It’s Gotten Even Worse

On May 17, 2017, I published my second post after I started this blog. I titled it, “Can American Democracy Survive Donald Trump?” That post received a grand total of three views, one like, and zero comments.

As I was reflecting back on my two years as Fandango, and I read this post, I was amazed that not only has little has changed over the past two years of Donald Trump’s presidency, it has actually gotten even worse.

And so I present below my two-year old post, unchanged and unedited from the original. Some of it is a little dated, but the overall message is the same: America is fucked as long as Trump is president.

Can American Democracy Survive Donald Trump?

pett-cartoon.png

I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, you know. No siree, Bob! I’ve been around long enough to have experienced Vietnam and Watergate and how terribly divided this country was at those times. But I’ve never seen anything quite like what is happening now to the sanctity of the American democracy under President Donald J. Trump. It’s taken its toll on me. I’m tired, very tired.

It’s not because I’m old, though, or because I’ve been having trouble falling and staying asleep at night. No, the reason I am tired is because something devastating has been happening in and to the country I love. And it’s draining me.

Fake News and Alternative Facts

For months before the election in November, we had been inundated with fake news, alternative facts, lies, racism, and misogyny. Since the election things have only gotten worse, given all of Trump’s conflicts of interest, blatant nepotism, and unprecedented incompetence at the highest levels of the government.

Our new president is purging (or buying off?) his perceived enemies and anyone he believes might do him harm, with FBI Director James Comey’s firing as the latest example. Donald Trump is successfully … so far, anyway … turning our country into an authoritarian dictatorship.

Bill Sanders Cartoon

And what I find truly remarkable and upsetting is that the spineless, gutless, “party over country” Republicans in Congress are just sitting back and letting it happen. They know that Trump is an unhinged, delusional narcissist who is also a pathological liar. But he’s their unhinged, delusional, narcissistic, liar who will sign whatever bills and appoint whatever judges they put in front of him.

Trump is engaging in a war against the legitimate media. He is spreading outright lies, misinformation, and conspiracy theories in an effort to divert and distract attention from the many self-inflicted wounds he’s created as a result of his more outrageous tweets and his asinine behaviors.

Treason or Stupidity?

He has yet to admit that Russia interfered with the election and seems to be giving Putin and the Russians cover. And while he’s saying “America First,” his actions appear to be putting Russia first. He even shared highly classified information with Russian operatives in the Oval Office. Is he intentionally committing treason or is he just incredibly stupid? Or Both?

Respected scholars of history have expressed concerns about how Trump seems to be leading our country down a path followed by despotic 20th century and contemporary leaders.

He has sung the praises of Vladimir Putin (“a strong leader”) and Kim Jong-un (“a smart cookie”). He congratulated Turkish leader Erdogan on winning a referendum that expanded and consolidated his authoritarian powers. He praised the autocratic Egyptian leader el-Sisi as well as Filipino strongman Duterte, a man who likens himself to Hitler.

At the same time, Trump has denigrated and challenged the judicial branch of our own government and seems to have co-opted congressional Republicans, who hold the majority in both houses.

So back to my original question. Can American democracy survive Donald Trump? The short answer is yes, but it will take four types of people to make sure it does.

First, courageous employees within the executive and legislative branches of government who recognize the damage to our national security and our way of life that Trump is causing must be willing to risk their careers and leak documents to the legitimate press so that the unhinged actions of Donald Trump will see the light of day.

Second, brave journalists and reporters must do their jobs and continue to research, publish, and report on what is going on at the White House and in Congress.

Third, concerned citizens need to continue to reach out to their senators and representatives and hold them accountable for their actions. And if these elected officials in Congress don’t have the backbone to put country over party and to do what’s right and best for their constituents by standing up to Trump, they need to know that they will be voted out of office.

Finally, GOP members of Congress and Trump loyalists must stop turning deaf ears and blind eyes to Trump’s faults and follies. They need to honestly and objectively see him and the danger he posed to our country. They also need to stop getting all their news from Fox News.

If these groups of people do the right thing, democracy in America has a chance. If not, well, it was good while it lasted.


Top political cartoon © 5/11/17, Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader. Second political cartoon © 5/16/17 Bill Sanders, Sanders Cartoon Commentary.

Enmity Toward the Press

0bcfb788-a484-4d91-8e3e-f7faf0c722cdHe calls the stories in newspapers, magazines, and on TV about him “fake news. He refers to the free press as “the enemy of the people.”

But in a way, I understand Donald Trump’s enmity toward the press. After all, they call out his lies, they fact check his “alternative facts,” and they demonstrate just how unhinged, unfit, and unqualified he is to hold the office of President of the United States.

By printing what he says and does, by video taping his own words, by counting his lies, and by documenting his misstatements and fabrications, the press is demonstrating the depth of his narcissism, his lack of knowledge, his inability to be empathetic, and his moronic delusions.

By quoting him, the press is showing that he has an inability to construct cohesive sentences, which is not surprising, given the clearly chaotic way his mind works.

Unfortunately and inexplicably, about 40% of American voters hang on his every word and believe every lie that escapes his lips. Apparently, if they even watch news, it’s only Fox News. And if they even read newspapers, it’s only conservative newspapers.

So the master of the con continues to carry on and we just have to hope that the press will continue to do the job that the Republicans in Congress seem to be unable and unwilling to do: keep the president in check for the good of the country.


Written for the benefit of America and for my one-word challenge (enmity).

Repost — Facts Versus Truth

My blogging friend, James, started a comment he posted on one of my rants yesterday about the Senate Judiciary Committee’s “he said/she said” hearing yesterday, with this quote:

Archaeology is the search for fact … not truth. If it’s truth you’re interested in, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.” -Dr. Henry (Indiana) Jones Jr.

Of course, my post and James’ comment were in the context of the testimonies yesterday of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. What James said was, “What we’re looking for is (or should be) facts. What we might have to settle for is truth, but I don’t see how we’re going to get it.”

The Indiana Jones quote and what Jim wrote reminded me of my fourth or fifth post when I started this blog. And so, since it basically went unread when I posted it, I thought it might be a good time to shed some light on it.


Facts and TruthWhen I first read Faulkner’s quote (above), I was perplexed. I had always considered “facts” and “truth” to be synonyms. Even the definitions of the two words cross-reference one another:

Fact: something that actually exists; reality; truth.
Truth: conformity with fact or reality; a verified or indisputable fact.

Facts are used as proof of what is undeniably “the truth,” but are these words truly interchangeable or do they actually have different meanings and usage?

I was curious enough about the similarities and differences between these two words to do some Google research. And I learned that not everyone believes that they are synonymous. Some folks actually differentiate between the them using diametrically opposed logic.

One site argued that facts can be fleeting, enduring for but a moment. For example, the “fact” of someone’s location on a fast-moving train changes every instant. Truth, on the other hand is a more enduring type of fact, this source claimed.

Another site argued that if it’s a fact now, it will be a fact in the future, whereas truth is more temporal. Facts indicate a universal truth, while truth depends upon temporal circumstances. For example, that the sun appears to always rise in the east and set in the west is a fact. It will never change.

I found an interesting site, differencebetween.net, which provided four facts (or truths?) about facts and truths:

  • Facts are more objective when compared to the more subjective truths.
  • Facts are more permanent when compared to the more temporary truths.
  • Facts exist in reality, whereas truths are usually the things that one believes to be true, or the things that are true in the current situation.
  • Facts can also answer the ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how’ questions, whereas truths answer the ‘why’ question.

Truthiness

And then there is “truthiness,” a word first coined by Stephen Colbert a dozen years ago. Like when Bill Maher says, “I don’t know it for a fact…I just know it’s true,” truthiness is the quality of seeming to be true based upon one’s intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic or factual evidence. It’s when someone feels, believes, or wishes that something is true even when it is not supported by the facts.

So with both facts and truth under siege by Donald Trump and his surrogates, and with “alternative facts” and “false truths” being promulgated, I  have to wonder if Faulkner’s statement was extremely prescient and sadly reflective of where we are in the second decade of the 21st century.

So what do you think? Are the words “fact” and “truth” synonyms? Do you use them interchangeably in your oral and written communications? Or do these two words, as Faulkner believes, have little to do with each another?

And in today’s world, where truthiness means more to a lot of people than either facts or truth, does it even matter anymore?

#FOWC — Don’t Take Him Literally

61D1BFFE-D81F-4C2F-9A81-743E046DD93DI heard her say, “You shouldn’t take Donald Trump literally.”

“So you’re saying that you can’t believe anything he says,” I responded.

“No, that’s not what I’m saying,” she said. “When he said Mexico will pay for the wall, for example, he meant it, but just not up-front and with cash. Mexico will ultimately pay for it through favorable trade deals he’ll negotiate with Mexico.”

“So you’re saying we should take him figuratively, but we should not take him seriously,” I said.

“You should take him seriously,” she said. “He’s a man of his word, but just not his literal words.”

“If you can’t take what he says literally, how can you say he’s a man of his word?” I asked. “That makes no sense. And you can’t take someone seriously when he constantly lies.”

“You liberals are always trying to take Trump literally and you keep claiming that he’s lying,” she said. “But he’s not lying. He’s just being symbolic.”

“Oh, you mean he’s expressing alternative facts, Kellyanne,” I said.

Truth is Relative

2CCC9F0C-D770-4BB2-9455-4B7FF9261242“They may have a different version of the truth than we do.”

Rudi Giuliani, lawyer and
cable news presence for Donald Trump

“What they’re really trying to do is trap him into perjury, and we’re not suckers.” Rudy Giuliani said about special counsel Robert Mueller’s pursuit of an interview with Donald Trump. Giuliani also, questioned the nature of truth itself when he claimed that “truth is relative.”

Of course  truth is relative in Trumplandia. What else would you expect when we now live in a world of what another Trump shill, Kellyanne Conway, calls “alternative facts”?6ECF4652-A0AD-45A5-9045-31943ADCAB4E