Oxford Dictionary named post-truth its word of the year. It defines it as: "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief."
That is the definition in many ways of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign. Let me be clear: I am not contesting the legitimacy of his Electoral College victory. He will be the next president as chosen by our system and my fellow citizens.
Like milliions of other Americans, though, I hope for a bit of a different Donald Trump.
As I watch his first couple of weeks as “just” the President-elect, I see no change in his reliance on a post-truth world. He did engage and helped save hundreds of jobs in Indiana and deserves credit for that. Still, we learned from that company’s union chief, after the pomp of the announcement, that it was not as many jobs as we first were told. While that was a wonderful thing for him to day.
Yesterday he announced, $50 billion/50 million job investment with a Japanese tech billionaire. But never mentioned that the investment was went public weeks before our election. Just a minor detail as he took credit for the investment.
He was elected to get the economy moving to create more jobs. He was elected to bring our country together, not drive us further apart. He was elected to keep us safe, not just from other country’s companies beating our pants off but from other countries, enemies of ours, pantsing us.
He yesterday fired a low-level transition aide, and son of his chosen national security advisor, because that aide was spreading false news, news that led a guy to walk into a DC pizza joint, armed, looking for what some Internet trolls’ claim was a conspiracy in tunnels under that pizzeria that are of a part of some conspiracy to rape and kidnap children. A syndicate they claimed run by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chair. I mean, really?
The young guy was fired, deservedly so. His father, the about-to-be national security advisor to the President, spreads fake news on his Twitter account too but, so far, he is remaining in place. Oh, and the President-elect is known to spread phony conspiracy theories too. For example, he claimed for years that our current president wasn’t born in this county. And, yesterday, he said Boeing is running up costs on the new Air Force One fleet, which isn’t even being built yet nor has a contract been awarded.
Why did Trump do that? I don’t know but there is speculation that it was because Boeing’s chairman criticized Trump’s planned policy of walking away from free trade deals about a half hour before his edict to “cancel” the contract came via, of course, tweet.
I toyed with the of writing a post making fun of fake news and tossing in a few of my own potential fake news story. But you know something? It is not funny.
It is not funny that our incoming President likes to spread false news, often in middle-of-the-night tweets. It is not funny that among his apparent men and women being considered to be his press secretary are people such as TV personality, radio talk show host and newspaper columnist Laura Ingraham who have no respect for the 1st Amendment and no regard for the mainstream press, despite often being paid by it.
Imagine someone with Ms. Ingraham’s beliefs briefing the press corps daily – or with whatever frequency the Trump Administration deems sufficient? We won’t be able to discern truth from falsehood or even post-truth.
As I said, I respect that Trump was elected by my fellow American voters. What I don’t respect is a continuation of lies we heard on the campaign. I am having trouble imagining four years of not knowing what to believe and not trusting our President to be telling us the truth.