“Trump has been walking a tightrope of lies all his adult life, and now he is teetering. He has inflated his wealth. He has aggrandized his business acumen. He has managed to convince supporters that he is a respected businessman who brilliantly commanded a vast real estate empire. Now the law is beginning to squeeze him from all directions. His former consigliere, Michael Cohen, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison. One of the crimes Cohen confessed to was violating federal campaign finance laws by orchestrating six-figure payments to a Playboy model and an adult-film star, in the weeks before the 2016 election, to ensure their silence about sexual encounters they say they had with Trump. Cohen says he did this at Trump’s direction.Wednesday, the company that owns the National Enquirer — American Media Inc. (AMI), which is run by Trump’s close friend David Pecker — admitted playing a major role in that same hush-money scheme. The aim, according to the company, was to help Trump win the election. The bottom line is that two witnesses, Cohen and AMI, independently now implicate the president of the United States in the commission of two felonies.
Potentially more serious for Trump and his family in the long run, however, is what the New York state probe might discover. How much of the Trump Organization’s revenue has come from the sale of luxury real estate to oligarchs from Russia and other kleptocracies? Where did these buyers’ money come from? Why was Deutsche Bank — recently raided by German authorities and under investigation for money laundering — the only major financial institution willing to lend money to Trump in recent years? Where did Trump’s company get the large amounts of cash used in several transactions that Post reporters uncovered? How much commingling of funds was there between Trump’s company and his eponymous foundation?
Trump’s longtime accountant, Allen Weisselberg, has turned state’s evidence. He may be the Virgil who guides federal, state and local prosecutors through a Trumpian inferno of shell companies and opaque transactions. The outlines of Trump’s fate begin to emerge.”
When I read Robinson’s column, it reminded me again of the importance of truth, particularly at this time in America’s journey, when truth is under assault on a daily basis.
Deciding whether to tell the whole truth—and nothing but the truth—was something I struggled with while writing my new memoir, SAINT UNSHAMED: A GAY MORMON’S LIFE—Healing From the Shame of Religion, Rape, Conversion Therapy & Cancer To Find My True Self, which goes on sale to the general public on March 27, 2019, (though advance copies can be purchased now and at a discount price at www.KerryAshton.com). As I explain in the book:
“In writing one’s memoir, and choosing to go public with the most sexually intimate details of one’s life—as I do within these pages—it’s scary. It’s like opening up one’s private diary to everyone on the planet. Was I absolutely certain that I wanted to share my most hidden and well-kept secrets with the world? How would the members of my Mormon family react once my book was published? Would the conservative members of my family shun me once they read the graphic details of my sexual experiences, particularly the most vile and violent details of my rape? Would sharing these true experiences from my life with the world, even matter? Like so many in the #MeToo movement who have had the courage to come forward, to tell the truth of their sexual assault and to speak their truth to power—the most recent and powerful example being Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—would I even be believed? All rape and sexual assault victims struggle with similar questions when they contemplate coming forward and telling the ugly truth of what happened to them. Like them, I had to contend with the same inner conflicts and questions.
In the end, I decided that not only did I have the right to speak out, I had a sacred obligation to do so, and let the chips fall where they may. First and foremost, I owed it to my inner child to tell how he was betrayed and abandoned throughout much of my life. And I owed it to all rape victims and to all those in the #MeToo movement, especially the male victims of sexual assault, who might take comfort and find healing from my true story of overcoming shame, such that they might in turn find the courage to heal their own shame, and come out of hiding. So when I decided my book would reach the public somehow, even if I had to publish it myself, it was a solemn decision.”
Beyond this, I also noted in my memoir that our current political climate has brought our American society as we once understood it, to its knees:
“Since that fateful election two years ago, it has become harder to know what to believe in or in whom to believe. The current occupant in the White House lies about anything and everything, attacking the very institutions that uphold our democracy and the rule of law—solely to protect himself—even as his lies are presented as facts in the far-right media, while 40% of Americans believe every lie he utters. Indeed, a new Civil War is upon us, with each side claiming its own facts. But perhaps, given the nature of our current national politics, I should refer to it as our country’s first Uncivil War.”
Now, more than ever, our society is need of—and desperate for—the truth. As President Abraham Lincoln told the American people, a house divided against itself cannot stand.
This, more than anything, is why I chose to tell the whole truth in my memoir, shielding nothing. Only the power of truth can speak to the deceit that defines not merely our current politics but the very fabric that holds a society together.
Without truth, and the recognition by all of what is fact and what is not, can we hope to survive as a people, as a country of laws not of men.
The powers that be have tried their level best to muddy the waters, hide the truth and ignore or cover up the facts. Unlike Rudy Giuliani statement that “truth isn’t truth,” truth is truth and that’s all there is.
Contrary to Kellyanne Conway’s assertion, there are no alternative facts, only facts. Clearly, she needs to speak more often with her husband who, despite his conservative political views, shows us frequently that he has integrity, sees reality, and has the courage to address all of the corruption and illegality he sees within our current president’s administration.
The importance of truth—and its undeniable existence—is more important to America’s survival than ever before.