Marti Lelko is an occasional commentary contributor to The Paper.

I’m disgusted when I hear the words “under oath” regarding Trump’s recent deposition related to incidents outside Trump Towers during his 2016 campaign. “Under oath” implies someone will be required to tell the truth. To come clean. That’s not going to happen. The words “truth” and “Trump” can’t be used in the same sentence. Subpoenas and depositions used to be feared. Now they’re blown off with a “ so what are you gonna do about it?” attitude. 

The last five years show that truth is a concept unknown to Trump and his acolytes. It’s meaningless. He’s lived a life and built a career on a foundation of lies. He’s lied to get out of paying his employees, some of them immigrants in fear of deportation.  He’s lied about assaulting women, even after bragging publicly about grabbing them inappropriately. He lied about his wealth and obtained bank loans based on fraudulent real estate values. His lies were willingly swallowed up by the masses, eventually allowing him to become President. So the lying continued, ramped up by enablers and sycophants. “ It was the biggest inauguration crowd ever!” “I’m  the healthiest President in history!” He lies about things big and small. Stupid, trivial things. He lies just for the sake of lying! 

Of course his biggest and boldest lie is his claim that he won the 2020 election, along with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. The GOP is too spineless to call him out in these lies and stop perpetuating the BS. One minute they were condemning the horrific events of January 6th, the next they were calling insurrectionists patriotic tourists! 

This culture of lies has been tolerated for so long it’s become a runaway train. Lies are perpetuated long after they’ve been proven to be untrue, like the ridiculous claim that Obama wasn’t born in this country. It used to be that if you were caught in a lie, your career was over. Not anymore. Why stop lying if there are no consequences? The willingness to embrace these lies, to repeat these lies, is an ever-growing threat. Lying used to be a sin. Now it’s an admirable trait. The ends justify the means. 

This constant stream of misinformation is what’s preventing us from getting past COVID. The outlandish is now believable. Lives have been lost by drinking bleach and refusing a vaccine because they heard it makes you sterile. Q-Anon thinks sex trafficking pizza parlors exist. Jewish space lasers are real. Taking horse de-wormer will prevent COVID. When did we become so gullible? 

If witnessing Capitol Police having their eyes gouged out with American flags and being sprayed with bear repellent wasn’t enough to get Republican members of Congress to wake up and turn their back on Trump’s destructive lies, what hope do we have of getting back our human decency? Continued lies won’t make America great again. They will break us. We’ll join the ranks of Russia, China, Turkey and every other country that uses lies and disinformation to control their people and hold onto power.

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Marti Lelko is an occasional commentary contributor to The Paper.