Our democracy had a nice run, didn’t it? However, when one political party values truth, public education, press freedom, equal rights, economic fairness, and unencumbered elections while the other sees them as obstacles and it’s taken full control, survival is improbable.
We knew it was coming when Fox “news” appeared, calling itself “fair and balanced” while off-gassing disinformation and context-altered video. Simultaneously, right-wing attacks increased on so-called mainstream media; i.e., any that didn’t parrot the party line. There’s now a hardened core of voters who reject any evidence, no matter how solid, which refutes their preferred disbeliefs. To them, climate change is a hoax, Hillary is crooked and Donald isn’t, Putin is our pal, trickle down economics works. They deny Trump lies, or they’re okay with it; can’t tell the difference or don’t care. How many believe he won “one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history”? Amazingly (or not), fifty-two percent of Republicans think he also won the popular vote.
“The big lie” was beanbag. This is nuclear war on reality. If most politicians lie sometimes, in Trumpland it’s foundational, and it’ll continue until followers demand better. Forever, in other words.
Inculcated ignorance is America’s weapon of mass self-destruction: deliberate falsehoods repeated enough to enough credulous people to take hold, no matter how absurd. If you’ll believe Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a pizza joint, believe it enough to bust into the place locked and loaded, you’ll believe anything. And it’s not just that guy. It’s Trump’s choice for national security advisor and his ex-transition team son, who said of pizzagate, “Until proven false it’ll remain a story.” It’s Trump’s go-to source for the latest lunatic conspiracy, Alex Jones ; it’s his senior policy advisor, Steve Bannon, straight from the internet’s second most deranged website, right after Jones’.
Nor is this the fringe of today’s Republican Party. It’s their Speaker of the House, who claims Trump’s lies should be ignored, and their vice-president-elect, who considers them “refreshing.” Taking it to its ineluctable conclusion, a member of Trump’s staff recently said, “There’s no such thing as facts anymore.” Another announced that what’s important is not whether something is true, it’s whether enough people BELIEVE it’s true. Knowing full well the power of this proposition, they’re doing everything necessary to unbuild the wall between truth and fiction. As effective as it’s already been, it’ll be catastrophic when the disseminators have all the power. If you’re not worried, you’re assimilated.
So this is how it ends: when the people in charge see truth as inimical to their intentions, their leader producing lie upon lie amidst ominous threats of retribution against media and all who criticize, including Congressional Republicans. Some out of fear, as several Congressfolk have admitted, others out of gullibility, a critical mass of Americans is joining in or staying silent. Inducing silence by creating fear of reprisal has always preceded the march to tyranny. We’ve embarked on the road.