War and mendacity

Politics, by its nature, has an inherent aversion to truth and clarity.  Politicians need to convince their constituents and donors that they represent their respective interests (and not those of the other).  Often, the results are harmless.  One area where things get dicey, though, is in matters of war.  It is disconcerting, then, to find the new president shuffling around the National Security Council with yesterday’s memo.  More so, now that the US has recorded its first war death under the new administration (in Yemen).

Some might have wondered whether Trump would abandon his reliance on on bombast, exaggeration, and crass pettiness one he achieved his station.  Unfortunately, his disassociation from reality has continued unabated in his first week in office, and, of course, the new president has responded to criticism of his mendacity with his usual grace and elegance.  I imagine his supporters will continue to downplay this tendency and cry foul of the media for pointing it out.

It’s not that I’m a great lover of the media, mind you.  I do, however, believe that a functional democracy  requires some system for informing the populace of developments that affect it, and for helping it sift fact from fiction.  Otherwise, even the best-intentioned will make poor decisions at election time and the worst-intentioned will run riot.  So, it’s disturbing to see the new administration so blatantly making an enemy of the media.  I think the media usually falls short of its duty and potential (by pandering to prurience or trivialities), but it has relevance to the extent that can report, record, and check the misstatements of those in power.  Any administration that sees such agency as a foe to be conquered is an administration to be feared, indeed.

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