It is said that Socrates asked questions. When his questions became inconvenient to the Athenian City State, he was forced to “drink the hemlock”, a nice euphemism for state enforced suicide. While none of us rises to the level of an ancient Greek philosopher, we can still ask questions. At least for now.
Words matter. Religions use “word” as a metaphor for God’s will, the manifested mind of God. I give you my word, my word is my bond, we will hold you to your word, we will hold him to his word: you get the point. In this context, word equates to promise, a matter of honor. So, what are we to make to trump’s word?
In today’s world, we have a record of people’s words, actual recordings, videos, tweets. Individuals cannot deny what they said, only what they meant. The word can be spun, taken out of context, used by a “biased” media to play “gotcha.” Bush used that phrase a lot. As if being held accountable for one’s vocalizations was somehow the fault of those who caught him.
Now here’s a good word, “accountable”. Merriam’s dictionary, that arbiter of meaning, defines accountable as “required to explain actions or decisions to someone and/or required to be responsible for something”.
Trump’s words, held in or out of context, are frightening. Were people actually listening to his words? Words like torture, expanded possession of nuclear weapons, renewed relations with the russians, rewriting or eliminating trade deals, deportation, placing Muslims on lists, killing families, immigrants are rapists, etc, etc. I have written this before, but it bears repeating, I don’t believe people were actually listening to his words. People cherry picked the words to match their own internal dialogue similarly to Christians and Muslims who cherry pick the written Word to excuse the hatred and violence they exercise.
So how are we to determine whether any of these words are an actual promise, an indication of trump’s manifest mind? In the long run, only time will tell, but we are getting some pretty good indications now. Look at who he has appointed to his staff, cabinet, advisors. His picks are people who have stood by him, yes. But who are they? Giuliani, flynn, bannon and more. These truly are the basket of deplorables Clinton was castigated for exposing. She was right. Where will trump go now that he actually has power? What will he do? Is he good to his word?
Here’s another good word, “truth”. Again, referencing Merriam’s Dictionary, truth means among other things “the real facts about something, sincerity in action, character and utterance”. By any measure, that does not apply to trump. It was calculated by Fact Checker, that 53 percent of the words that came from trump’s mouth were lies. Lies being contrary to truth. Therefore, if we can’t actually trust his words, then the only measure we have are actions. Actions like walking in on naked beauty pageant contestants, operating a fraudulent university, bankrupting himself six times to avoid paying his bills, having an approximately $900,000,000 loss and avoiding paying taxes for how many years? How about his ego: his name plastered on every conceivable surface that he can? How about his vindictiveness, tweeting at all hours of the day and night in an attempt to discredit people who would hold him accountable to his words and actions. Ah, that word again, accountable.
So we come down to two very good words, truth and accountability. Who will have the courage to hold him to these words? Will the republicans, who alternatively supported him and rejected him depending on how the wind was blowing? Will the democrats who ran a flawed candidate and internally rigged the nomination away from a person who might have actually won? Will the people who voted for him, ignoring his words and hoping for the best? How about the majority of the people who did not vote for him. Will they simply lie down and take whatever trump plans to dish out? Beware here.
I think words matter. I take them quite literally I may not have believed what trump said, but his actions speak loud and clear.