Anti-truth Trump and bumbling Boris have nothing on SA’s ...

Ideas

Anti-truth Trump and bumbling Boris have nothing on SA’s shameless lot

And in an overcrowded field of contestants for the gold medal in mendacity, the winner is Busiswe Mkhwebane

Columnist

In life the opposite of shame is shamelessness. In public life the antonym of shame is impunity. In both cases, it means you act unbound by the norms of decency, accountability, moral probity and ethics. Consequences for wrongful acts are for dummies and dupes.

In a country where shamelessness and impunity are the norm, the abnormal and the outrageous become normalised and even standardised. Expectations are lowered, mediocrity becomes the synonym for excellence, hypocrisy replaces hope. The wise retreat from public engagement and the skilled find greener pastures far away.

The above, sadly, is a somewhat accurate picture of democratic unravelling of the US under Donald Trump. He recently, in what is his 10 000th-plus untruth (according to the Washington Post whose slogan aptly is “democracy dies in darkness”), told four Democratic congresswomen to “go back to the countries you came from” even though three of them are born Americans...

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