I’ve taken a much-needed reprieve from Facebook after this presidential election. The election taught me a lot, and it solidified my left-leaning political position as well as my belief that many Americans are motivated by fear.
Many also struggle with verifying information. Fake news and misinformation fuels the belief system of too many Americans. The stories I read on Facebook, with their numerous ‘unnamed sources,’ would have been laughable if written by The Onion. Instead they were championed and believed by those who posted them.
The Things People Believe
Some day I intend to list the most ludicrous beliefs I’ve heard in my life. Here is a non-political example of a ‘truth’ told to me by a Preble County resident years ago. A 40-something-year-old man explained why older men, and not younger ones, have high cholesterol. It is about sex, he noted. Young men have a lot more sex and, he said, when a man ejaculates it purges cholesterol from their body.
Besides being potential fodder for bawdy humor and one-liners, the statement has no basis in fact. Scientists, doctors, and the entire medical field have studied cholesterol and understand why it tends to plague older people. It’s really not complicated.
But, explaining that to a man who latched onto a homespun cholesterol theory would have been futile.
The same holds true with politics. Convinced that ‘God works in mysterious ways,’ many of my Facebook friends reasoned that president-elect (such difficult words to write) Donald Trump is part of God’s plan. It’s a convenient truth that totally disregards what Trump did to get into office.
Americans know politicians lie
Yet, in the case of Trump, his lies rallied supporters. Now, they are faced with his changing message. They are slowly learning that, despite the ‘Lock Her Up’ signs still visible in my county, Trump is not going to do that. He never was. As his cabinet appointments are demonstrating, he’s also not going to ‘drain the swamp.’ He is even hedging his bet on Obamacare.
Facebook taught me, though, none of this will matter to his fans.
In fact, I’m betting many of those supporters are already plunking down $150 to adorn their Christmas tree with a Trump ornament. Because, as the ad says, Trump really loves saying ‘Merry Christmas.’.