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  • Andrew Waite

Burying the Truth

Ria is a liar. She fibs about all sorts of things. One ongoing campaign has to do with her orange pacifier and its suspected thief. She’s blamed her younger cousin Hugo, her older cousin Etta. This morning Abuela was the culprit. Meanwhile, the pacifier is usually sitting in Ria’s room. Sometimes it’s even in her hand.


One plot she developed last week was particularly sophisticated. She has this tower that allows her to stand and eat at the kitchen counter. It’s high off the ground, so the rule is she always has to keep her feet on the tower’s platform. Ria struggles with this rule. She’s fond of holding herself up on the tower’s edges, as if she’s about to bang out a quick set of triceps dips. When she fails to listen, there are consequences. The tower goes away, behind the closed office door.


A few days ago, that’s exactly where the tower was when Ria hatched her little plan. She went to the office door and explained she needed help. I asked what she wanted.


“Ria open door.”


“Why do you want to go in there?”


She gave me a coy smile. “Paci in there.”


I knew her pacifier wasn’t in there, but now the 2-year-old had me doubting myself.


“Do you want to go in there because you want to get your tower out? The tower has to stay in there because you didn’t listen.”


“No tower. Open door.”


Nice try, Ria. But what kind of sucker do you take me for? (Later, I did a sweep of the office just to make sure. No paci.)


Ria’s lies seem especially germane right now, considering Trump’s latest lie. American Marines were likely killed as part of a bounty that the Russians paid to Taliban fighters. Trump is pleading ignorance, despite credible evidence that the intelligence was in his daily briefing in February. NY Times reporting explains analysts have even been able to track the bank transfers between a Russian military agency and Taliban-linked accounts.


Just how stupid does Trump think we all are? And even if it’s true that he never received the briefing, that’s not a great look for a president. Did he not receive the intelligence because it was written rather than spoken, and Trump doesn’t read? Did he not receive it because he only wants information that is 100% verified? If so, experts say that means he’d never get any intelligence, because intelligence of this kind is, by its very nature, fluid.


Of course, that’d make perfect sense—Trump missing intelligence.


This is all part of a story we’ve become way too accustomed to. The most recent glaring example is Covid-19. Trump ignored warnings that could have saved thousands of American lives. Hell, he’s still ignoring the medical experts with his rallies and his refusal to wear a mask. And now, look at the graphs of American Covid-19 cases compared to the downward trends we’re seeing in many places across the world. Is it any wonder why we aren’t welcome in Europe this summer?


Trump’s “strategy” has long been to plug his ears and pretend to hear nothing but his own voice. Maybe that can work for a while, but eventually, with this behavior, kids will just stop asking you to come play. When it comes time to pick teams, the weenie is bound to be the odd man out.


I’m optimistic that this will finally happen to Trump. Recent Supreme Court decisions provide reason to hope. Chief Justice John Roberts (who still shouldn’t be excused for Citizens United) has long prized the reputation of the court as an apolitical body of judicial reasoning. His recent alignments with the court’s more liberal bloc prove he’s willing to stand by these principles. It’s the kind of courage we need to see more of, and it could be coming, especially after comments by figures such as George W. Bush and Colin Powell, who say they will not be supporting Trump in November.


Trump can dig his head into the sand all he wants, but when he comes out, he might realize he’s the only one left in the sandbox. –Andrew Waite

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