While I do not shy away from politics on my social media accounts, I’ve tried to keep my political blog posts to a minimum. However, this post is political, and regardless of your views, I hope you will read on.
The True Danger of Fake News
By Sara Codair
No matter what side of the political divide people stand on, it is hard for them to deny that America is divided. What people do seem to disagree on, at least in comments, tweets, and Facebook posts, is what the source of this division is, who is encouraging it, and which side holds the majority.
While I don’t believe Trump created the divide from scratch, I am not alone in believing that he engineered its explosive growth. In his Atlantic article titled, “What Effective Protest Could Look Like,” David Frum, a former Bush-administration speechwriter, says “Trump wants to identify all opposition to him with the black-masked crowbar thugs who smashed windows and burned a limo on his inauguration day.” After an intense debate on an article about why Trump is not a Hitler-figure, I realized Trump had already done what Frum claims he wants. In an attempt to discredit me, his supporters kept bringing up allegedly violent liberal protestors who destroy people’s property. They wrote as if I been there, destroying property and causing violence even though I’ve always believed violence undermines and delegitimizes protests.
In this political climate, the actions of those resisting Trump are being held under a virtual magnifying glass that highlights the worst of their actions. Frum writers, “Protesters may be up against something never before seen in American life: a president and an administration determined to seize on unrest to legitimate repression. Those protesters are not ready for it. Few Americans are.” I agree with him. We are not prepared for the information-manipulating Trump brought to the presidency with him despite all the warnings we have received from writers of dystopian fiction.
Whenever I try convince Trump supporters that they are being played, and/or that the liberals are not the evil baby-killers Trump portrays them as, they laugh at me. They tell me I am blinded by fake news and by snakes in sheep’s clothing and/or accuse me of living in my own little fantasy world. They say the “violent protestors” and “liberal media” are to blame. One person called The New York Times and The Washington Post liberal rags. Others called MSNBC and CNN fear-mongering fake news networks.
I won’t deny that the media has played its role in the growing divide, but I suspect they are being played, or possibly paid, by Trump. However, I cannot prove that last statement and will not even attempt to in this post because it is almost irrelevant. What matters is this: fake news exists on both sides. Regardless of who propagates it and which media outlets are actually fake news, it is out there. It exists. It is making the divide between American’s extremely difficult to bridge.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to argue with Trump supports, trying to get them to at least consider my point of view. What always prevents me from getting through to them are, believe it or not, facts. If I cite facts from a publication I consider reputable, like The New York Times, the Trump supporters will tell me it is fake news and either cite a conservative news cite that I consider to be fake news, or deflect completely by brining up mistakes made by and/or outright lies about past presidents (or presidential candidates). They like to assume that since I oppose Trump, I am a big fan of “Killary” and her husband.
Yes – I was not protesting somethings Bill Clinton did in the early 90’s like I am protesting Trump. Why? Because I was a child in the early 90’s. I was a sheltered, innocent child who cared more about playing outside and making up stories than what some snobby, rich grown-ups were doing in what might as well have been a different world. When I tell them that much, the Trump supporters either stop responding, or resort to personal attacks and/or completely irrational statements.
Some of the Trump supporters historical counter arguments date back before Bill Clinton. They go back to the civil war and beyond. When history fails to convince me, they resort to what I perceive as nonsense. For example, I told one person I didn’t care which political party had ties to the KKK in the 1800’s because it was completely irrelevant to the argument were having. This person responded by telling my the democrats had a new KKK called Black Lives Matter.
Another person told me everything I believe about the democratic party was wrong. They said democrats don’t care about the marginalized and minorities but are using programs like welfare and food stamps to enslave them.
Someone brought up the proverb:
I said that is what the democrats are trying to do with affordable public college.
They thought college was a joke and “not good enough” and didn’t seem to care about successes I’ve witnessed working at community colleges.
Whether you think I’m right, a deluded “libtard,” or something in-between, I hope you can at least see that I seem to live in a different reality than the people I was arguing with. They think the democrats are evil and out to get them and have been conspiring to take their freedom. They see Trump as a savior and nothing I say, not matter how factual, can make them see otherwise because they claim facts they don’t agree with aren’t facts at all, but fake news. Perhaps those people, or you, might accuse me of the same thing.
As a person who was born and raised Catholic, and who still practices Catholicism and believes in the teachings of Jesus, I often feel alienated by other Christians. To me, and to many of my Catholic friends, Trump is the antithesis of our beliefs. We struggle to see how anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus could follow a man so filled with green, hate and arrogance.
Last weekend, I posted this tweet in reply to Fox Business’.
And here are some of the replies I received:
These people and I seem to exist in different realities, and I do not know how to bridge the gap between us without comprising my own values and faith.
America is divided.
As Abraham Lincoln said “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
How much longer can America stand if her citizens remain so divided?
If I do not find myself to depressed or discouraged, I may write further posts exploring some of the issues I touched on briefly but did not fully explore in this post, like Christianity, Media, and Dystopian stories. Thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment, but please try to be respectful. Keep an open mind. Please.