“Sore losers.” That’s what many Republican voters and officials are calling the Women’s Marchers planning to walk January 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration. Wrong. Yes, I am disappointed that my candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost. But had any of the other Republican presidential candidates won, I would be disappointed, but accepting. After all, the tides of politics swing back and forth almost as regularly as the oceanic tides.
No. I am marching because Donald Trump, a candidate his own party doesn’t much like and tried to bar from candidacy, will be by this time tomorrow, leader of the free world. A man who has mocked women, persons with disabilities, and a Gold Star family. A man whose wealth was acquired not only by hard work (I grant him that, he is not lazy) but at least in part by bullying and cheating contractors, many of whom sued and are still suing him. A man who rejects the research of the many security agencies that protect us from enemies without and within. A man who proclaims he is his own best advisor. A man who threatens to bar some media reporters because they dare to be critical of him.
That last sentence scares me. It is the slippery slope towards dictatorship when the press is not free to do what they do best: hold government and business accountable by reporting events as accurately as possible. And it is a symptom of the illness of our nation, that sowing fake news, known in the intelligence industry as “disinformation,” has become so effective that it can be difficult to know when news is correct or not. Personally, I check Snopes.com regularly. They’ve become the Consumer Reports of news and social media. Prior to social media, disinformation was the sole purview of intelligence agencies on either side of any conflict. Now, however, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can say anything, no matter how outrageous – in fact, the more outrageous, the better – and glean thousands of hits and likes in a matter of a few hours, much like George Orwell’s “1984” in which news was constantly revised and revised to reflect government thinking, so that entire lives and massive real events were written out of existence.
If we lack true information, how can we behave wisely?
Donald Trump thinks like a dictator, because he has always (legally) run his business empire as one. He is about to learn that our government cannot be run that way. And this march is the beginning.