Monday, December 05, 2016

Believing What We Want To Believe

Commence laughter. Right Wing Watch has found

On his most recent “Prophetic Perspectives on Current Events” program, televangelist Rick Joyner declared that President-elect Donald Trump is a “tough as nails” leader who is also deeply compassionate and religious …. not unlike the disciples whom Jesus chose....

Joyner insisted that Trump is also "one of the most honest people I've met" and that he possesses a "remarkable fear of the Lord."

When someone believes that Donald Trump is an honest man deeply influenced by the Holy Spirit, he'll believe anything. And so

Joyner said that he met with Trump once before the election and discussed Trump’s plans to address illegal immigration. During the discussion, Joyner claimed, he “saw the tears well up” in Trump’s eyes at the thought that his plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants could split up families.

“He was about to bust out crying,” Joyner claimed. “He said, ‘We can’t do that, we can’t hurt the families, we’ve got to fix that.'”

Don't laugh too hard, though, for such naivete may deeply affect not only (willfully) ignorant televangelists, but also the media and global politicians. Representing the latter category we have Pakistan's Press Information Department issuing this statement:

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif called President-elect USA Donald Trump and felicitated him on his victory. President Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honor and I will personally do it. Feel free to call me any time even before 20th January that is before I assume my office.

On being invited to visit Pakistan by the Prime Minister, Mr. Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people. Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people, said Mr. Donald Trump.

Laugh all you want at what seems to have been dictated by Trump himself but.... no, laugh all you want.  However, note that the Pakistani Prime Minister appears to have been impressed by Trump, who probably was "buttering Sharif up without giving much thought to the sensitivities involved in a very tense geopolitical conflict or how his words might be interpreted."

It may be unsurprising that the likes of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Rick Joyner can be so easily fooled. So, too, however, The New York Times, whose reporters and editors two weeks after the election interviewed the President-elect. Trump said he had an "open mind" about climate change, then stated "I know we have, they say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between the scientists. Where was that, in Geneva or wherever five years ago? Terrible."

Asked whether "human activity is or isn't connected," Trump replied "It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now."  "A lot of smart people disagree with you" about climate change," he told Tom Friedman. "We've always had storms," he assured Arthur Sulzberger, to whom he maintained "You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98."

Then the Times wrote its story and in the first paragraph argued Trump was "pledging to have an open mind about climate change." No. really.

During the primary and presidential campaigns, Donald Trump craved adulation as he spoke to huge, adoring crowds. However, he craves acceptance also, and will structure his remarks to accomodate the preferences of whomever he's talking to. In the age of social media, we were assured, politicians and others could not say anything without considering its impact upon a larger audience. Trump has shattered that notion.

The President-elect effortlessly soothes his immediate audience, contradicting himself promptly and often,allowing reasonable people to hold out hope that he is moderating. A United States President, we need to believe, could not possibly be as bellicose, bigoted, and ill-informed as Donald Trump appears  to be. But he can.

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