Statements and Resources

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Taking a Deep Breath

Welcome back, dear friends.

It's been two weeks since I checked in with my public journal of Life in Trump's America. Last weekend my husband and I went away to La La Land, where we took in some comedy, some bad ass women's wrestling, and generally avoided anything news-related.

It was great, but in the end the real world caught up to us. It does tend to do that.

I've had a lot of thoughts since returning to Real Life, and believe it or not, not *all* of them have been about the obnoxious Orange One who now inhabits the White House. Some of them have been about chocolate, for instance, and others have been about wrestling.

Indulge me in a divergent train of thought for a moment, reader. Is it weird that at the same time our nation is facing a crisis, one pillar of which is about reality itself, professional wrestling is experiencing a much-heralded revolution? Professional wrestling, an athletic endeavor whose detractors deride as being a "fake sport," is about spectacle and storytelling and seeks to wring emotions out of its followers. 

Professional wrestling is also a big business, and its billionaire administrators have ties to the White House and the Orange One himself. Linda McMahon, wife of WWE owner Vince McMahon sits on Trump's cabinet as Secretary of the Small Business Administration.

President Trump loves to rail publicly against what he calls the "Fake News Media." A very real argument can be made that he and his administration seek to shape public opinion and push policy agendas via the creation of spectacles and sowing fear and discord in our citizenry.

Is that weird? Or am I simply, as is my wont, overthinking this? Is there a connection or am I nuts?

It's weird. Anyhow. Sorry for the digression. 

Actually, no. I'm not sorry, and frankly that wasn't much of a digression. Because the rapidly vanishing distinction between what's fake and what's real--between surreality and *actual* reality--is a central problem to life in Trump's America. I'm no longer talking about the twin rise of professional wrestling and the Trump administration. I'm talking about EVERYTHING about life now. All of it.

Our President last weekend made up a terrorist attack in Sweden. In the past month, his surrogates have also made up terrorist attacks in Kentucky and Georgia.

Trump constantly refers to the media as "fake," and polls that show his low approval ratings as "rigged."

All members of the GOP have taken to pretending that the millions of Americans who now routinely protest this administration are paid agitators. At a conservative conference this past week, NRA president Wayne LaPierre said: 

“Right now, we face a gathering of forces that are willing to use violence against us,” he said. “The leftist movement in this country right now is enraged. Among them, and behind them, are some of the most radical political elements there are. Anarchists, Marxists, communists, and the whole rest of the left-wing socialist brigade.”
LaPierre also noted that “many of these people hate everything America stands for,” including “democracy” and “free-market capitalism.”
All of these activists, LaPierre continued, were funded by left-wing billionaires such as George Soros, and are also “angry,” “militant,” and “willing to engage in criminal violence.”
Read the full article here. 
Friday the White House officially banned many solid, well-respected media outlets (including CNN, NYT, BBC, and more) from its press briefing, but allowed overtly biased outlets such as Breitbart to attend.
FYI: Breitbart's twitter bio is: "News, commentary, and destruction of the political/media establishment."
For comparison: the new masthead of the Washington Post, one of the outlets banned from the White House's press briefing, is Democracy Dies in Darkness.
Did I mention that Steve Bannon, Trump's chief political strategist, was until very recently editor-in-chief at Breitbart? Or that at least two other senior editors from that media outlet now serve the administration in a national security advisory capacity? (Read the Times article here.) 
I could cite many more examples of truth-bending from the Trump administration and its advocates. But I won't. Instead I will leave you with this quote from British politician and social activist Arthur Ponsonby:

When war is declared, truth is the first casualty. 
The revolution will be tweeted. Follow me: @Literarygrrrl

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