The following quote is from one of Trump’s minions on an NPR show a few days ago. It is, of course, a classic example of alt-reality, the belief that reality is actually in the eye of the beholder.
“One thing that’s been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts. They’re not really facts,” Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes said on “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR. “It’s kind of like looking at ratings or looking at a glass half-full of water. Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth or not true. There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.”
The other guests on the NPR show were understandably shocked by the assertion that facts don’t exist anymore, but it is coming from the Trump camp after all. When I first read it I thought something about the quote was familiar. Then I remembered what Karl Rove said shortly after George Bush stole the White House in 2001.
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
The modern conservative movement does not accept the concept of a shared reality. For people like Rove and Trump, and religious zealots and fascists around the globe, reality is what you say it is. The only facts that count are those that support your views. Hitler created his own reality and convinced a whole lot of people to join him. It only ended after horrific worldwide destruction and bloodshed.
Trump’s alt-reality and that of his supporters will end as well, the only question is how big a price will we all have to pay?