Thursday, September 06, 2018
No Such Thing As Truth
“The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” --George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
"What is truth?" retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him". --John 18:38, NIV (2011)
"When we act, we create our own reality." - Karl Rove
The New York Times publishes a bombshell from an anonymous "senior White House official". In it, the snitch claims to be one of the "adults in the room" saving America from unnamed acts that President Donald Trump was to have perpetuated.
The response from both Trump and his supporters is that this is clearly fake news. Everything not uttered by Trump is fake news, and even some things Trump did say, was recorded saying, are also fake news if they don't fit the mood of the moment. Even the readers of the usually sober-minded NATIONAL REVIEW lean towards the ridiculous notion this is some kind of ruse (check the comments, if you dare). Never mind that the impeccably trustworthy Bob Woodward is publishing a book that affirms most or all of Mr. Anonymous's accusations. That's clearly fake, too. Fake, fake, fake, it's all fake.
This reminds me of that saying: "if you meet an asshole in the morning, you met an asshole. If you meet nothing but assholes all day long...YOU'RE the asshole."
Trump, of course, is saying that this is fake while simultaneously demanding the NYT turn over its source and darkly musing that he has to change the libel laws. This is not a new theme for a man who can't stand even modest criticism, and who earns buckets of immodest criticism every day.
Look, I'm sympathetic to why people initially voted for Donald Trump. It was a choice between a hellishly corrupt, entitled harridan defender of all things status quo and a hellishly corrupt entitled bastard promising sweeping change. If you wanted change, or just wanted to stick it to the people who have been pissing on you and calling you "deplorable" and the like for about forty years, it was actually a pretty simple choice.
But if you still support the man and his administration now, there's some end you dearly want and you don't give the slightest fuck what means are used to attain it.
For evangelicals, it's obviously Mike Pence. He's your wet dream of a President-in-waiting, and absolutely everything he has done in his adult life has been geared towards the Oval Office. Nobody in Trump's motley crew terrifies me as much as this man, and he is why I really DON'T want Donald Trump impeached. Evil and stupid is one thing. Evil and smart is on a whole different level.
But for many people, it seems as if the sole motivating factor behind their unwavering support of Dear Leader is simply "liberal tears". If you can't see why this is a bad thing, you shouldn't be allowed to vote, and I'm not kidding. I'd say the same if the situation was flipped. It's not about crushing the other side. It's about coming together for the good of the country and creating solutions that benefit the highest number of people possible. We can disagree on what "the good of the country" and "solutions" are. But that's not what's happening anymore. "You're a Democrat? You suck!" You're a Republican? Where's your white sheet?"
John McCain, whom Anonymous referenced in his screed, seems to have been one of the last American politicians to understand this core truth about politics. There were positions he took that I hated -- he was a warmonger of the first order -- but what I can't help but respect is that he would accept an idea from anywhere, even the opposition, if it was a good idea. That he hated Trump is incidental: the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, and that's something the Democrats fawning over his memory would do well to remember. At the same time, McCain can be both a warmonger and a war hero. He was, indisputably, both. Nuance seems to have vanished into the same hole that swallowed truth and civility.
It is no exaggeration to say that Americans now live in two completely different universes, each with their own acceptable, immutable laws. Value statements on both sides are treated as if they were factual, and there's no objective truth left. And when someone comes along waving a big banner called TRUTH, one side or the other will reject it out of hand, no matter what it is. This deep, deep distrust is one of the biggest reasons I feel in my gut that the United States of America won't be united too much longer.