In the beginning … way back on January 20, 2017 … we were first introduced to a concept that would be the foundation for the Trump presidency: Alternative Facts. It first came about because the crowd at the inauguration was significantly smaller than that at Barack Obama’s first inauguration, eight years earlier. Then-press secretary Sean Spicer, however, on orders from Trump, claimed that the crowd was the largest ever seen at any presidential inauguration. The following Sunday on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked Kellyanne Conway why Spicer made that claim, saying, “It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.” Kellyanne’s response was …
“Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You’re saying it’s a falsehood and they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”
Todd shot back …
“Alternative facts? Look, alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods. What was the motive to have this ridiculous litigation of crowd size?”
And Kellyanne took offense …
“Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That’s not your job. Chuck, I mean, if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, I think that we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”
And thus began the Era of Alternative Facts. Not a single day has gone by since that we have not been subjected to alternative facts, aka lies, from the administration, usually from Trump himself. But this past week has been the crowning gem of alternative facts. Let us look at a couple.
Just yesterday, Trump was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Missouri, and made this utterly ludicrous statement:
“Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. And if all others accepted the lie, which the party imposed, if all records told the same tale, then the lie passed into history and became the truth.” – George Orwell, 1984
Ever since his disastrous, from my point of view, summit in Helsinki just over a week ago, Trump has had a great deal of trouble deciding whether he believes that Putin interfered in our 2016 election, and whether Putin is primed to interfere in our mid-terms this November. He has changed his tune so many times that my head was spinning like the little girl on The Exorcist, so I finally just stopped even paying attention. Bottom line is he knows damn good and well that Putin did everything he could to ensure that Hillary Clinton would not win in 2016. It wasn’t that he liked Trump better, but he was afraid of Hillary, and he figured he could manipulate Trump. But yesterday, Trump topped even his own record for ignorance.
“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”
Tough on Russia? When??? He’s on a short leash held by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has refused to speak a single critical word against Putin, and he’s tough???If anybody believes a single word of that, I’ve got this lovely bridge in Brooklyn that I’ll sell cheap. Just last week he told a reporter he doesn’t think Russia is still targeting the US and publicly doubting Russian interference on multiple occasions.
A few days ago, in my spam folder I found an email from Trump. Well, actually it was from a computer program authorized to solicit funds on behalf of Trump. I have unsubscribed to this blasphemy so many times that I finally gave up. Anyway, he talked about his favourite topic these days, the “witch hunt” and reminded me what a great job he is doing, then, right before asking for a campaign donation, he referred to himself as my “favourite president”. After I returned from the bathroom being sick, I deleted the email. Another very alternative fact.
I could understand his use of smoke & mirrors, gaslighting, lies, lies and more lies … er, excuse me – alternative facts – at this point, for he is deeply entangled in a web of lies & secrecy that Robert Mueller is close to exposing, and Trump is running scared. Hence his threat to “shut down” the investigation. But … he started out lying on day #1!!! Congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell make really sorry excuses for him, as if he were naught but a recalcitrant child. But he is not a child … he is a 72-year-old man who by hook and by crook managed to land the highest office in the nation.
We laugh and joke about the term ‘alternative facts’, but the reality is that these lies are no joking matter, for they carry very real consequences for our country. Why? Because some 40% of the people in the nation believe them. Trump could not care less what the rest of us think, so long as he can convince his base that we are the enemy. But Trump tells his base, “Do not get your news from CNN, the New York Times, or The Washington Post. Do not listen to the liberals, for they are only out to get us. Believe only what I tell you to believe.” And that is what they do. Therein lies the danger.
Trump is a buffoon, an ignorant, under-educated fool. But he holds the power and if there is one thing he seems to have a knack for, it is keeping his base hypnotized and believing that he is the answer to whatever problems they perceive. Or rather, whatever problems he has told them they have.
There is no such thing as alternative facts. Facts are irrefutable and not subject to interpretation. Fact: Trump’s inauguration crowd couldn’t hold a candle to Obama’s. Fact: Vladimir Putin admitted that he wanted Trump to win in 2016. Fact: Trump refused to hold Putin accountable for the election interference when the two met in Helsinki. Fact: Many from Trump’s campaign have already either pled guilty or been indicted for their dealings with Russia during the campaign. Fact: Trump has damaged our relationship with our allies. Fact: Trump’s tariffs will hurt U.S. citizens far more than they will help bring new jobs. Fact: Trump has chipped away at ACA to the point that we will all see a rise in health care costs, and millions will be unable to afford healthcare at all. I have many more facts, but I shall stop here, for you get the picture, right?
The 40% who still love him because he tells them to are in for a very rude awakening. As I told a friend last night, I would like to say they will be getting what they deserve, but for the fact that the rest of us will suffer as well. This, even though we have spent the past year-and-a-half fighting tooth and nail, while the 40% sat in front of their television watching Fox News and scarfing down Lays potato chips and ice cream. Bah humbug.