Let’s All Move to Shangri-La!
By Patrick F. Cannon
If the immediate past president of these United States could be said to have a theme song, it might be one from the 1951 film, Royal Wedding, which starred Fred Astaire and Jane Powell as brother and sister musical performers. Music was by Burton Lane, with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. One of the songs began:
“How could you believe me when I said I love you
When you know I’ve been a liar all my life?
I’ve had that reputation since I was a youth
You must have been insane to think I’d tell you the truth.
Yet, against all evidence, a credulous audience in Ohio cheered Trump on as he peddled the same lies he’s been selling since November of last year.
Now, Ohio is considered a “battleground” state. Unlike my own Illinois, it seems to be divided between liberals and conservatives (we true conservatives are thin on the ground everywhere). As with most states, it has its share of white supremacists, neo-nazis, gun toting militia members, and other far right malcontents. These form Trump’s core constituency in most states.
To these folks, add a sizeable number of Republicans who should know better. To them, Trump can lie all he wants as long as he either raises his middle finger at the established order or heaps abuse on any Democrat, but especially at “sleepy Joe, or the “gang of four,” or is it “The Squad?”
Many of my cynical friends would claim that all politicians lie, or at least shade the truth to conform to their perceived constituents wishes. True enough, but in his four seemingly endless years in office, Trump has retired the “Liars Club” all time trophy. Even if the Washington Post was guilty of counting the same lie every time he told it in their total, the final number of 30,573 probably exceeded the total for all of Congress during the same period. Surely, a breathtaking achievement! Knowing Trump, he’s probably proud of it.
There are times when politicians are required to lie, during war time for example. Winston Churchill said about World War II: “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” After the 1942 bombing of Tokyo by Jimmy Doolittle, which was launched from an aircraft carrier, President Franklin Roosevelt, when asked by reporters from whence the attack was launched, replied “Shangri-La,” a mythical kingdom from James Hilton’s bestseller of the time, Lost Horizons. (By the way, a later aircraft carrier was named USS Shangri-La.)
While Trump inherited wars form previous administrations, for which he cannot be blamed, he can be blamed for initiating his own war on the truth and on democracy itself. The thought that there are still people who would vote for him again is one of the great mysteries of the age. Maybe they should all move to Shangri-La.
Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon