How Trump is making himself the truth
In the first press briefing from the White House, Press Secretary Sean Spicer took the time to berate a reporter who incorrectly claimed that the MLK Jr. bust was absent from the Oval Office. The reporter tweeted saying, essentially, that a Secret Service agent must have been in front of it. Mr. Spicer’s rant continued onto the media as a whole for reporting facts about President Trump’s inauguration. These facts, as I’m sure you already know, were simply that his crowd size was smaller than previous inaugurations. The entire scene was bizarre and sad at the same time. Even scary once, when Spicer said: “We’re going to hold the press accountable”. The entire scene was inappropriate for a setting such as the White House, to say the least. However, the most troubling and idiocy came the next day when Kellyanne Conway said: “You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary is giving alternative facts to that”.
First of all, let’s look at the definition of a “fact”, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition:
“A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality.”
Or we can go with the Google definition of a “fact”:
“A thing that is undisputedly the case”
So, there is no such thing as an “alternative fact(s)”. There is no alternative objective reality. It simply doesn’t and can’t exist. It pervades both logic and reality. To try and do so is what occurred in George Orwell’s book, 1984.
In Orwell’s book, the world is controlled by three superstates who each have more or less the same totalitarian form of government. They stay in perpetual war all the time in order to give their societies a purpose to exist and continue on the way they do. In Oceania, in which the main character lives, Winston Smith, the government has changed reality by using doublethink. Doublethink is believing two contradictory beliefs at the same time. In addition, the Oceanian government uses indoctrination and the authority of the State. These three things combine to form
This is why Conway’s comments are scary. While what Conway doing is not exactly like doublethink it is teetering on the edge of it. Because they are saying that Trump’s inauguration was larger than it actually despite photographs and other indisputable evidence.
This might seem, at the moment, just another crazy comment coming from the Trump camp but it is dangerous, extremely dangerous in fact. Furthermore, this presentation of “alternative facts” has been on display for the entire duration of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The most glaring example is when Mr. Trump claimed in late 2015 that he saw a video of Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks. When no video existed Mr. Trump claimed there was a mass conspiracy in the media to make the video unavailable. Most recently, President Trump spoke at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia and, falsely claimed, that the media had falsified the division between him and the intelligence community.
These claims of his simply aren’t true but in the minds of Trump supporters, they are facts. This is where it begins to get alarmingly dangerous due to Trump’s word becoming truth while he has branded the media as “dishonest” or as “fake news” among others. By doing so he makes himself and his cronies the only purveyors of “truth” and shuts out real facts, instead presenting “alternative facts”, also known as lies. This gets even more worrying when you consider what Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, just said: “Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.”
Mr. Trump’s and his camp’s claims could have been shaken off during the campaign season but we can’t dismiss them now and ignore his dangerous perversion of reality. He is the President of the United States and we must stop him and his associates lies before they begin to become the only “truth” to some people. We have to take this seriously and not as just one more crazy thing from Trump or his associates and move on from after a few memes and a month or so. If we don’t then we may find ourselves living in such a world as Orwell’s in which the government’s word is “truth” no matter what our senses or reality presents to us.