Image from Eastern Washington University
My fellow citizens,
The CDC, under Trump, has reportedly decided to banish 7 words from its lexicon, at least when submitting the agency’s budget. They include: fetus, transgender, diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, and science-based. This, of course, follows a pattern including the elimination of climate change data on government websites.
I think Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University’s School of Medicine, put it quite well: “We cannot replace truth with bias – the nation cannot survive on a steady diet of bullshit.” Indeed.
There are many things to be worried about with Trump and his administration, but the outright denial of facts and continual lying are maybe the most disturbing. He and his minions dismiss inconvenient facts, or facts that contradict the story they are trying to tell and the bill of goods they are trying to sell the public – or at least his base. It has become the new norm. Adding to this “diet of bullshit” is the Republican party leadership’s equally disturbing and calculating detachment from truth. Never mind that economists of all political stripes say that the revised tax code adds $1.5 trillion to the debt and hands the upper echelons and corporations the lion’s share of its benefits. Forget that the majority of people don’t like the bill. The leadership maintain differently and say this is what the people want. So too with the abandonment of net neutrality rules, which is universally opposed including by those that were the inventors – if there is such a thing – of the original internet. And, again, which is opposed by the majority of Americans. We’ve seen it also with the ongoing efforts at voter suppression based on non-existent voter fraud. It’s enough that they say it exists.
It began with Trump saying he had the largest inauguration crowds and won the popular vote – if the votes of illegal aliens were thrown out – and has continued unabated. Included in the “diet of bullshit” is a side dish of installing agency heads who, in several cases, viscerally opposed the very agencies they now lead. They lie too and simply carry out corporate marching orders.
The net effect of all this is a national detachment from reality. Trump, his administration, his base, and the blowhards and shills that represent it have created a false front based on invalid counterarguments with absolutely no founding – Kelly Ann Conway’s “alternate facts.” This, of course, has made it easy to divide the country and keep it divided. The denial of the truth and concomitant rallying cry of “fake news” has made it much easier to shove through an agenda that’s not merely one of political difference, but which is harmful to the very fabric of our society and form of government. It also makes it dangerously easy to start a nuclear or conventional war and continue building a police-state.
When truth is what someone says it is and can’t be proved or disproved, then those that make the agenda and lead the nation are free to do what they want, because there’s no standard by which to hold them accountable. Of course, this is rather ironic, given the far right’s insistence of the existence of absolute rights and wrongs that lay at the base of much of their thinking, for example the evangelical voice. By sweeping away science-based and evidence-based standards, they throw open the door to “voodoo economics,” fantastical “science,” and religious mumbo-jumbo as legitimate national guideposts. It’s one thing to disagree over a subject and factual interpretations/logical conclusions, but it’s a completely different thing to devalue truth, fact and science by denying the scientific method, logic and reason in order to win the day.
“Bullshit” must be called on Trump, his administration and the Republican leadership each and every time, and no legitimacy given to their perverted point of view. You can’t argue with crazy, or with socio-political Luddites, because there is no agreed upon basis to resolve it. With Trump it seems to be a mental condition. With his minions and the Republican leadership, it seems to be a calculated tactic. Our government and its leadership have drifted far from the moorings and, unless we act and speak out continuously, all we’ll be able to do is watch our world drift further out into the sea of insanity with us in tow.