The book is “Mein Kompf;” the author Adolf Hitler; the quote, “By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell – and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.”
Sounds, looks and feels too familiar, like a page from President Donald Trump’s immigration playbook. Guess we shouldn’t really be surprised since this POTUS tends to admire dictators past and present. But this time, the page he’s using from history is dangerous at best.
In fact, his choices of racially troubling phrases are increasing as well. Not long ago he used “separate but equal” to describe his new “Space Force.” “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the ‘Space Force’ – separate but equal, it is going to be something so important.” Can’t help but wonder which is “so important” the Space Force or some sort of return to “separate but equal.”
So it’s clear Trump knows what buttons he’s pushing. At 71, he’s too old not to. Could he be using Hitler’s Mien Kompf quote as a daily blueprint? The parallels are hard to ignore. Administration untruths are increasing along with his. Larry Kudlow, Trump’s White House Economic Advisor, declares the national debt is declining since the new tax bill went into effect. But three sources, including The Congressional Budget Office, say it’s rising rapidly, going from a projected $665 Billion this year to $805 Billion next on its way to a projected $984 Billion by 2019.
The trend is so rampant the Washington Post and a host of national news organizations are keeping what I call a Presidential Lie Count. “According to an analysis by The Post’s Fact Checker through the end of May, Trump had made 3,251 false or misleading claims in 497 days – an average of 6.5 such claims per day of his presidency.” The problem is so pervasive reporters are now openly asking Trump why are you lying about this and/or that.
“It’s extraordinary how he is completely indifferent to truth,” said Thomas Murray, president emeritus of the Hastings Center a major player in bioethics.
“There’s just no relationship between his statements – anything he utters – and the actual truth of the matter,” Murray goes on to tell a Post reporter “As far as I can tell, the best way to understand anything he says is what will best serve his interests in the moment. It’s irrespective to any version of the truth.”
Unfortunately, as the Presidential Lie Count grows, Trump’s link to history’s dark side appears to be growing as well. A 1990 Vanity Fair profile quotes Trump’s former wife Ivana who reportedly “told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that he (Trump) kept and often re-read “My New Order,” a collection of Adolf Hitler’s speeches from 1918-1939, a book Trump allegedly kept in a cabinet by his bed.” The writings in that volume are believed to be an evolution of “Mein Kampf” since “My New Order” was a later compilation of his speeches.
All of this raises a troubling question. Is the President’s political strategy based on Hitler’s quote? Is his goal to become this century’s master of propaganda? Seems the ark of his strategy is bending that way. In order to succeed propaganda needs a mass audience. Maybe that’s why the President’s obsessed with ratings and crowd sizes. Makes you wonder whether he’s decided to hang his presidential hat on the last line of Hitler’s famous quote “The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.”
But there in rests the American rub. We are a people who hate, absolutely detest lies and those who traffic in them. After a while even his greatest supporters won’t be able to ignore the obvious.
Yet, you can’t help but wonder how long before they realize he can’t turn away from the wrong people and the wrong page in history.
Dennis Edwards is an Emmy Award Winning Television Journalist as well as an Interim Pastor. He’s a graduate of Virginia Union University and its Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology.