Alternative facts define new reality

Jake Giles, Staff Writer

The Browns are the best football team ever. LeBron James sucks at basketball. Everybody in the country is extremely excited for the Trump administration. You may be shaking your head right now, but don’t worry, these aren’t lies, they’re “alternative facts.”

In a recent press conference, Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, went after members of the media who disputed the crowd size at the inauguration. First of all, this doesn’t really matter to anyone or anything but Trump’s ego. Second, Spicer just flat out lied.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period.” Spicer said.

Many different sources, including a good pair of eyes, debunked his statement, along with other lies in the same press conference. We know that Trump has dodged the truth and outright lied during the campaign and certainly throughout his life, why would it surprise anyone that this trait would follow him to the Oval Office?

But this is when things get interesting. In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior advisor, defended Spicer’s statement with this wondrous phrase.

“Sean Spicer, our press secretary gave… alternative facts…” Conway explained.

Naturally, Todd grilled her about that idea, but these events do not bode well for our government. We knew Trump was definitely not going to be a great, or even good president. But he surrounds himself with people who are just as bad, and deceptive, as he is.

With Trump’s history of lies and deceit, many people across the country have every right to be skeptical of the future. If he keeps it up, the people will lose whatever trust they had in him, including many of his former supporters. Low approval rates have been linked to an inability to get things done in Washington. Not only that, but presidents can be impeached for lying.

Another worrisome thing is how self-conscious our president is. Just because reporters thought that the crowd was small, he, or his administration, decided to have their press secretary go out there and lie to the people. Not to mention, many people speculate that one of the main reasons he originally ran for president was because of the jokes Obama made about him during the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011.

An entire book could be filled with worrisome things about our new president, but there’s no space here. Rather, we can work to make a difference in our country. No, the citizens can’t do much legally aside from vote or run for office ourselves, but we can still make a difference.

First, we can make sure everyone is aware when they are being fed “alternative facts,” or fake news. We are told not to believe everything we hear on the internet, but still there are people out there who honestly believe some really crazy things. For example, an entire scandal started because of a fake news story about Hillary Clinton. People on Reddit began to believe that Clinton, along with officials in the DNC were running a child-sex ring in the basement of a pizza parlor. Even though it was debunked, many people believed it, including one man who entered the store, armed, with intentions to kill. This is just one example of fake news getting out of hand. Also, many claim that Donald Trump was elected because of fake news, which certainly played a large part of the election.

Second, we can hold politicians responsible for lying. Though this will mainly focus on journalists, ordinary citizens can still help. Not only can we protest and vote, but we can also contribute to those in the government who we do like. By not taking their statements at face-value, and staying educated about what they are doing, we can do our best to understand their actions.

Finally, we must hold onto our beliefs throughout the next four years. No matter what they are, we should stay true to ourselves. Even though we have a president who lies, cheats, and seizes whatever he wants it seems, there is no excuse for us to reciprocate his bad behavior. He technically represents us as a country, but he certainly does not represent us as individuals.

In the declaration of independence, Thomas Jefferson states that the power of the government is in the hands of the people. After all, this country is called America, not Trumpland. Even though we may feel hopeless, this is still our country.