The sky barely shows signs of dawn’s early light on Christmas Day, when a young boy wanders into his parent’s living room. There he finds a plate of cookies and glass of milk conspicuously consumed. Presents now fill the space beneath the Christmas tree, piled one upon the other. Stockings that were empty the night before bulge with sweets and small toys. Absent any other explanation, the child may come up with any number of reasons for the sudden appearance of these things, but he has learned that there is precisely one very magical explanation.
After all, why would he believe any different? His belief in Santa Claus came first from the testimony of his own parents. It was his parents that brought him to see Santa Claus with his very own eyes at the mall, where he even had his picture taken with Santa. He’s written letters to the North Pole that his parents made sure got into the mail. During these precious and far too short years of childhood, how could this standard of truth not be enough?
Thankfully, the standard of truth that children need or even often understand is very different than the standard of truth that adults must contend with. We spend a great deal of energy shielding children from harder truths, such as where those painstakingly wrapped gifts actually came from or where Mister Socks the cat really went after being found “sleeping” in the snow. We do this because there’s plenty of time for young children to deal with these adult truths when they are older.
It is exactly as we grow older and take on more responsibilities, however, that the margin of error for truth rapidly shrinks. As voters in a constitutional republic, the standard of truth should necessarily be that much higher still, yet the easiest person to tell comfortable lies to will always be ourselves. Since everything we believe first passes through the lens of our own limited personal experience, what we know is necessarily tinged with that temptation to comfortable ignorance.
This being the case, how then do we know for certain what we know is true?
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right
of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances.”
-The First Amendment to the US Constitution-
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the existent rights of free religion, free speech, free press, free assembly, and free petition. Absolutely nowhere in the First Amendment is there any qualification that these rights are protected only if in accordance to some arbitrary objective measure of truth. The same protections afforded to the mainstream media to spew their incoherent politically charged drivel are also afforded to the fact free GOP president-elect. Unfortunately, one of those two equally dishonest parties now possesses actual political power.
In a misguided effort to hold the media accountable to some imagined standard of objective truth, Republicans have succumbed to exactly the same media partisanship that conservatives have been fighting against for decades. For far too many Americans, the definition of “honesty“, especially where it concerns the media, is largely dependent upon who the media source supported this past election cycle. Pushed the wrong candidate, and your entire media outfit is tarred as being “fake news” by people citing literal tabloid media and conspiracy pulp as “truth“.
Now that this insanity has infected the Republican Party, exacerbated by an election cycle between possibly the two most habitually dishonest people in the entire country, it’s clear that neither Democrats nor Republicans are actually interested in truth anymore. We watched in horror as once seemingly rational people viciously denied even easily verifiable claims against their candidate, as truth took a back seat to winning their precious election. Where I once held hope that sanity would be restored after the election, those hopes have since been extinguished.
Watching Baby Boomer partisans melt down into hysterical rage simply because someone dared criticize their groping orange messiah proves that Millennial snowflakes cowering in their “safe spaces” didn’t lose their spines by themselves. Regardless of whose feelings were hurt, no matter who won this election cycle, however, it’s clear that the lies of the victor would be vindicated, and it would be incumbent upon the victor’s political party to rein in their elected candidate. As it turns out, the duty once again falls upon American conservatives, as it always has, to carry the torch for truth.
“Facts don’t care about your feelings.“
We find ourselves living in an America where people on both sides of the political aisle no longer care about the truth or even basic civility. People who believe themselves justified in dismissing news solely based on perceived political disagreement are no better than a child that believes in Santa Claus because his parents told him so. For a child, it’s quaint magical thinking. For an adult, it’s dangerously irresponsible cult-think that survives through intimidation, indoctrination, intolerance, and gross ignorance.
Gathered into a ideological movement, there’s no limit to the very real harm these people can cause. In the coming years, Conservatives must stand against the tyranny of lies that has usurped our political system with every ounce of courage the Founding Fathers possessed in standing against the British Crown. The long and cold night is only just beginning.
Brace yourselves, patriots.
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