If you’ve listened to Donald Trump speak at any point over the past year and a half, you’ve likely heard him use the phrase “fake news.” It’s become one of his favorite rebuttals — so much so, in fact, that he claimed to have invented the term “fake news” in late October. Much like the man himself, this marvelously idiotic assertion is what happens when you combine boundless egotism and staggering ignorance.
By now, we should be accustomed to the GOP’s preferred way of advancing legislation through the chambers of Congress: the bills are crafted behind closed doors, seemingly without any input from the constituents for whom the legislation is ostensibly created. In due time, the reason for the secrecy becomes apparent when the details of the bill are finally revealed to the public, at which point the GOP is faced with a massive public backlash.
Thus far in Trump’s presidency, this formula has not been a successful one. Invariably, the public outcry forces enough congressional Republicans to withdraw their support for the bill, most often in the form of very public attacks of conscience.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post published the story of Jaime T. Phillips, a woman who approached the newspaper claiming to have engaged in a sexual relationship with Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate. Phillips told Post reporters that she and Moore had engaged in a sexual relationship, culminating in Phillips being forced to get an abortion when she was only 15 years old.
The allegation aligned perfectly with Moore’s apparent modus operandi (four women allege that Moore’s sexual misconduct took place when they were in their teens and Moore was in his thirties). Moreover, the hypocrisy of a pro-life, Bible-thumping, conservative Republican forcing his teenaged paramour to get an abortion would be extra ammunition for Moore’s political opponents.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Phillips’ story wasn’t true.
In the months following Trump’s inauguration, Congress had a singular focus: to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The goal was twofold; first, by repealing the ACA, GOP lawmakers would finally fulfill seven years’ worth of campaign promises to their constituents. And second, the elimination of Obamacare would free up a lot more money that could be used to offset that golden goose of the Republican Party: tax cuts.
“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
-James Baldwin, “Autobiographical Notes”
A large swath of the population has begun to define patriotism as unquestioning loyalty. Criticism of our society or our leadership, they claim, is an expression of hatred for our country and therefore must not be tolerated. Acknowledging that this country is not perfect, they assert, is not a simple exercise of free speech. It is tantamount to treason.
By and large, media outlets tend to lean in one direction or the other on the political spectrum. It’s a shrewd business move, really — the average consumer doesn’t just want a dull recitation of the facts. They like to be told what those facts represent; they want the information placed in context for them, and outlets are more than happy to oblige.
Consumers can always check the news wires (Reuters, AP and the like) for the latest information and use that information to inform their stance on a given issue. If we all did that, however, there would be no need for FOX News, no need for MSNBC; those outlets exist not to give us the news, but to tell us how we should feel about the news.
This is not ideal.
There are three tenets that comprise the notion of American exceptionalism. The first is that the history of America’s founding (as a bastion of freedom and acceptance for all, regardless of their political or religious leanings) imbues the United States with different DNA than that of every other country in the world.
The second is that America’s purpose is to serve as a force for positive change in the world. And the third is that the first two tenets combined serve as incontrovertible proof that the United States is naturally superior to other nations.
As many of you have heard by now, there’s been quite the kerfuffle about this year’s Shakespeare in the Park production of ‘Julius Caesar’; specifically, its use of a Donald Trump lookalike in the role of Julius Caesar. The backlash is coming almost exclusively from the right, and the play, along with Kathy Griffin’s photo shoot, are being held up as evidence to support the narrative that liberals are bullying and threatening anyone who doesn’t agree with them, so they’re the REAL Nazis!
This is, of course, nonsense.
I was walking my dog Max a little while ago, because he’s a good boy when he’s not eating everything in sight. I got to a crosswalk, and as I waited for the light to change I saw a girl walking down the street, dressed in that “retro ‘90s” style.You know what I’m talking about: mid-level socks with frilly tops, tennis shoes from some weird-ass, extinct brand like Avia or Etonic, purple nylon windbreaker with an elastic bottom that makes that swshh-swshh-swshh sound when you walk, hair in a scrunchie. The retro ‘90s fashion trend is as bizarre as the one we just finished with the ‘80s, but without any of the charm.
Anyway, there she was, dressed like she was about to go play with a Skip-It in the park. I took notice, but I’ve seen enough people dressed like this that it’s not a particularly strange occurrence. What was strange was how she was walking: she had her arms straight out from her sides like she was about to engage in some light calisthenics. In fact, she wasn’t even walking; she was strolling. Ambling, even; in fact, I daresay she was meandering.