some readers of our lovely little newspaper will drink a beer or some other appropriate libation in celebration.
“Well, all I know is what I read in the newspapers.” – Will Rogers.
David M. Taub was Mayor of Beaufort from 1990 through 1999 and served as a Beaufort County Magistrate from 2010 to 2015. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.