So I’m watching “The Caine Mutiny” the other night, and there’s Bogey at the hearing descending into his paranoid delusions of persecution. Then I start surfing the channels and stumble upon Donald Trump speaking at the Value Voters Summit. I found myself fascinated by the spectacle of this absurd and ridiculous man rambling on and on in a manner reminiscent of Captain Queeg; the paranoia, the delusional thinking, the narcissism on full display.

And I found myself returning to that question I’ve been hearing for three years now: Does he actually believe the nonsense he spews or is he a pathological liar, and if it is the latter, does he really not see how transparent he is? And if it is the former, then he is so detached from reality that we should all be terrified.

I personally think it’s a combination of both. He lies the way others breathe, an involuntary habit honed over the years to be as seamless as possible. And his ability to perpetually rationalize has morphed into a self-delusion to prop up his fragile ego. But as sad and tragically funny as all of that is, the truly head-spinning question is: why are there people in the audience listening to him?

He was going on about God and religion and morality without blushing at the towering hypocrisy, and people were cheering. Wow, “value voters”? So then one has to ask, are they all that blind, that deaf, that uninformed? Have they not seen his vulgarity, his pettiness, his vindictiveness, his cruelty, his misogyny, his endless lying, his pathetic little-man scapegoating? The antithesis of what it means to be Christian is embodied in the person of Donald Trump.

I fault the audience more than Trump. He is a very sick and disturbed person. What are they?

Michael Perry


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