"Truth" and Consequences or, Are We There Yet?
|Amy Widdowson||Oct 21, 2016|
My dearest Mischevians, happiest of Fridays. I think I’ve been transparent in my support of the current democratic candidate for President, and forthright about my own biases towards this campaign.. So yes, that third debate only reinforced my support. I found Clinton steely, committed, well-prepared, tough as nails and gosh darned Presidential. Presidential in a way that is unique to her.
Clinton is patient, indomitable, tougher than anyone who has come before her, and she never forgets. Like an Aria from Game of Thrones, she’s spent thirty years training and working, with a list and a small rapier, and throughout that third debate with Trump, she landed the needle jabs that led to mass blood loss. Ezra Klein at Vox deftly explains why the third debate was the culmination of a long game by Clinton and her team. Yes, Trump dug his own hole, but who led him to the edge of it and handed him a shovel? As Klein says, "Trump’s meltdown wasn’t an accident. The Clinton campaign coolly analyzed his weaknesses and then sprung trap after trap to take advantage of them.”
But while I remain excited to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton, there’s much to be worried about. On those debate stages, Trump relied on exaggeration, fear-mongering, and non-truths that have been fact-checked until the cows come home. Over at WaPo, Catherine Rampell’s headine says it all: When the facts don’t matter, how can democracy survive? She describes the ascendancy of the "anti-establishment, anti-politician, anti-government, anti-evidence” movement, which has led to a team of Trumpers hellbent on discrediting any expert interpretations of this election and howling projections to the moon. And as Rampell beautifully buttons the piece, "This is how a democracy crumbles: not with a bang, but with data trutherism."
And this scary anti-truth movement is a non-partisan issue. Recently, a study from Pew Research shows that more Democrats than Republicans say that the measles vaccine isn’t safe, a doubt that was planted when Andrew Wakefield published his faulty 1998 paper drawing a link between vaccinations and autism. Hell, even Dr. Jill Stein panders to the anti-vax crowd. But even though Wakefield's findings have been debunked, and Wakefield lost his license to practice medicine as a result, it seems no study or data or expert proclamation will change anti-vax minds. And those beliefs and rejection of facts have led to the resurgences of deadly diseases like whooping cough and the mumps.
So naturally, I’m praying that the well-prepared, well-informed, smart-as-hell candidate wins, and I feel great that Hermione-like studying, preparing, and dogged execution may prevail. But when there are no facts, and there are no experts, and everything is “rigged” against us, getting out of this whole thing intact is a frightening next battle.