I like fairy tales. Do you like fairy tales? Last week, I wrote about the “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”, an Aesop fairy tale. This week (I wonder if fairy tales is going to become a weekly feature here???) I am writing about another familiar fairy tale, The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi. Remember Pinocchio? He was a wooden puppet carved by an Italian woodcarver named Geppetto. Pinocchio dreamed of becoming a real boy, and alas, his wish came true. But, Pinocchio developed the very human habit of telling lies, and each time he told one, his nose grew longer. Now, of course this is just a fairy tale, a story, and in real life people who tell lies do not suffer an extended proboscis. Too bad … it would make it easier to spot the liars, but instead we must be diligent and check the veracity of that which we are told.
After a recent post in which I asked people to explain to me why Trump even has a following among certain groups he has targeted with his vile remarks, I was informed that people like Trump because they are “sick and tired of being lied to”, and that he “tells it like it is”. Needless to say, I was stunned and astounded, just before I burst out laughing! Oh, the irony!!! Well, let us look at the “like it is” that Trump has told:
• American Muslims celebrated 9/11 by the thousands.
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down,” Trump recently claimed. “And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”
The report has been thoroughly debunked by both the police and the mayor in Jersey City.
• The Obama administration is bringing a quarter-million Syrians into the country.
“Our president wants to take in 250,000 from Syria … Think of it, 250,000 people. And we all have heart, and we all want people taken care of and all of that, but with the problems our country has, to take in 250,000 people — some of whom are going to have problems, big problems — is just insane.”
The Obama administration is planning to take in 10,000 refugees over the next year, and possibly a small additional number after that. It’s a fact that is well- and widely known, but Trump consistently ignores it.
• Syrian refugees are already flooding the U.S.
“Refugees are pouring into our great country from Syria. We don’t even know who they are. They could be ISIS. They could be anybody.”
In fact, the U.S. has resettled fewer than 3,000 refugees from Syria. We know exactly who they are, given the vetting process that requires refugees to wait up to 18 months and to pass multiple background and health checks before gaining admission.
• African-Americans are responsible for the overwhelming majority of murders of white people in the U.S.
“81 percent of white murder victims are killed by black people.”
More than 80 percent of white murder victims are killed by other whites.
• He and Vladimir Putin are buddies.
“I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates and we did very well that night.”
Both men appeared in pre-taped segments. Trump was recorded in his New York office. Putin was interviewed thousands of miles away, in Moscow. Trump didn’t meet Putin.
• China is the big winner in the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.
“[The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal] was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.”
He was corrected by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who noted that China is not a party to TPP.
When called on his lies by an interviewer, he responded with “Am I gonna check every statistic?” Ah yes, who has time to be bothered with those pesky little statistics and facts? Trump hasn’t apologized or backtracked on his statements. Instead, when challenged, he offers flimsy explanations and suggests he shouldn’t be held accountable — or simply insists he’s right despite data and facts to the contrary.
Statistical Summary of 111 Trump Statements by Pulitzer Prize Winner Politifact:
• True 2 (2%)
• Mostly True 7 (6%)
• Half True 16 (14%)
• Mostly False 19 (17%)
• False 46 (41%)
• Pants on Fire 21 (19%)
Now, support whomever you wish, vote as your conscience directs you, but please do not insult my intelligence by telling me that you support Trump because you are tired of being told lies, or that he “tells it like it is”. Oh, and by the way … regarding Pinocchio? Well, we are so familiar with the Disney version of the story that some of us may have forgotten how the story ends. Collodi originally intended the story, which was first published in 1881, to be a tragedy. It concluded with the puppet’s execution. Pinocchio’s enemies, the Fox and the Cat, bind his arms, pass a noose around his throat, and hang him from the branch of an oak tree.