A certain person with whom we had dinner a few days ago said something that almost caused my head to explode in regards to President Trump’s 77 minute press conference held on Thursday Feb. 16th at the White House. Here’s the exact words he spoke, “I was so tickled when Trump spanked the press the other day.” It took a lot of self control for me to not counter this crazy statement, but earlier I had been asked by said person’s spouse to not talk politics during our afternoon together, so I held my tongue.
When I got home, I Goggled Trump’s latest public embarrassment to see if maybe I had missed something. True, I did not watch the spectacle myself, but I had seen some highlights and heard several opinions on TV about what took place. So when I found the actual transcript online I skimmed through it to see what kind of “spanking” the press got. From what I read, I just couldn’t conjure up the image of Trump administering corporal punishment to the naughty press corps. So I dug further and read some of the news stories and commentaries online to learn what the “fake news” was saying about the event. Here is a sampling of what I found; USA Today, a reputable main stream news organization by anyone’s standard, summarized the press conference as “a rambling, defensive and at times angry performance by the leader of the free world”. CBS News media slant was no kinder, with Scott Pelley stating that Trump used his usual tactics of “ bluster, bravado, exaggeration and a few loose facts.”
Just to be fair, I checked FOX News to hear what the other side was saying about the same press conference. I learned that even FOX is cracking. Shepherd Smith reported that it is the news media’s job to let us know when things are said that are not true. He then went on to say that “This president keeps saying untrue things. He does it every time he’s in front of a microphone.” Talking about the Russian connection, he used Trump’s own words, “ the leaks are real, but the news is fake,” and then asked how that could possibly be a true statement.
My own take-away is that Trump made numerous nonsense statements in his 77 minutes in front of the cameras: “We’d have a nuclear holocaust like no other”, and “Actually what Flynn did was not wrong,” and when black reporter, April Ryan, asked Trump if he planned on meeting with the CBC, he had to be told that the acronym stood for the Congressional Black Caucasus and then he did exactly what any good racist would do, he assumed that since Ms. Ryan was an African American she must know the leaders of the Black Caucasus personally and she should set up the meeting for Trump.
So as I pondered this situation and I began to think that maybe this person, along with all President Trump’s supporters, are living in an alternate reality, a reality where alternative facts are true and where it is perfectly normal to have an orange maniacal former reality TV star as our President. If you don’t believe in alternate realties, just read up on quantum physics and the premise of multiple universes. Still in doubt, check out any of the dozen or so sci-fi flicks based on the alternate reality premise; The Matrix 1999, Inception 2010, and 12 Monkeys 1995, just to name three.
My problem is that I have been dwelling in the Liberal-verse. I feed on a steady diet of FB and blog posts, news stories, and email notifications all slanted to the Liberal Left. I rely on news sources that I believe are credible and not “fake news” such as the New York Times, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and CBS. For comedic relief I watch SNL, Steven Corbett and Bill Meyer. But if I want to understand or at least know where this person is coming from, I need to watch Fox News, start cruising the internet for the conservative right leaning news, and listen to the AM talk radio programs, which I accidently did one day last week. I had stopped the scan on my car radio to a live call-in show and was treated to a caller who said he was quite pleased with the president and did not care about the perceptions of the “fake news”. He said he supported the travel ban as a necessary precaution against terrorist attacks. I wonder if someone were to show this person proof that there have been zero deaths in the US from terrorist from any of the seven countries on the ban, and explain to him that the 10 terrorist attacks since 9/11 were perpetuated by 12 persons all of whom were either American citizens or legal residents of this country. Would such information cause a tear in the fabric of his reality? Would this person pause and try to reason out his conclusion? Maybe a dialogue could ensue where ideas could be exchanged and preconceived notions would come into question. But probably not. Nor would it be possible for this person to force feed me “alternative facts” until I was convinced and converted over to his side, into the Trump-verse.
But what I have come away with, by my afternoon with a person living in an alternate reality is that reality is nothing more than what we perceive it to be. Ask any cop, or lawyer. Getting two or more eyewitnesses to give the same statement about the exact same event in the same place and time is nearly impossible. In fact if their stories line up too perfectly, they are suspected of colluding. One may see a red car, another blue. A third will say there was no car. People, conversations, actions, all look, feel and appear different for each eyewitness. Everything we process must first go through our mind, our filter, which is unique for each of us. It is comprised of all our past experiences, good and bad, our belief systems about the world and those who inhabit our world. If a person is in a state of fear and distrust, then he/she perceives threats all around. One who comes from a place of love and trust, feels safe and accepting of others. And none of these witnesses would be lying. Each is telling their truth. After all if the writers of the four gospels, cannot tell the same story the same way four times regarding the resurrection of Jesus, (see: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20 ) then how can we expect to do any better than the four Holy Spirit inspired evangelist at agreeing with one another?