Because truth matters
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“Truth is fallen in the streets and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth is fallen. (Isaiah 59:14 – 15) “The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:10)
There are a couple of events where truth should be the principal focus. One is the 16-shot shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke and the other is Donald Trump telling the world he saw American Muslims celebrating in the streets as events of 9/11 unfolded. He then doubled down on that lie by telling the lie that 100 Black pastors would be endorsing him for President.
With the death of McDonald there appears to have been an intentional suppression of the truth regarding the elements of his death, like was he endangering anyone but himself, was there a knife in his hand and did that knife become the reason Officer Van Dyke shot him 16 times and how many of those 16 shots came after McDonald was on the ground?
What does the video show? Why do none of the videos from the police cameras have no sound and even more, why were these videos not released for 400 days? What may be even worse is the Chicago Police Department knew Officer Van Dyke was a problem officer but did nothing about it.
The City of Chicago seems to be imploding. Between the gangs killing more young Black people than the Chicago Police Department ever has and doing it every weekend, a mayor who should have been asking about the videos in question but didn’t, and a police department that refuses to police itself, Chicago is in trouble. During a visit there this summer, I was struck by how people stopped talking or moving when a car drove by. Eyes followed the vehicle, tension rose to a place where one could feel it. That atmosphere reminded me of Los Angles in ‘80s. Truth about McDonald may not change all of that, but it would be a push in the right direction.
As for Trump, it’s not that he’s appealing to the very worst of the American character; we’ve had politicians do that before. Nor is it the bombast he ego, we’ve had bombast before and anyone desiring to be President of the United States better have a strong ego. It’s not even the racist character he shows; America has had those on the national scene before, too. The greatest flaw in his moral fiber is the deliberate and outrageous lies he tells.
Not that some of his competitors haven’t lied also in what has become a circus of a campaign. Carly Fiorina lies about Planned Parenthood; Marco Rubio lied about how he spent money as a Republican leader in Florida and Ben Carson lied about himself. Truth does not seem to be much of a consideration with some of these folks. But Trump outdoes them all.
Why? Because his lies are designed to hurt, twist, inflame and victimize. He never saw American Muslims in the street celebrating as the Twin Towers fell and neither did anyone else. But Trump knows this is the kind of rhetoric that appeals to his most dedicated followers because they, like him, want a reason to hate people unlike themselves when it comes to religion and ethnicity.
The lie about 100 Black pastors endorsing his candidacy was constructed to allow him and those who support him to say, “See, Trump’s not racist, Black leaders support him.” No doubt there are some Black leaders who will support him but I doubt if there will be 100 of them and I doubt too if Black pastors will lead that charge.
Still there is little belief that the fact of Trump’s allergy to truth will stall his campaign because to many of those who support him, it doesn’t matter what he says. It only matters how he says it.
Think about it.