The recent political and news landscape is cause for serious concern, not necessarily because of the policy decisions of the new administration but more of the way they conduct themselves in press interactions and on the internet. Our new president has been caught repeatedly blatantly lying, and it’s reached a point of public desensitization. In fact, according to PolitiFact (a website that documents the amount of falsehoods in politicians speeches), Trump’s public statements are about 48% untrue. Only 5% of what he says is considered to be 100% verifiable and true. The rest is somewhere in the middle. This is unacceptable because it creates a society in which lying is considered a natural and justified thing, and requires a bipartisan call for us as citizens to raise the standards of acceptable behavior by our leaders.
The problem with complacently accepting a leader who lies is that it devalues the truth. We, as responsible humans, not just Americans, should accept nothing less than the truth. It should be sought after and lies should not be tolerated. This is not a political view; this extends to both parties as well as news sources, who have an obligation to investigate the truth.
This willingness to believe in “fake news” and brushing off the fact that high-level leaders blatantly lie without consequence is the natural evolution of out-of-control post-modernism merging with the widespread use of social media. These unchecked post-modern ideals make both morals and truth relative. Then these relative “truths” are able to spread without any barriers through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, so that anyone with internet connection can spread their idea of the truth.
In order to combat this, we must stop viewing truth as relative. We must cling to absolutes, in order to see through lies and those looking to deceive. As citizens, we have an obligation to stay informed and read a variety of sources to identify lies. We must also try to stop viewing the world through a “liberal” or a “conservative” lens and instead try to stick to facts.
Written by Ryan Hodge, a current intern at the WYA North America office.