We are living in surreal times, where truth is treated as a variable and negotiable commodity. The D is unable to distinguish between what he believes (and wishes) to be true, and what is factually and historically accurate. Unfortunately, his version of the truth is given credence by the gravitas of his position, and by sheer hubris. Our communication landscape is shifting: He that dominates the conversation tends to be most effective, regardless of logic or facts.
I recently read an excellent VOX Post that posits that the problem is NOT that Trump is lying (although he is); but that he is crowding out the truth by dominating and driving the conversation. The article explains that liars try to replace the truth, which is hard; whereas bullshitters have the easier task of drawing so much attention to themselves that the truth becomes a backstory. The media is forced to focus on the bullshit, and the truth is drowned out.
This rings true, and is dismaying for those of us that grew up with a certain sense of fairness and justice– that working hard, doing your homework and being ‘right’ matters. Today, the bullies are in control , and we seem to have shifted to a new level of intellectual laziness from which we may never recover. We hear and heed the loudest and most belligerent voices: voices that drown out those of the more well-informed nerds, scientists and rule-followers, who have done their homework and anchor their arguments to facts.
This shift of attention from facts to belligerent bullshit is particularly detrimental and disenfranchising to women. It is virtually impossible for a woman to be assertive, let alone dominate a conversation, without being shut down and/or tagged with any one of the many derogatory labels we have for strong women (relatively kind examples are ‘bossy’, ‘nasty’ or ‘unlikable’). Nevertheless, we persist.
Most schools have a no-tolerance approach to bullying, but those policies aren’t effective if the principal is the biggest bully on campus. It begs the question: How do we wrestle the microphone away from the bully-in-chief?
Even if the White House DOES turn over tapes of The D’s conversations in the Oval Office; and even if those tapes paint him as a huge liar – will it matter? Lordy, I hope so.