The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
Like it or not, we live in Trump’s America now.
And it looks a whole lot like Alabama.
Thank you Jeff Sessions, George W. Bush and George Wallace for setting the stage for this.
Thank you Democratic Party for being so pathetically weak and inept.
Sorry for my mood. I woke up early this morning from a bad dream to finish uploading a video. That’s the nature of journalism now. It’s no longer about taking notes in a reporter’s pad, jotting down what newsworthy people say, and writing balanced stories to inform curious newspaper readers about what’s going on in the world.
No, in Trump’s America, like The Donald himself, people read little and go by their gut.
I mean, that’s what Facebook is about, right? Scan the headlines your friends are sharing and comment with your opinion as if the headline was an editorial statement without reading the article or considering any of the data?
Conservatives are not the only ones guilty of this. I see it every day among liberals too.
When I posted an article based on Gallup polling data showing that the number one response from 75 percent of Americans was shock and that they were surprised by Trump’s election, mainly due to the media coverage of opinion polls, one commenter said, I kid you not: “No, just SOME Americans are shocked and surprised. The majority of states are not.”
My reply? “So data means nothing to you?”
Sigh. Oh well. Never mind. The opinion of the average methhead with barely a high school degree is just as important as all the college professors the world over, in Trump’s America.
When I posted a news link about this on another friend’s Facebook post, the response was dismissive of the news story, full of data that might have informed the response. Instead, it was all about this: “I like to form my own conclusions.”
Right. Like Trump. Go with your gut.
The problem is, your gut response is polluted with many years of media consumption, in a land where the stories have been misframed for years, if not decades.
But woe be it up to anyone to try to change the paradigm. People are not listening. In fact, it seems they could care less. They know more than you, because they have an opinion and a Facebook page.
Just yesterday, we had a visitor at Camp David, a women working on a doctoral dissertation in history with little hope of actually working in the field except as a low paid adjunct professor. When I tried to talk about these things, she changed the subject to “Epistemology,” the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.
She made it clear she was not interesting in reading about the election, before or after it happened. Apparently she barely heard about Trump’s election by passing a television with the audio up loud in a bar. She does not read newspapers, online Websites, nor does she participate in Facebook. She doesn’t even have an account.
She won’t read this, even though she’s met me in person and heard us talk about it. But for those of you who are paying attention, let’s be crystal clear. There is no place in Trump’s America for words like epistemology. You have to be a dolt to even bring up such a thing, right?
I know there are not 10 people out there with the attention span to follow this. But for the nine left in America who can, epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge itself, the rationality of belief and justification.
According to the oversimplified Wikipedia discussion, much of the debate in epistemology centers on four areas: (1) the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to such concepts as truth, belief, and justification; (2) various problems of skepticism; (3) the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief; and (4) the criteria for knowledge and justification.
In common speech, a “statement of belief” is typically an expression of faith and/or trust in a person, power or other entity — like believing that Donald Trump will “Make America Great Again” by building a border wall and starting a trade war with China.
If anyone had ever tried to use a word like epistemology in Trump’s presence, on his staff or reality show, they would be fired on the spot.
Intellectuals who study epistemology are often concerned with what constitutes “truth,” but of course in Trump’s America, all such things are relative and, you know, draw your own conclusions by what’s in your “gut.”
According to post-modernist scholars, we can’t know anything anyway, right? So why bother to try?
I know one thing. Things are not going to go well for the economy or the environment in Trump’s America. As long as we keep talking about those two things as mutually exclusive concepts diametrically opposed to one another, things are not going to go well for either one.
Put that in your epistemological pipe and smoke it America. Does it taste like Stephen Hawking kind bud bought legally in Colorado?
Maybe by 2020, enough people will catch on and get the joke. I don’t know about you, but I’m not holding my breath.
As long as people barely pay attention to the Facebook headlines in links to the dumbed-down lamestream media in America, authoritarian ass holes like Trump will keep winning these elections — until we are forced to go find another planet to live on.
No, I think I will just find a nice snow capped mountain upon which to take a long winter’s nap. See y’all later, in another life — if there is such a thing, epistemologically speaking, of course.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.