As I was about to turn in from a long day of watching the NCAA basketball games, I turned to CNN (Admittedly a mistake) and overheard a discussion about Donald Trump’s tweet accusing former President Obama personally of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election.  As usual the panel assembled got into a heated argument with a Trump supporter who is a paid analyst for the network and who defended Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations.  In other words, and as of this writing, Trump has yet to provide any evidence of his claim against former President Obama.  How many more times do we, the American people have to keep going down this same road of lies and more lies?  How much longer do the American people wish to keep reading about Trump’s tweets? Some have referred to Trump as a pathological liar among other things.  Others have referred to Trump as a ego maniac. You do realize I am speaking about the POTUS?  As such, I have been prompted to weigh in just a bit on these lies and inuendos spoken regularly by Trump.  Thus, my question is “when does TRUTH matter?”
Each time Trump lies, which is rather frequently, his followers and minions come to his defense.  But what is most appalling to me is how and quite frankly, why the media keeps Trump’s lies alive, knowing full well that is exactly what makes Trump who he is? Why does the media kept its focus on Trump’s multiple lies and accusations when Trump has yet to produce any evidence of his accusations? I recommend the media just stop printing his lies which of course, would make him crazier than he already is?  Trump wallows in the kind of attention he is receiving in his first fifty or more days in the WH.  Everyone knows that so why keep feeding is fragile ego”  Why not stop reporting and debating the merits of his pronouncements?  Trump’s followers would not accept the truth if it bit them in the behind!  His paid supporters on CNN intentionally cause an argument with panelists which is shown on television and viewed by some as it being normal.  Day after day I witness shouting matches between those who believe every or anything Trump says, and those who simply want to present the facts, whether they supported Trump or not.  Kind of reminds me of a television series in the 60’s with the name “Dragnet” where the detective questioning a witness famously says “just the facts ma’m just the facts?   However, in Trump’s world facts nor the truth means anything anymore.  To me, therein lies the American Tragedy: truth and facts no longer matter in the public discourse.  Trump’s world and narrative simply involves saying whatever one wants to say, without evidence, truth or evidence.  I remember one of the sayings of the Religious conservatives when referencing their belief system: God said it, I believe it and that settles it or something like that.  In Trump’s world it goes something like this: Trump said, I believe it and that settles it.”  How crazy is that?
Again I say to the news outlets across the country just stop writing about or printing the lies being tweeted by Trump.  Keep his name out of the news as much as possible for it will drive this man crazier than he is now, if that is possible.  Just think for a moment how easily the Trump supporters are swayed by their illiterate leader?  Staffers scramble to cover up his lies which only makes the lies worse.  The words coming out of the mouths of Kellyanne Conway and Spicer and DeVos and Ben Carson and Bannon among a few, are so egregious and stupid and flat out wrong, one can hardly keep a straight face. I for one am embarrassed by much of what Trump Cabinet appointees spew from their mouths-it is absolutely stupid and ridiculous.  Nevertheless, they keep saying these things and the more they say them the more the Trump followers believe them.  Truth and facts no longer matter to them.  These followers are as zealous and bigoted as is Trump.  Maybe the media should begin shunning Trump and his minions-just isolate their nonsense that has made America the laughing stock around the world.  Maybe the media should just stop feeding the beast and then watch him implode more than he already has.
Finally, there is another quick solution to what the American people are witnessing with our two party system and in particular Republicans in both Houses of Congress. These Republicans and a few Democrats as well, could stop Trump in his tracks if they only had the guts to do it.  Republican and a few Democrats afraid of not being re-elected by showing any sign of support for Trump, should have just that happen to them.  Vote them out of office and do so without begging endlessly for a  dollar here and a dollar there to get elected.  I find these everyday requests for money from politicians insulting and offensive and annoying.  It almost seems they are trying to make us feel guilty if we do not send them money.  When and how did we get to this state of affairs?  When did it require a candidate running for the U.S.Senate to have a war chest of in excess of ten million dollars?  Not everyone interested in serving their country can raise that sum of money and therefore, are forever prevented from running for public office.  Truth doesn’t matter rather money matters and if one does not have that kind of money, it is almost if not impossible to run for office.
I know already those reading this post will wonder what the heck happened to that seemingly and very nice, calm and accommodating minister we knew thirty years ago?  Many will wonder if I am feeling this way it just might cause others to feel that way.  Well let me tell you many others do feel the way I do and too many of us have kept our feelings to ourselves. Someone said a long time ago, to be faithful, to be honest, to be prophetic and to speak truth to power regardless of the circumstances will get you killed.  Well, whoever said that is right and there are many examples of visionaries and prophets and protesters who have lost their lives because of their beliefs. Just yesterday several members along with their new senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, were arrested for protesting and demonstrating for what they believed in. They were exercising their rights as citizens of a democracy that has unfortunately, become more and more dangerous.  What could we expect when truth and facts no longer matter?
In the meantime, I will not lose my faith, nor my hope nor my compassion for the least of these.  In the meantime, I will speak the truth I know and believe in and I will also be willing to admit when my truth is not truth.  I have consistently, said over and over again in my fifty seven years of my profession as a minister of the Gospel, and as one who tried throughout his ministry to bring people together by building partnerships and strategic relationships with people from all walks or no walks of life “that I don’t have a need to be right as much as I have a need to be heard.”. In the meantime I will not support building walls to shut people out.  In the meantime, I will not bark out orders to ban people because of their religious beliefs.  In the meantime, I will as Scripture instructs me “welcome the stranger, feed the hungry and clothe the naked and release those in captivity, especially those placed there without just cause. In the meantime, I will walk and not get weary and I will run and not faint.  In the meantime, I will welcome you to challenge every word I have written in this blog.  I will invite you into dialogue with me and me with you so together we can all be inside of where the poet invites us into: ” they drew a circle that shut me out, heretic, rebel a thing to flout, but love and I had the wit to win, we drew a circle and took them in”.  And so it is!
Dr. Paul

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