How to deal with GOP fantasies

The world is a cacophony of noise, and we learn to tune it out.

My professional background is news reporting and law; so I was trained to be careful about factual accuracy, and reach conclusions by a process of fact-based reasoning. In my lines of work, getting the facts right mattered. But then, that’s true universally, no matter how you make a living.

Partisan politics always plays fast and loose with facts, but Republicans are taking that to a level never seen before. Nobody should listen to people who don’t know what they’re talking about, or simply make things up; but unfortunately, lots of people do.

On Thursday morning, August 25, 2022, Lara Trump went on Fox News and made the following assertion: “It’s ridiculous to assume that the current president did not know about an FBI raid from his own Department of Justice on the last president.”

She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. The previous day, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked Biden about that, and the current president replied, “I didn’t have any advance notice.” There’s a lot of reason to believe him, because that’s consistent with a longstanding policy in place since the Nixon era to keep partisan politics out of federal law enforcement. And there’s no evidence otherwise.

“I don’t think anyone believes Joe Biden,” Lara Trump told Fox & Friends. “We know it’s a lie.” That’s a lie on its face; lots of people believe Biden — far more than listen to her. Read story here.

Fox News isn’t a news organization; it’s propaganda. The Murdoch family, owners of Fox, get away with lying to the American people by putting people like Lara Trump on the air. They can say those are only her opinions, and mumble about free speech. But a reputable news station doesn’t put liars and cranks on the air, and a real news reporter would question her about sources. In a court, she would get shredded on a witness stand.

Then there’s Laura Loomer, who’s crazy. She’s been kicked off social media platforms; banned by payment processors, rideshare companies, and food delivery apps; removed from events by security guards, and had her press credentials revoked. (She reported for InfoWars, Alex Jones’ disreputable outfit.)

On August 23, 2022, she lost the GOP primary for a U.S. House seat in Florida by a vote of 43,471 (51.1%) to 37,612 (44.2%). That isn’t close, but two days later she declared, “I actually am the Congresswoman in Florida’s 11th District, and everyone knows it.” Read story here. Actually, she’s not even going to be on the November ballot, having lost the primary.

Do you notice a pattern, though? Many Republicans are adopting the posture that “things are true because I say they are.” And a significant number of their candidates are saying they won’t certify elections if they don’t believe the results (see, e.g., story here). But truth is still truth, and lies are still lies.

  • Donald Trump doesn’t get to be president because he says he is.
  • He doesn’t get to take home classified government documents because he says they belong to him.
  • Biden didn’t put the FBI up to searching Trump’s residence for those documents because Lara Trump says he did.
  • Laura Loomer didn’t win the GOP primary in Florida’s 11th congressional district because she says she did, just as Trump didn’t win the 2020 election because his supporters believe he did, nor was the election “stolen” because they believe it was.

It isn’t necessary to choose between free speech and democracy. In the Alice In Wonderland world of MAGA politics, they can think and say whatever they like; but in the real world, we can’t let them take whatever they want, because our freedom is gone if we do. I’m not suggesting we debate them about their fantasies. All I’m saying is don’t cave in to them. And the rest of the time, tune out the noise.

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