by Tommi Avicolli Mecca
I grew up in their version of reality.
In the 50s, Communism was evil and Capitalism was good. Free speech was censoring movies, books and TV, and questioning students on college campuses. Queers and trans people were sick and perverted, a threat to truth, justice and the American way. A commie lurked around every corner.
In Catholic school, sex education was telling us not to touch ourselves “down there” or to have “impure” thoughts. National security was ducking under our desks during air raid drills. Native Americans weren’t slaughtered by European invaders, they were the bad guys on our black and white TV, or, occasionally, the side kick, like Tonto. This was the land of opportunity for all immigrants. Anybody could be president.
Plastic, pesticides and preservatives were good. Chemicals were our friends. Cigarettes were sexy. A two martini lunch was a mark of success. The suburbs were the promised land. A woman who wasn’t happy in her role as baby maker and housewife was mentally ill. Just ask Sylvia Plath.
God was on our side, even if we put Japanese Americans in internment camps, turned away shiploads of Jews trying to escape death in concentration camps, or had separate drinking fountains, schools and hospitals.
These days, the reality in which we live includes fake news and alternative facts, two things that were part of my reality growing up, only we didn’t use those terms. The Gulf of Tonkin incident pushed President Johnson into getting more involved in Vietnam. But it wasn’t what Johnson was led to believe it was. It was faked news for the purpose of promoting an all-out war on Vietnam. And it worked.
Kellyanne Conway, the current spokeswoman for the White House, is a font of such misinformation, her latest being Bowling Green, the massacre that never happened. Immediately after news of that horrible slaughter of innocents was revealed by Conway, many residents of the Kentucky town in which it was supposed to have occurred held a fake memorial for the non victims of the fabricated tragedy.
The real victim of the Bowling Green massacre is the truth.
Conway and her cohorts are creating a Reality TV administration that threatens to encase us all in its insanity.
The fuss over Conway’s latest fake news will fade. She will go on to spread lots more of the same. As will her employer and all the unqualified right-wing members of his cabinet. Reality is theirs to define. Why not?
There are enough people in this country who want to believe everything this administration is saying. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. Truth has never been important to many Americans.
It’s all about what people want to believe. Wasn’t Jesus born in a stable in Bethlehem, which is in Pennsylvania? I wonder how quickly I could convince most Americans of that? Maybe they already believe it. Who knows?
Jerry Springer is in the White House.