Monday, October 12, 2020

Alternative Facts Are on the Ballot This Year

 I've been rewatching some of NYPD Blue on Hulu, and here's what I noticed. Every single show is about the police getting people to confess without consulting with lawyers. They get these people, read them their rights, and then persuade them to waive them. They make them false offers of getting leniency if they confess, and then send them off to be convicted and go to prison.

The only thing I've really learned from watching this is, holy crap, if I ever get arrested, the first thing I'm gonna do is speak to a lawyer. I'm not telling the police anything, whether I'm innocent or guilty. I'm getting the best advice I can and then protecting myself as best I can. 

America is different. We listen to the same story every time, and we never seem to learn from it. Four years ago, we were horrified by Hillary Clinton's emails. How could she write email to this person or that on her own server? (Now there's a growing list of Trumpies who did the same thing, and it means nothing, what with the President committing a new outrage each and every day.)

Meanwhile, Donald Trump was telling us he'd release his taxes. We all know how that worked out. He said if he were President Hillary would go to prison. We all know how that worked out too. He promised us a new wall, and there is no new wall. He promised us Mexico would pay for this new wall, and there is no payment from Mexico either.

Trump made the worst calculation of his brief political career last week, when he announced that he would not push a COVID relief bill for America until he was re-elected. He finally had a chance to turn things around and show he cared about us, but he blew it. He chickened out of a virtual debate, virtual because the whole world knew he had COVID. If anyone was still on the fence, they've jumped over to the Democratic side. 

Now President Trump is telling us he's cleared for public events. He's telling us he's no longer contagious. He's telling us that he's immune, though in fact there have been people who've gotten COVID more than once. Science is fake news, concludes the President, and he goes out and prepares for more superspreader events. 

Over and over he lies to us, and over and over millions of Americans are fine with it. It's NYPD Blue syndrome. "Trust me," he says, and they do. Over and over again. I have a great medical plan, he says, but we've repeatedly seen he has none. I'll protect people with pre-existing conditions he says, but he's in court right now trying to overturn Obamacare, the only actual instrument that protects Americans with pre-existing conditions. 

And he gets away with it, over and over again, and it doesn't matter how many times he tells the same lies. And there are really very few rationalizations for it better than an old LBJ quote:

If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.

It's racism, bigotry, and xenophobia, pure and simple. Hitler had Germany hate the Jews. Right wing ideologues have long targeted The Other, the foreigner, whoever that may be. We have a neo nazi rally and Trump says there are fine people on both sides. He champions Confederate monuments and generals. He condemns BLM as people are murdered in the streets. 

There is a war on truth in our country right now, and the truth is losing. The only truth that will effectively change things will be an election in which Trump's voted out in overwhelming numbers. It won't change his mind, of course. Maybe he'll start a Trump network to rival Fox. Ever since Kellyanne Conway introduced us to "alternative facts" the truth hasn't mattered that much anyway.

The outlandish nature of Trump's lies, though, repeated over and over, will not pass muster if we stand up to them. This is our chance.

Don't forget to vote, and don't forget to tell all your friends and relatives to do the same.

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