When Did Political Facts Become Irrelevant In America?
I ended 2015 in the way I tried to spend much of the year. That is by having a great conversation with someone who had far more experience and background concerning topics of which I have an interest.
While at a New Year’s Eve Party I talked for over a half-hour with a woman I had just met about her work at the CDC in Atlanta and her recent research at UW-Madison. To underscore how great the conversation was I need mention we were really rather close to an amazing array of food spread out on a large table and never had a bite until we moved on to talk with others in the house. (She already has an invite for summer chats on the front lawn.)
We waded into the political fights over funding programs while working to alert the country on what needed to be prioritized. We both stressed the same point that this nation is no longer in agreement over what constitutes facts. And how sad it that!
No matter what the topic may be there seems to be the facts that the records and evidence supports, and then those ‘facts’ which are created by others for political theatre.
I have long argued that this nation no longer starts at the same foundation when talking about current events. As a teenager it was Walter Cronkite who reported the news stories that impacted our lives. He reported the headlines of the day, and stated to get a deeper understanding one should turn to their morning newspapers.
As an adult it is very clear as to why ‘Uncle Walter’ mattered so much. He allowed for a sense of commonality to guide us as to what the basic facts were to the news events that made up our world.
Today we have an entire news network designed to create a whole set of ‘facts’ to be followed up with the hour-after-hour distortion teams cranking out misinformation on conservative talk radio. I probably should not be then surprised that fact-checkers are looked at with disdain this campaign cycle when trying to correct the false record spun by presidential candidates.
The reason I bring this to my blog tonight is that Donald Trump “described voter fraud as a rampant problem” recently at a political rally. The facts are of course that the number of proven cases of election fraud is simply minuscule. That fact is not liberal or conservative, Republican or Democratic.
Rather it is just a fact that voting fraud in this nation is not a problem and instead is a political tool that is designed to be used for partisanship.
Trump went on to add to his falsehood–with his less than bright mobs cheering his every utterance–that “this voting system is out of control. You have people, in my opinion, that are voting many, many times”
For those of us who are serious about things that matter it is disturbing to see the uneducated and less informed in the land be used as an echo chamber to promote some partisan loudmouth. I will be the first to say that tactic does work–just look at the numbers who fill up a rally site for Trump. Or the poll numbers that seemingly reflect his standing in the Republican Party.
But what does this say about the nation we live in? Or the type of country we will leave to our children?