Letter: All governments lie ...

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Editor of the Reformer,

I.F. Stone one said, "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." Our country is headed for disaster.

During the war in Vietnam, Stone was concerned about how the government badly shaded the truth about, for example, the presumed attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin and the continuing seemingly confident predictions of victory, when the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. We now know more of the truth about that war. I doubt, though, that Stone ever encountered the level of systemic lying that we see today. Truth has simply ceased to have meaning.

Trump's erratic response to the current pandemic raises the question of whether he really believes the myriad and inconsistent, contradictory statements he has made. That his stream of confused and almost always wrong statements reveals an inability to exercise leadership is self evident. The more worrisome thing, though, is that he might truly believe what he says, even though what he says often changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. We do have truthful statements, but nearly all of them come from the medical and scientific community, and their statements have often been denigrated by Trump and his close allies. The result is certain to be a floundering, leaderless government incapable of dealing with one of the most significant crises in our time. The pandemic has revealed a fragmented and weak health care system and an economic safety net with more holes than net. It's perfectly clear from Trump that these issues will simply not be addressed with even a modicum of honesty. Our country will at best stagger through the current crisis and remain totally unprepared for the next one.

But the lying is not just about the pandemic. It extends into issues of race, immigration, foreign policy, climate change, international trade, taxes, among other areas. The outcome, as Stone predicted, is disaster.

Barclay Ward

Brookline, Sept. 3

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