Quacks like a duck - Shawn Loughlin editorial
With Donald Trump now sliding into obscurity, my days of mentioning him should be over. However, the world of make-believe and post-truth he ushered into the world continues to plague us.
While we have come to expect a side of dishonesty from just about every politician we encounter in our daily lives, increasingly we are being asked not to believe our eyes and ears by people who hope we’ll drop our critical thinking skills and simply trust them.
Going back to a 1992 article in The Nation on the Iran-Contra affair, author Steve Tesich summed it up perfectly, citing that while lies will always be foisted upon the general public, it is up to the public to accept those lies. And, dating back to the 1990s, the public agreed.
“We, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world.”
What he’s saying, basically, is that this isn’t some sort of hostile takeover, but rather that the public is complicit in accepting lies if they are convenient or fit their political agendas.
Just a few weeks ago, Erin O’Toole, leader of the federal Conservative Party, hired the creator of the troublesome conservative social media page “Ontario Proud”, to lead digital strategy for his campaign. It was around this time that he earned the moniker of “Canada’s Donald Trump”, which he resisted.
We’ve been asked to stretch our imagination too far by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well. Since before he was elected, Trudeau fought a perception that he was born to be an elite Liberal who would take care of his friends before Canadians. While many disagreed with this portrayal, he has done plenty to stoke that fire. From the WE Charity scandal to the disgraceful exit of Governor General Julie Payette, Trudeau has been telling us he’s one thing, and playing right into the hands of his critics behind the scenes.
It’s even worse in the U.S. where it has gone beyond simply lying and misrepresentation and crossed over into Alternative Facts Land.
No doubt you’ve heard about Marjorie Taylor Greene by now. She is the openly racist Member of Congress who believes in QAnon (the widely discredited conspiracy theory concerning a “Deep State” involving child trafficking and a lot of anti-semitism) while openly suggesting mass shooting events and even 9/11 have been staged. She has since been banished from several committees (including one on education), but she says how she’s being treated will only embolden people like her to speak up and work to be heard.
What’s happening in the U.S. right now is another case of this. What has happened in the country in the past four years is not the work of a few bad actors. Several media outlets have finally begun admitting that conspiracy theorists, in-your-face racists and those willing to overturn a fair and legal election do, in fact, represent the country right now. They have moved from the fringes to the mainstream.
That’s not to say that things can’t change, but to resist the obvious is pure ignorance.
After a harrowing four years, over 74 million people voted for Trump. He gained in key demographics like white female voters. And now, most Republicans are willing to turn a blind eye to a vicious mob storming the Capitol and anti-Semitic rhetoric, showing the world that they endorse these beliefs.
Again, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might just be a duck. The lack of integrity being shown and the refusal to stand up against hateful ideologies has pulled back the curtain on the U.S. and it’s ugly back there if you choose to believe your eyes and ears.