My biggest fears about a Donald Trump presidency were never about his policies or even his incompetence — though those issues are definitely horrible — but the negative impact someone like him would have on our society as a whole.
And, sadly, three of my biggest fears have seemingly all come true.
1. His behavior would desensitize people to other major issues: One of the main things I worried about was that Trump’s vile and disgusting behavior would desensitize people from recognizing the awful behavior and comments of others simply because they weren’t as outrageous as something Trump had already said or done.
Unfortunately, I’m seeing that happen.
If I write an article about the GOP’s current tax plan that’s going to end up raising taxes on millions of middle class Americans, adding trillions to the debt, stripping health care from millions (yes, they’ve recently added that), all while giving huge tax breaks to the richest among us — almost nobody reads it.
That wasn’t the case not too long ago.
Prior to Trump, if I had written articles about a tax plan as terrible as the one Republicans are currently trying to shove through Congress, those would have been some of our most read pieces. Now they hardly get any attention.
Even during the health care debate, I wrote several articles concerning the GOP’s plan and how it would have ended up killing Americans after they lost their health insurance, yet you could hear the crickets chirping on most of those posts. Back in June, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan actually said that it was a good thing that people would lose health care under the GOP’s plan because that meant they were being given a “choice” as to whether or not they’d live or die if they can’t afford insurance. Yet I’m sure most people reading this don’t even recall him saying that because his comments got almost no attention. Before the rise of Trump, Ryan saying something like that would have been a major scandal etched in the minds of most progressives.
On the flip side of that, nearly any time I write an article about Trump’s latest Twitter meltdown, well — that’s the one that gets the most traffic for the day, by far.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for every single person who reads anything we publish and Trump’s Twitter hissy fits are often newsworthy. It’s just a little disheartening for me to see so many major issues ignored or forgotten because, as bad as they are, they don’t stack up to the train wreck that is the Trump administration.
One of my biggest concerns is that horrible, radical behavior that would have sent shock waves through this country just a couple of years ago is now becoming “normalized” and accepted as “moderate” simply because Trump’s behavior is so unprecedented that nothing seems as terrifying in comparison.
And that frightens me more than anything else.
2. Many liberals hate Trump so much that they’ve stopped caring about facts, they just want their anti-Trump hunger fed: I think it’s safe to say that most people reading this loathe Donald Trump, myself included. That said, I’m seeing too many liberals sharing memes or stories that aren’t true from sources that aren’t really credible.
Fake news certainly isn’t only found on the right. While it’s clearly a much bigger issue among conservatives, there are a lot of sources on the left, some which happen to be very well known and followed by millions of people, that are, at best, extremely sketchy.
I’m seeing too many folks who would probably identify themselves as “liberals” or “progressives” sharing articles based on the blueprint used by most conspiracy theorists. By that I mean, the writer had an agenda, then set out to find anything that would help them push it, often twisting the truth, omitting facts, or exaggerating key details trying to make their point. More times than I can recall I’ve seen wild speculation and assumptions passed off as “fact.”
That’s not to be mistaken for well-sourced, fact-based opinion. There’s a difference between a writer having an opinion based on credible information which they turn into their own political analysis of an issue — and someone using random sources they’ve come across on Twitter (if they even cite sources at all) to declare that Trump’s indictment is imminent or that Manafort could be wanted for murder.
Yes, those are the types of articles that get a huge amount of clicks and go incredibly viral (Facebook and Twitter share counts, as well as Alexa.com site statistics for these various websites can confirm that), but they’re usually grossly exaggerated, contextually inaccurate, or simply not true.
Here’s a trick that grifters use to seem credible: If they publish enough material, or make up enough lies, eventually something will happen that they’ll be able to then use as “proof” that they were right all along.
For example, it doesn’t take a political scientist or law enforcement expert to realize that, eventually, someone linked to Trump’s campaign was going to be indicted. So if certain people publishing articles on the Internet kept saying “indictments are imminent,” in all likelihood, yes, eventually someone would get indicted. Then all these people have to do is seize on that moment when they made a vague statement about such events and, poof, that’s one element they use to “prove their credibility.”
That’s about as “credible” as me calling myself a meteorologist because I “predicted” that a blizzard would hit some part of the United States sometime over the winter.
Since most liberals (and some Republicans) are desperate to see Trump removed from office — and I don’t blame them — it’s pushed far too many on the left to seek out anyone and everyone who’s willing to tell them that’s going to happen any day now.
Spoiler alert: It’s not.
Admittedly, early on, I actually thought there was a good possibility Trump might resign after a few months. My belief was that he never really wanted to be “president,” he just wanted to be called that. Once the “new car smell” wore off, he’d make up some ridiculous excuse, then resign. While it pains me to say it, the truth is, if he’s made it this long, he’s not likely going anywhere anytime soon. Even if by some miracle Republicans decided to impeach him, that process wouldn’t happen overnight.
Heck, Robert Mueller’s investigation is likely quite a few months from coming to a conclusion. And even if he finds that Trump’s participated in criminal acts, that’s just going to be the beginning of an entirely different battle.
Liberals can’t start acting like anti-Obama conservatives pushing absurd conspiracies just because they can’t stand Trump. Especially when, unlike the irrational hatred the right has for Obama, there are actually plenty of factual things to use against Trump, in context, to prove that he’s an unhinged idiot who has no business running this country. We don’t need to exaggerate or make things up about him.
A quick bit of advice to avoid fattening the pockets and egos of fake and/or sketchy news purveyors:
- If the website frequently USES ALL CAPS in its HEADLINES like THIS, it’s probably trash.
- If an article or meme sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is. It comes down to fact-checking these against credible sources (keyword: credible) ourselves before blindly sharing them on social media or using them to formulate our opinions.
- If the article doesn’t cite credible sources (or any at all) then it’s probably not true. What garbage sites will often do is link back to other garbage sites that then linked back to other sites just like them (often run by the same small group of people), yet when you dig back through all this mess, you’ll find out that there’s not a single credible, mainstream source backing up anything they’re saying.
- If they constantly perpetuate a victim mentality (aka someone is constantly working against them to “conceal the truth”), they’re probably full of crap. It’s one thing to be critical of mainstream media coverage (or lack of coverage) of an issue, but it’s quite another to push unfounded Infowars-level conspiracies simply because CNN or MSNBC refuses to push fictional propaganda and uninformed nonsense.
3. Trump is destroying everything he touches: Conservative analyst Rick Wilson said it best, “Everything Trump touches, dies.” He has divided this country so much that anything he interjects himself into instantly becomes worse. Even our sports have been tainted by Trump. From teams like the Golden State Warriors not visiting the White House after winning a championship, to Trump using the National Anthem protest to push hate for his own personal benefit, he has torn this country apart to such an extent that typically innocuous events in our lives have now become political hotbeds of anger, division, and hostility.
He’s such a vile, awful person who’s disgraced the office of the presidency to such an extent that the respect people should have for that office is all but gone. Because he often rants like some random jackass commenting on your typical right-wing article, he ends up interjecting himself into issues that no “president” should. And even if they have, they tend to stay neutral whereas Trump clearly takes a side, vilifying anyone who would dare to disagree with him.
Take his comments on the National Anthem protests. He could have simply said he respects the right of Americans to protest even if he wished they’d find a more productive way to go about expressing themselves. That would have expressed his opposition to kneeling, while also respecting the right people have to do so.
Instead, Trump called players who kneel “sons of b*tches,” then spent weeks telling Americans to boycott the NFL, while trying to bully the league into forcing the players to stand.
All he did was make the situation much worse.
I’m legitimately afraid that this country will never respect the office of the presidency again. If we do, it’s going to take years, if not decades, to restore the dignity to that office. We’re not a year into Trump’s “presidency” and it’s obvious that even other world leaders don’t take him or this country very seriously. They view him as a clown who lucked his way into the White House because of a flawed electoral college system and a lot of help from a Russian cyber attack.
My worry is that the damage Trump’s done to the discord in this country, and the way people view the office of the presidency, as well as our government, is going to be irreparable. I worry that it doesn’t matter how intelligent, honest, dignified or great our next president could be, they’re never going to be shown the respect they deserve because they followed an unhinged, immature, mentally unstable buffoon who spent his time in office acting like the stereotypical drunk uncle who ruins every Thanksgiving rather than someone befitting of calling themselves the “President” of the United States.
Obviously there are many more issues I have with Trump, but these are three of the main concerns I had long before he was “elected” last year.
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