George Graham

Smoke and Mirrors



aliceWords no longer mean what I thought they meant. Especially during a political season. Especially during this political season.

I know, you are going to tell me that politics is all smoke and mirrors, that’s the way it has always been and that’s the way it will always be.

But if you tuned in to Sarah Palin interviewing Donald Trump the other day, you ventured into an even more bizarre exercise in jiggery-pokery than usual. You must have felt as if you had somehow stepped through Alice’s looking glass. You remember Alice? Then you may recall Humpty Dumpty’s famous quote:

When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.

Neither Palin nor Trump actually said that, but they should have.

As for numbers? Why not just make those up as you go along?

I didn’t catch the show. I didn’t even know Sarah Palin has a new show. Indeed, inveterate browser though I am, I have never stumbled upon One America News, which broadcasts the program. But Salon. com filled me in this morning. And my head is still spinning at the thought of those two on the same stage.

Donald Trump and Sarah Palin together? Say goodbye to reality.

When Mr. Trump blithely claimed there are 93 million unemployed workers in America, for example, Ms. Palin smilingly went along with this obvious fantasy.  Of course, she probably has no idea that unemployment is actually at 5.3 percent, the lowest rate in years, which means about 8 million people out of work – not 93 million.

But you already know Donald Trump has no respect for reality. His picture of an America being overrun by hordes of illegal immigrants, bringing crime and pestilence to a pristine America is provably false, for example. He manufactured that “crisis” to launch his “platform.”

That’s what Donald Trump does best – makes up facts to support his rhetoric and jumbles them together in an incomprehensible morass designed to inspire confusion, outrage and fear.

As the article puts it:

Trump has inaugurated the era of inchoate blurting in presidential politics.

Actually, I think it was Sarah Palin who did the inaugurating. But Donald Trump has definitely perfected the art of inchoate blurting.

Click for the Salon story.

Click for Alice and Humpty Dumpty.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for