In a political and societal climate of “alternative facts” and fake news, getting to the truth is exhaustingly challenging now more than ever.
With just the click of a button, false ‘news’ articles can spread like wildfire and give legitimacy, even if based in falsehoods, to whomever wants to believe it.
While conspiracy theories and inaccurate information isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, never in the history of America has the system of truth and fact checking been under such assault.
Imagine then the dismay after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States, continues to believe the already debunked claim that 3 to 5 million people illegally voted in the 2016 Presidential Election.
This all in response to him losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million.
Spicer said President Trump’s stance was based on “studies” and “evidence that has been presented to him.” He also cited a Pew study from 2008 that he said found 14 percent of people who voted that year were not U.S. citizens.
That study was concluded to be largely debunked, according to The Washington Post and numerous other reports, and actually cites the number of outdated and/or illegally registered citizens.
Those numbers in no way present any tangible proof of active mass voter fraud, as there are millions of legally registered voters who often sit out elections. The idea that 3 to 5 million illegal voters would go out of their way to cheat the system in an attempt to sway the 2016 Presidential Election, of all the elections in the history of our voting system, is farcical at best.
There’s “concern” and then there’s delusion.
Trump does not believe 3 million people voted illegally anymore than he believes he’s actually qualified to be the leader of the free world. Who can forget the look of shock and fright on his face on election night when he delivered his victory speech?
He was just as shocked as we all were.
The real truth is that President Trump is a bonafide egomaniac who will do and say anything to make himself feel good about himself. Egomania can be described as one who “follows his own ungoverned impulses and is possessed by delusions of personal greatness and lack of appreciation, perhaps amounting to persecution.”
Trump made sure during his first TV interview as president with ABC News’ David Muir to mention his inauguration’s crowd size.
“This crowd was massive,” Trump told Muir while pointing to a photo of his inauguration. “Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.”
Or, to put it Sean Spicer’s language: “This was the largest crowd to ever witness an inauguration — period.”
With a fragile ego and excruciatingly thin skin, it comes as no surprise that Trump and his handlers would continue to perpetuate these lies and cause segments of the American population to lose faith in our ‘free’ government system.
Whether it’s dodging alleged ties to Russia, evading his tax returns or conjuring up racist rumors about former President Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship, Trump has a life’s record of being allergic to truth and transparency.
After all, this is the same man who phoned a reporter and pretended to be his own publicist in an effort to get favorable press.
Mark D’Antonio, a Trump biographer, suggests that America’s newly minted leader is not only a wolf in sheep’s clothing but literally obsessed with himself. D’Antonio told Vox this week:
He’s an actor who’s been playing himself for his entire life, in much the same way John Wayne played himself in every role. And it’s worked so well for him, playing this role of a leader and businessman, that he transitioned seamlessly into his new role as an outspoken candidate and a risk-taker. Enough people bought the act, and he managed to get elected.”
I’d say the kind of risk-taking he displayed on the campaign trail is consistent with who he is as a businessman and as a human being. He’s always refused to be like other people when it comes to manners and respect for others and loyalty to the truth. I’ve always seen him as a man who defines himself by the number of norms he can violate. He’s kind of a barbarian in that way — he gets a thrill out of disturbing other people and proving that he doesn’t have to go along with what other people expect.
Suggesting such levels of mass voter fraud, without any evidence to support it, and subsequently ordering an investigation when he is already president makes Trump look like both a sore winner and a confused leader with a bruised ego.
And while Press Secretary Spicer tried to clarify that Trump’s investigation is not so much about this past election as it is about improving an outdated voter registry, it doesn’t take a genius to see that it’s all a political clean up of Trump’s impulsive messes.
Despite the absurdity of Trump’s many political flubs, it’s important that we do not lose focus of what’s truly at stake for the American people — particularly those on the fringes of America and at the mercy of its well-oiled machine that is white supremacy.
America cannot afford a dictator who conspires on the behalf of self-interests and masquerades as a politically incorrect savior for the American people.
Though some would like to believe that America’s democracy is impenetrable and can’t be dismantled, they are sadly mistaken. America morphing into a scene straight out of The Purge isn’t an alternative fact — it’s a real possibility.
As someone concerned for this country’s safety both domestically and internationally, I can’t help but pause in astonishment at America’s current state of affairs.
There are many threats to our country, particularly those who are most vulnerable to discrimination, bias and the evils that threaten to make this country and world less free. But as the days roll on, it’s clear that the greatest danger to America is occupying its highest office.
And with his giant ego, he’s not too hard to find.