“Alternative facts” are still not facts

Megan Walker, Opinions Editor 

The Oxford Dictionary defines a fact as something that is known or proven to be true. Facts are indisputably and unquestionably true, inflexible and are not subjective to individual interpretation.
At least to everyone except President Donald Trump, that is. To President Trump, the word “fact” has a much different definition.
If President Trump says something is so, he believes it to be a fact, regardless of whether or not what he says is true. The claims are not untrue, but are instead “alternative facts,” a term coined by his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Take, for instance, comments about his electoral victory.
President Trump said that he won more electoral votes than any other Republican since Ronald Reagan. George H. W. Bush, the commander in chief immediately succeeding Reagan, won 426 electoral votes in 1988, as compared to only 304 that President Trump secured in his “overwhelming victory.”
While this might be written off as egotism or an offhand comment made in the excitement of triumph, the false claims do not end there.
President Trump and his staff have told untruths about inauguration size, voter fraud, Syrian refugees, the reaction to his speech to the CIA, crime rates in specific cities and the size of the federal workforce, just to name a few.
The American people can turn a blind eye to lofty claims about trivial matters like the scope of his victory or crowd size at his inauguration. But should the American people allow their president to blatantly disregard verifiable facts about issues of serious national concern?
People often make excuses for Trump “just being Trump.” My answer to those people is that the president should be held to a higher standard than a reality show host. We must hold our president accountable for the things he says and does instead of brushing them off like a piece of lint.
I realize that this may seem overly dramatic since none of his alternative facts have had any serious repercussions, but the problem goes beyond narcissistic declarations. If President Trump believes it is OK to lie about frivolous things, who’s to say that habit will not continue into more serious matters?
I couldn’t care less about President Trump needing to feel as though his horse is bigger than everyone else’s horse for personal edification, but I do care that the government is honest and realistic when it comes to important issues.
President Trump is gradually spinning a web of “alternative facts” that have the potential to grow into an alternative reality, a creation of his pure imagination in which he ignores the truth of the world around.
“Alternative facts” may seem innocent to the average citizen now, but we must be cautious to accept President Trump’s use and abuse of these false claims for the sake of our nation’s well-being.

Walker is a senior journalism and mass communication major.

2 comments

  1. Beverly Schmidt says:

    Excellent article. I too think it’s important to take responsibility for our behavior which governs our words.
    Enjoyed reading your piece because it was not only well written, but free from personal attacks.

  2. Jeff Northrup says:

    Bravo!

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