Don Lemon, a CNN anchor unironically named after a bitter fruit, doubled down on his recent accusations against 70 million or so Americans who voted for Donald Trump, claiming that they are all Nazis and Klansmen.
Given a chance to walk back this seemingly hyperbolic rhetoric, Lemon instead claimed that he “believed what he said,” raising a philosophical question of great interest to almost no one. That is, whether the old expression “saying is believing” can be true in any meaningful sense or if it is possible that Mr. Lemon, generously acknowledged an intellectual lightweight by his supporters, and a fool by the rest, believed that there were 70 million Nazis loose in the country before he said it. If it is true that one can come to believe something by the simple act of speaking it aloud, speech thereby acquires a magical dimension, leading to a number of intriguing possibilities. For example, Donald Trump might use such power to claim that he actually won the recent election, and not by a little.
While rational thinkers naturally reject such magical ideas, recent evidence is mounting against the rationalists. Despite all the criticisms and ridicule aimed at Mr. Lemon – one caustic critic pointing out that his name implied something awry in his manufacture – a surprising development now lends support to Lemon’s charges against half his countrymen and to his philosophy of the active power of the Word to bring reality into existence. Almost as soon as the controversy bloomed, sales of swastikas, hooded sheets with pre-fitted eye-holes, and collection of Nazi and Klan memorabilia exploded on the internet. Amazon, as happy to sell its customers an “authentic, plastic replica German WWII Luger with Adolf Hitler signature” as a hula hoop, reports that it cannot keep up with demand for copies of Mein Kampf, and facsimiles of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
As with the fake Russian “collusion” accusations against Trump stemming from the 2016 election, and the equally fake accusations of corruption and influence peddling against the Biden “crime family”, it is becoming increasingly clear in the age of social media that saying IS believing, and that words have the magical power to make false things real. On Twitter, Pinocchio can become a real boy.
One wonders if Don Lemon, a miked-up man of no special talent or distinction, will one day regret carelessly conjuring into existence a world brimming with Nazis and Klansmen?