Inauguration Writing Advent Day 12-Prompt Provided By Nikki Tyree
“What stands out for me is the incredibly scary increase in false information being spread and preached. Even as someone who studies and practices in the mental health field, I struggle sitting with how others can so blatantly disregard facts and live in denial.”
Do you know what post-truth politics are? If you do, I commend you as I had no clue what this meant when I stumbled across the word in a New York Times article today.
Once I read the definition, it couldn’t have been more fitting to use this term to describe Donald Trump’s approach to his great border wall.
Post-truth is defined as relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal beliefs.
In other terms, post-truth are thoughts that are spread as facts but are not actual facts. They are thoughts delivered with such urgency of truth and that align with the beliefs of those listening in such a way that actual facts become a moot point or are ignored.
And if our president does anything well, it is providing a damn good post-truth.
The Great Wall Of Lies Trump Built
If you know anything about the man we call president, you know he promised us a wall.
In 2016, one of the biggest campaign points Trump focused on was his pledge to build a concrete based border wall spanning the length of the border between the United States and Mexico, roughly 2,000 miles.
Trump touted his wall for the last four years. Another statement Trump liked throwing around was that Mexico would be footing the bill for said wall. Here we are, four years later and Trump has made little progress on his border wall.
First of all, the parts of the border that have been built up during Trump's regime are made from steel and resembles fencing. A far cry from concrete.
Second, when Trump took office in 2017, there were 654 miles of fencing type barrier along the border. As of October 2020, there are 669 miles of fencing type barrier along the border. That is a whopping increase of 15 miles and a tad bit short of the Trump promise to build this wall along the entire border, a total of 2,000 miles.
How does Trump keep his supporters with the wool over their eyes regarding this wall that lives only in his imagination? With his skill in post-truth.
Trump constantly talked about the endless possibilities of safety and order that his wall would bring to the American people. He mentioned that his wall would end the immigration crisis (which he declared) at the Mexican border and keep his supporters safe from illegal immigrants. These points all spoke to the beliefs held by many Trump supporters regarding immigration. Therefore, believing without seeing became easier as Trump provided a safe haven for these supporters to rest their logic.
Trump also uses post-truth in the manner of exaggerating his achievements. While Trump has only built 15 extra miles of border fencing during his presidency, he has replaced 350 miles of existing border fencing. Without distinguishing between the two, it is easy to slip into a speech that you have already produced close to 500 miles of border fencing.
We only go searching further into stories we do not already believe. I find it safe to state that many of Trump’s supporters are indeed believers in his rhetoric. Therefore, further searching in his statements seems to be deemed unnecessary.
Defense Budgets Diverted For Less Safety Overall
Let us not forget Trump not only promised us a wall but a free wall. The president stated Mexico would be paying for his 2,000-mile-long concrete wall and he used this as another selling point when running for president.
Then he never spoke about who would pay for that wall again.
Trump continued to include small pieces of hype speech regarding his wall throughout his career but, we never heard much about the budgeting of said wall. I am not surprised our president didn’t want to share much about how this wall was being paid for because, after promises that Mexico would be paying, that also was proven to be a lie.
America has paid for every penny of our border wall between Mexico built during the Trump presidency. Customs and Border Protection have shelled out 5 billion dollars regarding new and replacement border fencing. In addition to funding from Customs and Border Protection, an additional 10 billion dollars were diverted from the Department of Defense in order to fund the wall.
Fun fact about that DOD money? Trump declared the border control a national emergency after Congress refused to give him more funding for the border wall. This granted the president the power to go above the heads of Congress and divert these funds from the Department of Defense.
Post-Truth Blinding Supporters, Awakening Others
“When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create a spectacle in its place.” -Timothy Snyder, The American Abyss
Trump has used his tactics of post-truth to turn a nation into believers. He has convinced his followers that facts do not matter unless spoken from his mouth. He uses keywords when speaking in order to draw attention to or take attention away from a certain subject.
This is why Trump supporters retain loyalty. They do not do the same digging into the details of Trump’s great wall and, if they do, it can be excused away as coming from fake or false news outlets. Again, proposed fake and false new outlets as declared by Trump.
As stated above, once we believe something it is rare we seek out what could be other truths to fill the space of what we claim to know. But, if we do NOT believe in something or begin to search further into the words and actions of those in power, facts begin to change.
This truth brings to light the many lies we have endured under the leadership of our current president. The most recent being Trump's claims of a stolen election and twitterings of voter fraud.
We will find the truth and blast it from the ceilings until your ears bleed, Mr. President. I hope you saved some wool from those eyes you tried so hard to cover, winter is coming and it is a cold one.
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it — always.” -Gandhi