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Shaming Sarah



Poor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. At yesterday’s press briefer, she looked like she could use a Prozac—or a bong hit.     She’s never been Little Miss Sunshine, but lately she’s been a real Debbie Downer, especially after the Cohen and Manafort developments of Tuesday.

Granted, the White House Press Corps has given her a rough time. They want answers to questions—Who’s determining security clearances in the White House? Were there any other women who got paid hush money? Is the president ruling out a pardon for Manafort?—but Sarah is in no mood to give those answers. She sounds increasingly weary, looks exasperated, frequently sighs heavily, as though she carries a great weight on her shoulders. The bags under the eyes, the downturned lips—gruesome. Quite frankly, the job is killing her.

Well, if she’s not happy in the job, she could quit anytime. Nothing to prevent from taking a much-better paying gig in corporate communications with, say, Boeing, or some other corporation with links to rightwing politicians. Despite Sarah’s tattered reputation, I’m sure they’d scoop her up.

But her reputation is in tatters, and it’s clear why. All press secretaries have to dissemble and put the best spin on disastrous developments, but in my lifetime of watching them, from Jim Hagerty to Josh Earnest, I’ve never seen anyone lie so consistently as Sarah (with the sole exception of Kellyanne Conway). It must be hard on the conscience to fib so much, every single day, and to know that your audience (seasoned Washington reporters) knows you’re lying.

This goes especially for someone who purports to be a Christian, the way Sarah does. She is reported to carry with her a little book, “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence,” a compendium of Bible sayings and devotions “For Every Day of the Year.” Its inspirations must come in handy when Sarah feels tired, frustrated, put upon and guilty. When the White House reporters look at her the way they’d look at a dog that just shat on the floor, it must give Sarah great comfort to read the words from Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” “The pattern of this world,” of course, in Sarah’s case is the world’s strange, stubborn addiction to “facts” and “truth,” but Sarah has been given permission by her Savior to “not conform” to facts and truth, if they inconveniently get in the way of her worldview. And so she ponders the next words of that passage from Romans: “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.” If God’s will is for her to lie, in order to, say, protect Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, then who is little Sarah Huckabee Sanders—a preacher-man’s daughter from a tiny Georgia town—to deny that will? Isn’t Sarah in the same position as Martha, sister of Mary, to whom the Lord said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” If Sarah worries about her many lies, if she grows upset at how she daily violates Christian principles, if she worries about going to Hell, she has only to remember those words and know that the “only one thing” she needs is trust in her Lord.

Such thinking is the opposite of rational. It is delusional, magical, grandiose, even hallucinatory. It characterizes all persons who believe in extremes of religion—not just Christianity, but Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and so on. We really ought not to allow religious fanatics to have jobs in government, especially when their jobs require them to understand science and tell the truth; but It’s probably impossible to enact such a prohibition in America, now or ever. So we just have to accept that now and then we’re going to have to deal with people like Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

What the White House Press Corps should do is press her to the utmost when she lies, not let her off the hook, not allow her to switch to another question before she’s answered the existing one. What the reporters ought to do is cry out, “Liar liar pants on fire” in unison, every time Sarah lies. What fun T.V. that would be! But much as they might want to, the reporters are afraid of being banned from the White House briefings, which would impact their jobs and hefty salaries, so it’s not likely to happen.

Which allows Sarah to get away with her lies. Well, revenge is a dish best served cold. Those of us who are offended by her lies (and Kellyanne’s, and those of everyone else close to Trump) might wish to see them punished in some way for having such a deleterious effect on our country and on the presidency, but for most of us, all we can really do is heckle these people when if we run into them in a public place, like a restaurant. It’s called “shaming,” and it used to be widely employed by society to let pariahs know they’re not welcome. If Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn’t ashamed of herself, then we should do her shaming for her.

P.S. Last night my blog came under heavy attack from the Russian Federation. Fortunately my firewall blocked all of the attempts to get in. Makes me wonder: are the Russians trying to take me down because I’m anti-Trump?

Have a lovely weekend!


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