Dear President Trump,
Yesterday when I laid out the main types of lying you do, it occurred to me to wonder whether it really matters which sort of cesspool they burble up from. One could argue that a lie is a lie is a lie, or that a liar is a liar, etc., and since you can’t be trusted at all anyway, what’s the difference if you are strategically lying to gain an edge or if you are lying to cover up your ignorance? If you wanted to get a handle on your pathological lying you and whoever was tasked with helping you would have to unpack the various motivations so you could figure out how to respond without resorting to your default lying habit. Obviously a different set of attitudes and skills is necessary to refrain from lying when one is tempted to lie to get something one shouldn’t have vs. being tempted to make something up and pass it off as fact so one doesn’t have to admit being clueless.
Putting that highly unlikely self-improvement scenario aside, it occurs to me that the people who keep things running in spite of you do need to sort out what is motivating your lies so they can figure out how to work around you. If they discern you are lying for nefarious ends they have to decide whether they will also benefit from the lie and if so, how to support it, and if not, how to reduce its impact without pissing you off. If they realize the lie is really an ignoramus move that’s important to correct, they have to figure out how to get the right information in front of you so you’ll think you always knew it, maybe by getting the Fox & Friends folks to casually drop this or that bit for you to pick up. However it goes though, your staff must have to work triple time to identify and then track all your lies and mistakes, weigh out which ones absolutely have to be addressed, and then come up with a strategy to manipulate you to go in whatever direction they think is necessary without you firing them. I’m trying to imagine that job description and who in the world would sign on for such a position. I’m also trying to imagine the terrific harm this all is causing our relationships with the rest of the world and how many years it’s going to take to repair things. Mr. Putin must be very proud of his handiwork.
May we be safe from chaos sowers.
May we be happy to value truthfulness and integrity.
May we be healthy enough to admit when we don’t know something.
May we make peace with the inconvenience of reality and not try to lie our way out of it.