GIVE HIM A CHANCE
By Crystal Rosenau
Inauguration day is quickly approaching. In this deeply divided left and right country (and I’m not talkin’ the East Coast-West Coast rap battle of the ‘90s), I am with the half that eagerly awaits the day with #adorabledeplorable bells on. I’ve actually never tuned in to an inauguration ceremony. What’s different this time around is that the celebrities have influenced me to do the opposite of what they’re trying to do in hosting their Love-a-thon on Facebook Live at the same time. They claim it is “a modern telethon to raise money for organizations that will fight for our most marginalized communities—and democratic norms—over the next four years.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with that and perhaps that’s something I could even get behind. But I’m still not changing my original plans.
Some big names are backing the event, such as Jane Fonda, Jamie Lee Curtis and Judd Apatow. I assumed with the 50/50 nation and some celebrity hoopla, this Love-a-thon would be a big hit. However, out of curiosity, I had to know more about the Love-a-thon – or what the New York Times dubs as the “Anti-Inauguration.” I was (pleasantly) surprised to find out that at just 12 days prior to the event the official Facebook page for it only had 295 likes and 310 followers. This just further proves that the celebrity’s swaying power isn’t as compelling as they like to think.
Sure, us regular people occasionally like to pick up magazines to see where these famous folks get their sushi, but this Love-a-thon isn’t going to stop Donald Trump from being our president. Certainly, as voting American citizens, Hollywood celebrities are entitled to their political opinions. But when they are outspoken for one side, by being explicitly against another side, they are alienating half of their potential fans. In the business of Hollywood, the celebrity is the product that is being presented and sold – they need these fans.
Most recently, Meryl Streep’s sermon at the Golden Globes just further solidified this blatant disregard for much of her previously established fan-base. Her emotional speech deserved an award in itself. However, it was completely inappropriate for the time and place. Did she get the memo that the election is over? I sympathize with her, I really do – the other half of the country was in this boat eight and four years ago. But I still don’t feel compelled to run out to support her next film.
Trump’s inauguration festivities do not need these supposed A-list celebrities. It will encompass the classic all-American dance troop, the Radio City Rockettes. As expected, this isn’t without controversy because some of the members of this elite group refuse to participate. However, there are more willing Rockettes than unwilling, so who needs the naysayers? The 16-year-old “America’s Got Talent” contestant, Jackie Evancho is slated to sing the “Star Spangled Banner.” Following the ceremony tradition marches on down Pennsylvania Avenue with a slew of bands, drill teams, color guards and motorcades – the whole shebang.
You can catch the Inauguration Ceremony on your favorite news channel, live streamed or in person (you can still make it if you felt inclined to take a 2,500 mile road trip). You can find the Love-a-thon on Facebook and participate from the comfort of your own home.
Whether you tune into the inauguration, participate in the Love-a-thon or mind your own business, be sure to do so in the Versace dress that one trendsetting celebrity wore to the grocery store. Seriously though, I wish the Love-a-thon success and I hope these celebrity megaphones wish Donald Trump success as well. After all, it’s not wise to wish for our captain to fail.
Fun fact: Donald Trump will be 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old on his first full day in office (the day after inauguration day). With those Lucky 7s, I’m willing to roll the dice and give him the chance he deserves.
By Nick Gier
“If Bush and Rove constructed a fantasy world with a clear internal logic, Trump has built something more like an endless bad dream.”
— Ned Resnikoff, ThinkProgress.org
“We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams.”
—Robert Kreitner, The Nation
In October 2004 former President Bush’s adviser Karl Rove declared: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” Trump is so clueless and dishonest that he could not be as candid as Rove, but with his brazen disregard for truth, he is doing exactly the same thing.
The Bush Big Lie on Iraq had a certain internal logic, but Trump’s Big Lie about Everything is filled with contradictions. For example, he does not seem to realize that his charge of wide-spread voter fraud undermines both his and Hillary’s votes. As one commentator says: “Trump tells lies that are seemingly random, frequently inconsistent, and often plainly ridiculous.”
The GOP’s record of untruths was clearly evident in the 2016 campaign. On average the GOP candidates scored, according to Politifact, 52 percent true, mostly true, and half true. Bernie’s average was 70 percent in these categories and Hillary’s is now 75 percent. In stark contrast, Trump is lying to us 70 percent of the time.
I would invite anyone to read the in-depth analyses that are the basis for Politifact’s judgments. I will be reading along and say to myself: “This is obviously false” or “This is obviously true.” In all cases, however, caution is Politifact’s watchword, and many of their conclusions are “mostly true,” “half true,” or “mostly false.” The investigators reserve “Pants on Fire” for the most egregious falsehoods.
Trump has now accumulated 62 of these whoppers, over three times as many as Mitt Romney’s 19 in the 2012 campaign. Obama has a total of 9 Pants on Fire, 2 percent of all statements checked. Trump worst lies account for 18 percent of all his pronouncements.
In stark contrast Hillary’s pant suits were aflame only 2 percent of the time for a total of 7. Her most egregious falsehood was that there was no classified information in her emails.
The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary chose “post-truth” as the Word of the Year 2016. Trust in experts and commitment to widely accepted facts have been waning for years. What we have now is Donald Trump, who, “like any autocrat,” according to Ned Resnikoff, “wins his followers’ blind trust by lying so often and so brazenly that millions of people give up on trying to distinguish truth from falsehood.”
In the 2004 election war hero John Kerry was “swift boated” by Bush supporters so successfully that Bush’s failure to show up for national guard duty in Alabama was ignored. In the same way, the worst liar in American politics has succeeded in labeling Hillary a liar.
Candidate Trump’s disregard for the truth was bad enough for the moral fabric of our country, but as president his rejection of economic and intelligence data will be disastrous. Trump received a two-hour briefing on Russian hacking (it was not delayed as he falsely claimed), and afterwards he refused accept the conclusions, which have been accepted by the most skeptical cyber security experts.
During the campaign, Trump said that the unemployment rate was actually 42 percent. Will he use that bogus figure as a benchmark when he boasts about his own administration’s success? Or will be forced to use the government figure of 4.7 percent and reveal the 42 percent as an outrageous lie?
At their peril—international agencies blacklist countries that cheat on their data—GOP leaders will buck the experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Trump’s lies will not stand within these tried and true parameters.
Nick Gier of Moscow taught philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years.
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