What happens if Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia proves collusion but nobody believes him? Why are conservatives so quick to indict Hillary Clinton about her Russian connections but give Donald Trump a pass? Has <a href=”https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/2/16588964/america-epistemic-crisis” target=”_blank”>the idea of objective truth</a> become passé? Are we at an unrecoverable point in time when tribal politics has laid waste to objective truth? The answers to these serious questions will determine freedom in America for generations to come.
The basis for every conspiracy theory is that somebody is lying about something and that the people tasked with holding people accountable are a part of the conspiracy. Hence, in Trump’s Russia connection, we cannot believe Jake Tapper from CNN but we must believe Alex Jones, the king of conspiracy theorists. Tapper is out to get Trump while Alex Jones is simply telling the truth. Anyone who voted for Trump and/or believes that Washington D.C. is a swamp of corruption needs to believe that Tapper is the enemy and Jones is a truth-teller.
Criminal conspiracies exist. So do political conspiracies. My point is not to deny the obvious. My point is to raise a concern between conspiracy theories and objective truth. There often is a difference between what we believe and what is true. There also is often a difference between what we know and what is true.
A central concern over a Trump presidency for me always has been this notion that the only person we can believe is Donald Trump. If you disagree with Trump, you are an idiot or a liar. There is an evil to the strategy employed by Trump and Steve Bannon in discrediting anyone asking them for accountability.
Here is what I know: Donald Trump is often the idiot and liar. His worldview is not mine. His manner of business is not how I would conduct business. You would have to be deaf, dumb and blind to miss the connection between Trump and Russia. He did business with Russians throughout the recent Great Recession because that is where the money was to fund his business projects. Honestly, I do not doubt that Trump feels some loyalty to America. I just think he loves himself more and money is Trump’s standard of objective truth. The more money you have, the more truth you own.
Trump is hip deep with the Russians. And, yes, so too are the Clintons. Again, that is where the money is. The question for Robert Mueller has to do with collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to influence an American election. The first objective truth is that Russia is an enemy of the United States. If you do not believe that Russia is an enemy of the United States, there is no reason to worry about alleged collusion. Another objective truth is that Russia sought to influence an American election. If you believe that Russia’s influence was worth it to get rid of Hillary Clinton, you will roll your eyes at anything Mueller reveals. You also would be an enemy-in-spirit of the United States.
There is no objective truth in the rhetoric to drain the swamp. Draining the swamp is an act of deep cynicism and inherent disregard for our political processes. To believe in draining the swamp you must believe that our entire system of American democracy and elections is corrupt and that the only actions left to undo the corruption is to blow up the place. This is Bannon Politics 101. But the whole concept lacks objective truth. The best way to drain the swamp is regular order in our political processes, not abandoning that order.
Congress is a lot of things but if nobody can trust Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to do their jobs in the best interests of the American people, there is no America left to protect. To think replacing McConnell and Ryan will drain the swamp is juvenile if you truly believe there is a swamp. The swamp, by its very nature, is the entire system of democratic processes. The only way to drain the swamp is to overthrow those processes – which activity, might I remind us, is treasonous.
The only way to rediscover and reclaim objective truth is first to believe it exists and second to trust democratic processes to reveal it. If you really want to know who is corrupt or not, let the processes play out. If you only want what you want, just keep listening to Trump, Bannon, Alex Jones and Fox News.