Trump’s Slander Branding

Trump-Accuse-ObamaThe President of the United States begins his days by sending out tweets that heap slander on someone.

Former President Obama is in that headlining glare now, and has been for nearly two weeks.

But really, Obama is on a long list, that includes Angela Merkel, the British Intelligence Agency, the CIA, all sixteen of his primary opponents, Senator McCain, Hillary Clinton, and most frequently CNN and the New York Times.

Trump claims to be a devout Christian, but he begins each and every day by breaking the 9th Commandment, Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Some take this commandment to mean witnessing in a legal court, but of course there were no courts in Moses’ time, and the breadth of the other commandments, which clearly are not restricted to any particular place and time, belies this narrow definition.

False witness is any kind of lie, any slander, any misleading accusation, any embellishment of truth or omission of the same.

Most people know how harmful such words can be, within families, within marriages, within business offices, within a military unit, in the gossip of a small town.

The new TV series, Feud, detailing the difficulties on the set of the film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, tells of the producer and director plotting to spread slanderous rumors about the two women, in order to create a larger audience. Even the director’s wife begs him not to do it, to consider how much pain it causes. But a deal is a deal, and money is out there.

And the President of the US operates in just this way. Every day of his life he wakes up ready to slander someone, enjoying the buzz, calculating that he gains much more than he loses by upsetting things. And he may. For, even though his slander may be proven unfounded, in the minds of those who love him, he has once again been unfairly treated or once again has had to slay a dragon for them.

And what, I wonder, caused Trump to slander Obama recently? Well, his slander coincided with the release of a new poll showing Obama’s popularity with the American public is rising, rising.

And for Trump, that is just not happening.

Trump, of course, can and always does claim that the polls lie, that the only truthful polls are the favorable ones.

But he cannot drive Obama out of the public’s hearts.

So instead, he is accusing Obama of criminal behavior. And judging by the birther scandal, also one Trump continued to tweet about for years, the wire-tapping scandal is likely to continue for years.

Even Republicans are sickened by this attack. One Senator says he should apologize and soon, others express annoyance. And Attorney General Sessions, a longtime supporter of Trump, has told the press that there is no justification for Trump’s claims in the Justice Department’s files, and that he, Sessions, has played no part in this.

Perhaps Trump is gambling that his slurs will keep Obama in silence now. To speak up would instantly create a public feud. Obama cannot want that. And Trump, so accomplished in the art of maligning a neighbor, would go into full scale attack. There would be no end to it.

But there does not promise to be any end to the slur that is already out there. And Obama may decide he has nothing to lose by taking Trump on. By speaking up for national health care.  By speaking out against a budget that steals from the poor to give to the rich.

In the Bible, from the first page to the last, it is always the rich who are seen as the problem for the poor, who are seen as God’s dearly beloved.

But in the GOP and in the White House, the view is clearly that the poor are receiving too much from the government and the rich are receiving too little. And Trump and the GOP are determined to take everything – health care, support for the arts, food stamps, school support, Pell grants, even Meals on Wheels, away from the poorest Americans, so that the richest 700 families can get tens of billions of dollars put back into their pockets.

In the biblical story of the Transfiguration, Jesus, Moses, and Elijah have a meeting. And in the eternal now of these powerful moments that live on forever, Moses must be spluttering about Trump and Ryan, and an eternal  future for them both must be in the planning. Not a pretty picture, fellas.

What goes around comes around.
Image: Trump Accuses Obama.

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