The biggest danger Trump presents to modern America is his blatant disregard for the truth.
The Washington Post, a historic defender of democratic values, totes the slogan “Democracy dies in darkness”. Trump’s media ban, the rhetoric of “fake news” sources, and defunding of research institutions like the EPA and CDC accompany the hundreds of other anti-democratic microaggressions of his administration. This presidency is undoubtedly anti-media— however, Trump’s ‘fake news rants’ are dismissed as normal, typical.
Facts should never be politicized
But this is not normal. Facts should never be politicized, which is what they’ve turned into nowadays, in this world of increasingly partisan politics. It’s difficult to comprehend the descension into anti-intellectualism that’s rapidly occurred throughout this administration: when news sources and media are portrayed as “fake” or illegitimate, distrust in information emerges, and a distrust in journalism emerges.
I remember speaking with a friend about Trump’s most recent tweets of the day, and he notably shrugged and said, “At least that one was factual, Trump has a great point there”. But that shouldn’t—that can’t—be our standard: that occasionally, a statement is based on objective fact, as opposed to the politicized nature of modern day information.
Of course, the administration has had their fair share of ‘alternative fact’ scandals, but misinformation isn’t even the utmost concern. By turning genuine facts into narrative-ridden mantras, the administration has made issues even more polarized.
Our Anti-Democratic Administration: When Did Facts Turn Political?
Partisanship is common, yes, but partisanship nowadays is vicious, visceral, divisive. Polls show that Americans share more opinions than we’d all imagine, even on controversial subjects such as gun control. So why can’t we, as Americans, realize that?
This isn’t a partisan issue. Democratic values like truth, education, doing what’s best for the citizenry: this is the opposite of a partisan issue. There are supporters and opponents of the Trump administration in both major parties, and there’s plenty of news about his actions, beliefs, and more. But at its core, the lens that the Trump administration views politics through is purely anti-intellectual.
There’s more to partisan politics than an anti-knowledge administration. But no administration should ever oppose information, or oppose educating the masses. The idea of a liberal and conservative narrative is true: it always has been. But when the narrative is touted as the only reliable source of knowledge, American citizens end up informed with just that: fiction.