Earlier this month, Charles Sykes, published his book “How the Right Lost Its Mind.” A long-time Republican, Sykes describes the gradual evolution of conservative ideas and politics from the likes of intelligent, fair-minded William F. Buckley to the narcissist, reckless, liar Donald J. Trump. His conclusion, on how things changed, almost exactly parallels how the Religious Right lost its mind as well, as “…a movement based on ideas had devolved into a new tribalism that valued neither principle nor truth.”
For clarification, it should be obvious that I’m not saying here that all individuals who consider themselves part of the Religious or Political Right have lost their minds. I have many evangelical family and friends who are kind, decent, and thoughtful people and some of them voted for Trump. I’m drawing attention to the religious and political movements (to which individuals belong) that often take on a mind of their own and then gradually lose that mind.
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The President of the United States recently declared that the mainstream media—NY Times, NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN—are enemies of the American people. He routinely calls them “fake news.” Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, introduced the concept of “alternative facts.” Stephen Miller, Trump’s 31-year-old senior adviser, insisted on national television that “this issue is widely known by anyone who has worked in New Hampshire politics,” speaking of the claim that thousands of people were bused from Massachusetts to NH to vote against Trump, which explains why Trump lost that state.
The reason why these kinds of dialogues are in our national discourse is because many of us have abandoned a reasonable approach to determine whether something is true or not. People have bought into certain ideological frames so that news from a particular “liberal” source, like the N.Y. Times, or news from a particular “conservative” source, like Fox News, are automatically deemed false. Suddenly, every news outlet is on par with a supermarket tabloid, like the National Enquirer, that routinely prints baseless stories.
In the day of supposed fake news, how can we know something is true?
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