David Briceno: Make Truth Great Again
“Truth isn’t truth.”
— Rudy Guiliani, lawyer for the president on NBC’s Meet the Press (Aug. 19, 2018)
This president has serious issues with the truth. Trump lies. And he lies a lot. It’s hard not to have noticed it at some point.
The Washington Post, which has been keeping numerical track, determined he has already given false or misleading information a whopping total to date of over 15,400 times. Each uttered prodigious falsehood has been authenticated as such by in-house fact checkers. While it would suffice to simply call him a chronic liar and condemn his lying and Trump himself and just leave it at that, there’s more here than just meets the eye.
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Trump mostly did “Make America Great Again,” but he or somebody needs to make truth great again (Evidently, Trump could care less whenever he’s constantly making things up).
Times have changed. Everyone’s now in a new decade. Quite a few people feel things have changed for the better. Things might be better now, but worsen in times to come. But society’s used to change, having undergone major transformations in just the span of a few decades with rapid beneficial advances in technology and science. Inventions can change a life. And have for countless people. They alter lives. They replace the old with the new. And they often destroy long-held truths. Science and technology can make untruths true and truths false. Hundreds of examples abound as proof.
For instance, before the early 20th century, when anybody said, “People can’t fly,” it was accepted as true. No one disputed that. That was a fact. Today, however, stating “People can’t fly” simply isn’t true anymore. It’s false. Due to jet packs, aircraft, hang gliders, hovercraft, among other air transportation methods, anyone stating seriously that people are unable to fly would now be considered lying (or ignorant). So, technology and science can turn something once true into something false and vice versa. Nowadays, because of change, Truth isn’t always the Truth. Likewise, lies don’t always stay a lie forever.
Similarly, the internet’s changed much of what’s traditionally been regarded as true and false. For one, it’s fundamentally altered the nature of people’s political reality. Not surprisingly, the Internet now worldwide is a required tool for giving and receiving one-sided propaganda. And because of the computer, truth hasn’t strengthened, but instead weakened and has become more vulnerable. Attacking false Internet political ideas is futile since just one online lie can spawn a million related lies. Truth is no match for numerous lies since all attempts to achieve superior victoriousness through vicious attacks can trump any truth. And so Truth can turn into falsehood quickly online through sustained attack. As a result, truth is no longer as stable, safe and secure as before. And since change always happens online, nothing’s permanent anymore — not even truth itself.
Relative truth has acquired a different version of itself within the Trump Administration. At present, truth constitutes something both true and false at the same time: T = TF. So, lies are no longer lies, but “alternative truths” instead. And Truth and non-truth have become indistinct from each other. During past administrations, a fact was clearly either one or the other: T or F. Now the once black-or-white separation is gone and once distinct opposites have become seriously blurred especially in this particular administration’s decision making. What’s happened as a result is that because T = TF, what’s true often equals what’s false and what’s false can be also true both carrying the same weight. And so because truth isn’t actually the truth anymore, no one can lie or tell the truth indisputively because they’re both mixed, blended and indistinguishable from what’s T or F. Confusion often results. Thus, no one can either be absolutely wrong or right on many policy issues in the Trump administration. The TF dilemma should be cause for concern, especially whenever a government can hardly differentiate between what’s the truth and what isn’t or even what’s right or wrong in its pressing decisions.
When Trump supporters were polled by CBS last month and asked where do they go for their source for accurate information, nine Trump supporters out of 10 responded: “Trump.” That’s surprising. Yet, shocking because Trump hardly tells the truth about anything, and yet millions are relying on a known liar for accurately truthful information. If anything, this disturbing revelation shows how much Trump’s amorality influences the masses. He’s created alternative realities for millions of supporters.
In the end, a truth-challenged, amoral society inevitably winds up rudderless, adrift and sunken. And when any society normalizes the abhorrent, aberrant and amoral behavior of its leaders, that particular society becomes toxic and gets sick — even sicker. Instead of MAGA, let’s Make Truth Great Again. Vote this election year.
David Briceno lives in Alta Sierra.
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