in Politics

Alternative facts can feel like justice

Kellyanne Conway has blessedly introduced the phrase “alternative facts” into the national lexicon, and she has been roundly and rightly excoriated for her claims that hard data is actually a matter of opinion. I mean, yes, the sky is blue, but I offer the assertion that the sky is green as an alternative fact. Others have offered any number of examples of this brave new subjective world, and most of them are funnier than mine has been. Here’s my favorite, provided by my Sanders-supporting daughter:

(Disclaimer: I love Ringo. Please note, however, that Paul is objectively the best Beatle. That’s beyond dispute.)

All this mockery is well-deserved, but there’s another lesson here that many Trump haters have overlooked.

I take you back to the halcyon days of the mid 1990s, when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty and large numbers of African-Americans erupted in applause. I remember seeing television footage of black people cheering when the verdict was announced, and I was dumbfounded. All the contemporaneous polls indicated a stark racial divide in how the verdict was interpreted, with a majority of whites overwhelmingly convinced that Simpson got away with murder, while a majority of blacks were celebrating because one of their own finally beat a corrupt and racist system.

For me, personally, it was jarring to see all this happening in my hometown. I grew up in LA. I attended many a family dinner in my cousin’s Brentwood home that was within walking distance of where Ron and Nicole were killed. How was it possible that so many people from the same place could interpret those facts so differently?

It wasn’t too long after that I was watching an interview with actor LaVar Burton, who put the whole thing into perspective for me. I can’t remember his exact words, and I can’t find them online, but his premise was that for many of his fellow African-Americans, it was almost secondary as to whether or not O.J. had actually stabbed and nearly beheaded his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman. So many of them had seen so many of their friends and family suffer at the hands of racist law enforcement that they assumed, from the outset, that there was no way O.J. could get a fair shake. To many, O.J. symbolized all victims of America’s collective racial sins. The actual facts, and even the alternative ones, weren’t nearly as important.

Or, as LeVar Burton summed it up – and these words I remember verbatim:

“In a warped way, it felt like justice.”

Seeing so many Trump opponents recoil in horror and astonishment at the victory of our new Cheeto-in-Chief reminds me of me watching the O.J. Verdict. For many of them, this may have been the first time that they were confronted with the reality that roughly half of the country is interpreting reality in a very different way. Because even Republicans who know full well that a good chunk of what comes out of Trump’s mouth isn’t worth the spittle that accompanies it also see him as a symbol of a Republican willing to fight back. In a warped way, even the alternative facts Trump serves up can feel like justice.

Again, I have to reiterate that I’m not a Trump supporter. I remain a conservative and a supporter of free markets, and many of the things at the top of the Trump agenda are anathema to my political point of view. In some very crucial ways, Trump is not a conservative, and because Trump has corrupted the party, I’m no longer a Republican. But I know full well what it’s like to be a Republican in a country where all the culture at large feels stacked against you.

I don’t think many Democrats know how it feels to watch a movie or TV show and have all the good guys making fun of everything they believe. I think many get offended when Republicans complain of bias in the news media because they’re not used to ABC, CBS, NBC, and every major metropolitan newspaper in the country taking editorial positions telling them their ideology is not only wrong, but evil.

(A tangent, but if you feel the need to comment on this post with an argument about how conservatives are wrong to complain about media bias, or who want to use this as a vehicle to launch into a tirade against Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, I respectfully suggest that you’re missing my point, which is that conservatives feel like elite opinion is stacked against them, and they respond accordingly. Whether or not these feelings are justified is a separate – and probably unproductive – discussion.)

So, okay, fade out, fade in. Along comes Trump. And for the first time in living memory, a Republican is fighting back. A Republican is telling the press that they’re biased; they’re liars; they’re hacks. And he wins by beating up on the biased, lying hacks, who have never before been defeated as soundly as they were on Election Night. Does that feel like justice to many? You bet it does.

So, yes, of course there were fewer people at Trump’s inauguration than were at Obama’s in 2009. (Why Trump keeps hammering on this point is beyond me. 2017 inaugural attendance was entirely in line with previous presidents, and a POTUS’s power and authority does not in any way correlate with the number of people who stand outside on a cold January morning to hear him speak live.) But please know that your mockery of Kellyanne and her “alternative facts” is likely to galvanize the Trumpers, not shame them into submission. The angrier you get, the happier they get. To them, your rage feels like justice.

The saddest part about all of this is that justice isn’t about feelings. It’s about facts, and not alternative ones. And if we’re ever going to live in a country where we all acknowledge the same set of facts, we have to be willing to walk a mile in the other side’s shoes. (Just make sure that if you’re going to walk in rare Bruno Magli shoes, don’t allow photographs of you wearing them surface after bloody size 13 Bruno Magli footprints have been identified at a murder scene.)

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12 Comments

  1. um…yes, we have seen our opinions disparaged in the media. Yes, we have.

    Pick any cowboy cop movie.

    Pick any post-9/11 portrayal of terrorism.

    PIck any portrayal of a trans individual prior to a few years ago.

    And let’s not forget the early Bush years when questioning the Iraq war made you a traitor.

    Hell, I keep being told that Barack Obama is a “race-baiter,” despite the fact that he barely ever talked about race! This kind of stuff is nonsense. The assumption seems to merely be that we have a black President, so how can he not be?

    To say the thing our politicians won’t say:

    All of this conservative backlash is nothing more than a temper tantrum by cis gendered, straight, white, Christian men, who are furious at the idea of a world in which they don’t get to make all the rules anymore!

    Actually, one off the most hilarious experiences I’ve had was talking to the mother of a friend of mine, who complained that the world has gotten too “politically correct. I told her that, no, people were always easily offended, it’s just that what offends people has changed.

    She literally didn’t understand the concept.

    So, I gave an example: how many Archie Bunker episodes dealt with the debate over gay marriage?

    She actually responded by saying “Oh, well that wasn’t an issue then!”

    Like hell it wasn’t! Conservatives have spent their whole lives shielded from other opinions, and now they’re furious to hear them.

    • It’s important for you to understand that nothing you’re complaining about has any basis in factual reality. It’s all imaginary nonsense.

      Instead of picking any cowboy cop movie, any post 9/11 portrayal of terrorism, any portrayal of a trans individual prior to a few years ago, how about listing specific films?

      No one claimed that questioning the Iraq war made you a traitor in the early Bush years. No one. Hillary shrieked something about being called unpatriotic if anyone disagreed or debated the Bush administration, and drones from the Collective parroted that manufactured narrative throughout the Bush years, while spontaneously forgetting it the moment President Obama was elected. But this is really just another example of the severe mental problem leftists manifest when they boldly respond to points that no one is making. It’s really, really weird.

      We never had a black President. We had a half black, half white President. President Obama, like all leftists, is sickly obsessed with the artificial division of race.

      http://www.dailywire.com/news/12230/complete-timeline-race-relations-under-obama-harry-khachatrian

      Nothing he says or does is free from his obsession’s myopic prism.

      “All of this conservative backlash is nothing more than a temper tantrum by cis gendered, straight, white, Christian men, who are furious at the idea of a world in which they don’t get to make all the rules anymore!”

      lol What are you talking about? Leftist politicians routinely parrot this kind of nonsense all the time. Take for instance the recent rant from DNC Chair candidate Sally Boynton Brown. However, white leftists making bold racist comments against white people as though themselves aren’t white is soooooooooooo 2008. And ultimately this kind of small minded identity politics is what directly led to the Democratic Party being reduced to a smoldering pile of rubble in the 2016 election cycle. So in some respects it’s heartening to see them continue to pound that rubble into sand.

      The reason that the mother of your friend didn’t understand the concept is because it’s nonsense that doesn’t make any sense and bears no relationship to reality. You trying to explain to your friend’s mother what things were like 30 or 40 years ago, is like a 5 year old trying to explain to you what things were like 10 years ago. It’s head patting time.

      Gay marriage wasn’t a burning issue in the 1970s. In fact, at the time leftists of all social divisions generally eschewed the institution of marriage altogether in pursuit of “free love.” It wasn’t really until leftists developed a much more widespread hatred of Christians that they pursued anything that they thought might offend them, hence their attack on the institution of marriage. It’s really not any deeper than that.

      Actually, conservatives understand liberal positions better than liberals understand conservative positions. The science is settled:

      http://hotair.com/archives/2012/04/13/confirmed-conservatives-understand-liberal-positions-better-than-liberals-understand-conservative-positions/

      • I wanted to get specific examples out of the way before reading the rest, so I wouldn’t forget:

        – Dirty Harry

        – The Dark Knight Trilogy

        – The Punisher

        – 24

        – Anger Management

        – Ace Ventura

          • The original question was whether we even knew the feeling of seeing our opinions disparaged in the media, not who got more of it.

          • I’d also note that, being autistic, I’m really getting sick of being represented by Steve Urkel and Sheldon Cooper (and I don’t care what TBBT’s creators claim, it’s obvIous what they’re going for).

            If there’s one thing I love about the age of Obama, it’s the changing views of autism. Under Bush, even liberal friends scoffed at the idea that autism isn’t necessarily a disability.

            Now, I congratulate people when their children are diagnosed with autism (I consider it important to basically say “Welcome to the club! You’ll love it here!”), and I have yet to have a single parent be anything other than thankful for the sentiment.

      • Given that, in my experience, most liberals don’t understand liberal positions I find the idea that Conservatives do unlikely.

        And let me get this straight: Obama does one stupid racial stunt in 2009, years later he comments on a major news item that involves race, therefore he’s a race- baited (fyi, please don’t imagine I’m taking you seriously. I’m just mocking you because I’m bored and on my lunch break)?

        And, okay, let’s take marriage out of it. If I Love Lucy had featured a character eho was openly gay, do you think people wouldn’t have been offended?

        And I was in High School when Iraq started. “Have You Forgotten” and “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” were practically the anthems of my High School, and the Dixie Chicks were persona non grata. You cant tell me one second that I can only comment on events during my lifetime, and the next second claim I don’t know anything about an event that happened during my lifetime!

        • Unfortunately for you, your opinion is in direct conflict with settled science.

          Oh come on now. President Obama has been obsessed with the artificial division of race, and his two autobiographies alone demonstrate that. But look, I’m not singling out President Obama here. Remember, he’s a Queen Bee at the top of the Collective Hive. The Collective as a whole is obsessed with the artificial division of race for use as a political weapon/tool, and President Obama being an ardent subscriber of Critical Theory not to mention Critical Race Theory and Marxism, is of course in line with the expected thought process that the Collective demands.

          Why take marriage out of it when that was the point you were making? Let’s continue to focus on the point you were making instead of getting distracted.

          So what? Where are the specific quotes of anyone of significance calling detractors of the Iraq war traitors?

          Sure I can, because it’s clear that you don’t have an understanding of either. Look, it’s perfectly fine to comment on events that happened prior to your birth, or when you were very young. But it’s wise to defer to the experience of people who were present at a time that you were not.

          • “Unfortunately for you, your opinion is in direct conflict with settled science.”

            As you don’t actually address what I said, I’ll merely make an additional point in my favor:

            How are liberal and conservative opinions even defined?

            Take welfare for instance: The liberal stance is usually framed as “helping the poor is the right thing to do.”

            While that’s certainly a factor, my opinion is that if the working class (and yes, most households on welfare also receive at least one paycheck) can’t afford to consume, then our consume economy collapses.

            Would a Conservative describing “liberal” opinions on welfare bring that up, when even most liberals don’t?

            “Oh come on now. President Obama has been obsessed with the artificial division of race, and his two autobiographies alone demonstrate that. But look, I’m not singling out President Obama here. Remember, he’s a Queen Bee at the top of the Collective Hive. The Collective as a whole is obsessed with the artificial division of race for use as a political weapon/tool, and President Obama being an ardent subscriber of Critical Theory not to mention Critical Race Theory and Marxism, is of course in line with the expected thought process that the Collective demands.”

            I think you’ve reached buzzword critical mass.

            And I do have to admit that I haven’t read his autobiographies. But, seeing as how you don’t cite anything in them, I have my doubt about your claims.

            Now, to be fair I’d probably only accept that you were correct if I’d read the full thing in context, not if you cited a few lines, so it’s true that I’m probably being a bit unfair. However, I find what he said and did in office to be far more relevant.

            “Why take marriage out of it when that was the point you were making? Let’s continue to focus on the point you were making instead of getting distracted.”

            I specifically mentioned gay marriage because it was the easiest example I could produce, since sitcoms usually bring guest stars in for some moral. My point, however, was that until very recently it wasn’t “politically correct” to acknowledge that gay people existed.

            Hell, it used to not be “politically correct” for whites and black to site at a lunch counter together. People in the past sure had thin skin! lol.

            “So what? Where are the specific quotes of anyone of significance calling detractors of the Iraq war traitors?”

            I was referring to a sentiment, but I would use the entire song Have You Forgotten, which as I said was massively popular in my area at least.

            “Some say this country’s just out a-lookin’ for a fight./Well after 9/11 man, I’d have to say that’s right…”

            “Have you forgotten, how it felt that day./To see your homeland under fire, and her people blown away.”

            Basically, if you don’t think starting a war with anyone for any reason we can come up with is a good idea, you obviously don’t care about the people who died on 9/11.

            “Sure I can, because it’s clear that you don’t have an understanding of either. Look, it’s perfectly fine to comment on events that happened prior to your birth, or when you were very young. But it’s wise to defer to the experience of people who were present at a time that you were not.”

            If I have reason to find such people to be suspect, I reserve the right to think for myself.

          • You’re responding too quickly, which is causing you to react rather than think.

            Pause, reconsider, and try again.

          • Nah, I got homework to work on (I went back to school recently). This is just blowing off steam.

            That said, i will go ahead and do a quick retraction:

            I shouldn’t have phrased my statement about the acceptance of autism in a way that implied that it had anything to do with Obama, after criticizing you for claiming that the rise of racial politics were related to Obama.

  2. A brave new subjective world?   Where have you been for last half century or more? 

    A huge chunk of leftist ideology depends heavily upon “shades of gray” and moral relativism.  It’s what allows them to mischaracterize their own hypocrisy and contradictions as “deep nuance.”

    Have you heard of Alternative Fact Wizards Dan Rather and Brian Williams?  It’s not so much that half of the country is interpreting reality in a different way.  Rather, it’s that less than half of the country has no mental relationship with reality whatsoever.  Personalities in positions of communications power like Dan Rather and Brian Williams facilitate the fantasy world that leftists live in.

    One of the more fascinating facets of leftist psychopathology, is their proclivity to boldly respond to points and claims that no one on the planet is making, and to scenarios that literally do not exist. 

    Let’s consider some of the words from the recent rant of vapid air-head Ashley Judd at the hilarious Women’s March on Washington:

    “Blacks are still in shackles and graves just for being Black.”  What?  Where?  Who?

    “Slavery has been re-interpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin.”  The skin of every human being contains melanin.

    “I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag.”  In addition to the Pink Triangle, there was also the Pink Swastika.  Homosexuals served in the Nazi Party in addition to being persecuted by them.  Leftist socialist Nazis used homosexuality as a pretext to either reward or punish political adversaries and allies.  Modern leftists today are no different.  See Milo Yiannopoulos.

    “Nazis re-named the cabinet; electro-conversion therapy the new gas chambers, ”  Interestingly enough, the Nazis realized the dream of Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw who called for a humane gas that would execute defectives, when they invented Zyklon B.

    Then there was Madonna prattling on about wanting to be equal, and like other celebrities whose net worth is posted at celebritynetworth.com, she’s a bit more equal than others.  When can we expect her to redistribute her equality surplus? 

    Or how about the recent moronic performance art from DNC chair candidate Sally Boynton Brown? She simultaneously tells you that she herself “doesn’t get it,” while also boldly stating that it’s her job to shut you down and explain it all to you.  Huh?  How can she explain something that she herself doesn’t get?  She goes on to say that black people are living in justified fear of being killed now that Trump has been elected into office.  Where on Earth is she getting this nonsense?  It’s not as though Trump supporters are lighting people’s hair on fire.

    Intellectual vacuum Rachel Maddow bemoaned the thought of being sent to a concentration camp à La FDR.  Who is talking about setting up concentration camps?  No one.  So who or what is she responding to?  No one and nothing.

    Meryl Streep recently had a rant at the Golden Globes where she said, her “job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like.”  That’s a pretty romantic way of describing playing pretend for a living.  She says, “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”  Who is threatening to “kick ’em all out?”  Not one single person of significance, that’s who.

    Bernie Sanders recently said, “No, we are not a compassionate society.  In terms of our relationship with poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually any other country on earth.”  Has this socialist visited Venezuela recently?  Is he familiar with the Holodomor?  Would the poor and working people not be so poor if a third of their income weren’t confiscated by the state in order to support Bernie’s 200K salary and three homes?  And why does he hate personal hygiene products?

    We can walk a mile in their shoes.  But the problem is, their shoes and that mile are purely imaginary.

    The first American generation of Critical Theory indoctrination victims, the hippies from the flatulent 1960s, should never have been treated with respect or given any kind of platform with which to speak from, because their ideology is entirely based on things that simply do not exist.  When a political indoctrination strategy is filtered through mind altering substances, we should expect a severe disconnect from reality, and not entertain their rants as containing valid ideas worthy of debate.  Like the child that espouses on things they could not possibly have any idea about, they should be patted on the head, and sent to the corner where they ought to be quiet while the mature adults do the talking.

    So it’s not so much that Trump supporters view pointing this out as some sort of justice.  It’s more of a long over due reality check, because so many of American society’s problems come directly from allowing leftists to feel as though their ideas are different but equal. They’re not.  As a right leaning person, it’s not so much that an elite opinion is stacked against me.  Rather, it’s that elites are manufacturing and maintaining a narrative that bears no relationship to reality.  And that’s mental illness stuff, particularly when it comes to folks who honestly believe the narrative.

    Incidentally, Bungalow Bill clearly demonstrates that Yoko Ono was the master mind behind the Beatles.  Unfortunately, no one ever wants to equally give women equal equality equitably.  That’s my alternative fact for you.