Alternative facts, the cult of personality, and fighting back.
It’s far too easy to make 1984 comparisons with the current administration‘s actions. The latest: putting a freeze on all social media accounts, media releases and new grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Of course. If you want to sow distrust about scientifically-proven issues such as climate change the best thing to do is to stop the scientific research and grant-giving agency about said scientific research.
And that’s just the latest. Monday, surrounded largely by a cabal of white men, the president reinstated a discarded policy that prevented foreign agencies and governments who get funds from the U.S. from providing — or even referring women to other organizations to get — abortions.
But the comparisons don’t exactly work. After all, it’s not as if this stuff is happening in secret. Yeah, the president certainly has a cult of personality and a weekend appearance by the president’s counsel advocating “alternative facts” in the fact of actual, uhm, facts, echoes the historical revisionism that George Orwell wrote about.
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, tells Chuck Todd that the Press Secretary used 'alternative facts' in his…www.nbcnews.com
At the moment, however, our memories aren’t being subject to “re-education” — so far as we know. We still have an independent media, and the president is still sparring with “enemies” in the public sphere that is Twitter.
Even Chuck Todd — CHUCK TODD — pushed back saying that those “alternative facts” are, in fact, falsehoods. And the New York Times took it a step further, saying that the president repeated lies — yes, lies — about illegal votes in the most recent election.
But then something like decreeing the inauguration the “Day of Patriotic Devotion” comes along. It’s not like presidential decrees are uncommon. It’s something presidents do all the time.
Here’s the thing: I wonder if in some way the president’s acts of hubris and intimidation are having an opposite effect. I keep hearing about people who are now standing up for others in the face of intimidation by racists and bigots. I’m seeing people blogging and posting on social media, calling and writing their congressmen, and demanding change.
I know I just downloaded an app to make all of that a lot easier.
We don’t a presidential decree borrowed from Woodrow Wilson (our last “Day of Patriotic Devotion” dates from Wilson as the U.S. entered World War I) to inspire us. We’ve got actions every single day to remind us that keeping America great means resisting.
I, for one, am planning on reclaiming my role as a part of the fourth estate.
It’s only way to ensure that the dystopia Orwell wrote about won’t become reality.