The number of lies Donald Trump tells is astonishing. The Washington Post recently reported that President Trump has made 7,644 false or misleading claims over 710 days.
And yet, many Trump supporters simply don’t care. I have heard time and time again from people that support this president, “he may exaggerate the truth a bit, however I like his policies and I love that he isn’t a politician… Trump is one of us,“ many say.
So truly what is the harm of a little exaggeration or even a monstrous lie, if a group of people in our country are happy with the policies being passed?
There is so much wrong with it. First and foremost, it erodes one of the foundational principles of our country and democracy, and that principle is integrity. Integrity by definition is being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. And it is definitely a principle many of us value.
Even more so than being something we inherently value, integrity is at the very foundation of any healthy functioning relationship and an essential principle of leadership, simply and profoundly because it fosters trust and lets us know we can count on our leader to do what is right or just.
Think about where we might be in this country after another 5 years of the erosion of personal integrity from our leaders. Or think about how you would feel in your relationships, if your spouse, significant other, friends, colleagues or family members lacked integrity and consistently lied to you.
In relationships, our word is everything. Without the ability to trust another, there is little one can count on. And in leadership, integrity is of the utmost importance. Without integrity, people lose faith in what that leader says. And the leadership becomes ineffective.
So where does that leave Donald Trump’s leadership, given that he lies often and about a lot of things? It leaves us in a serious predicament tight now, as many people have definitely lost faith in this president’s ability to govern our country. And just as essential as governing our country, many of us believe this president is completely disconnected from any type of moral compass or personal integrity of any kind.
Although that in and of itself is enough to be outraged or feel anxious about, there is yet another essential reason we must hold our leaders to the highest standards. Simply because, many people look to a leader for guidance and at some point, may emulate the leader‘s way of being. If it’s OK for a leader to lie, misstate the truth or potentially even break the law to accomplish their objectives, what does that say is acceptable for people that support the leader, revere his way of being or worse, want to follow in his footsteps?
Throughout my work in healing the emotional divide and working with many people that are emotionally distraught about what’s happening with this presidency and in this country, I have often heard about the number of young people that are struggling with what’s going on in our country and more importantly, how to process through it all. I have heard so many stories from parents about their own children or children they know that are depressed, disheartened or emotionally distraught.
Obviously, the lack of integrity this president is modeling is a very dangerous precedent to set for our children, for our country and for our future. And for this reason alone, there is no wiggle room to justify or excuse this president’s exorbitant lying.
Words Matter Media tweeted earlier this month, “With all due respect New York Times, Trump doesn’t ‘bend truth” – he LIES. It is time for journalists to stop using euphemisms to describe Donald Trump’s assault on objective reality.”
So what can we do? We, as Americans, must continue to speak out and call this president to account when he lies, as exhausting as it may be. And as many of us can attest to, it is extremely exhausting to be continually lied to, as we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to sort out the facts and seek the truth.
As Greg Sergeant of the Washington Post states, that is the “whole point” to what Trump is doing. Sergeant tweeted a powerful thread that began with this question, “Why does Trump lie ‘all the time’ about ‘everything,’ even the most trivial, easily disprovable matters?” He went on to say, “The frequency and the audacity of Trump’s disinformation is the ‘whole point’ of it — to wear you down. More and more of the lies slip past, undetected and uncorrected. As Trump ends the year with a flood of lies about his wall, we need to recapture a core truth about this presidency. Trump isn’t ‘twisting the truth’ or ‘stubbornly refusing to admit error.’ Trump is engaged in ‘disinformation. This is a different thing entirely,” said Sergeant.
As we begin 2019, spend some time reconnecting to what matters most to you. If personal integrity in your life, in your relationships and from leadership is high on your list, join me in speaking out and calling our leaders to account in the New Year.
Diane Altomare is an NBC & ABC emotional expert and host of Politically Emotional radio. She has also been a featured guest on more than 30 local and nationally syndicated radio shows, including CBS Radio and NPR and has contributed to many publications including Mind Body Green, AARP and the Chicago Tribune. She is the author of Clarity: 10 Proven Strategies to Transform Your Life, which jumped to the #1 New Release spot on Amazon in Emotional Self-Help and her newest release, Emotionally Trumped Out.
Diane Altomare is one of the gentle, but unrelenting threads of resistance to our national inertia of unconscious self-destruction.