After one year of Trump, America has seen erosion of civility, values

If you’ve been paying attention to any political news at all, you’ve probably noticed an assortment of daily absurdities courtesy of the loons who represent us in Congress, threats of nuclear war and political violence against, well, pretty much anyone who expresses any remotely controversial political opinion in the wrong time or place.

Americans are constantly being pelted with sensationalized headlines that are abandoned the next day for a new crop of craziness, with most media outlets jumping from “the president tweets falsehoods” to “Russian collusion” to “this dude’s a sexual predator and so are like 20 more of them” to “third mass shooting of the month.”

And with this insanity hitting us almost as instantly as is evanesces, it can be difficult to keep caring about anything that’s happening in politics.  The more rocks thrown at you, the less each individual rock hurts.  If one nail stabs your foot, you’ll bleed, but if you stand on a bed of nails, no individual nail will impact you.

This is the current state of political news:  a bed of nails. We are becoming desensitized to lies, to violence and to absurdity.

Whether it’s Trump’s daily utterances or his staff’s half-hearted attempts to justify his remarks, or news articles that care more about clicks than providing information to the public, or even the political shared on Facebook, we are surrounded by bias and untruth.

Often, the president’s more innocuous lies are ignored in favor of the ones that are the most outlandish.  For example, on June 27, of CNN, Trump stated, “Ratings way down,” although CNN’s ratings were at a five-year high.  Earlier, on June 21, he said, “We are one of the highest taxed nations in the world,” when, in fact, we are objectively not.

This points to a larger issue:  the devaluing of truth. Frequently, when Trump is caught in a lie, he’ll either double down or deny he ever made the claim, or completely circumvent the question, and he does not face consequences for his behavior.

If the president of the United States, one of the most powerful men in the world, is capable of ignoring the truth without any significant repercussions, then does the truth even matter? After all, the president is supposed to be held to higher moral standards than the general public; a leader’s strength of character and willingness to do what is right is a large part of why they were most likely chosen to assume their position.

If your leader, a person you hold to the highest moral standards, can lie with ease, then why shouldn’t you, someone held to much lower moral standards, be able to do the same?

Devaluing truth is devaluing reality. Without a shared truth or reality, passing legislation can become extremely difficult as legislators cannot reason with one another. Constituents become disappointed. Outrage is stoked.

Essentially, mass confusion over what reality is and Congress’s unwillingness to work as a cohesive body of people have allowed political tensions to spiral out of control and into violence.

Contrary to popular belief, modern incidents of political violence aren’t the issue of only one side. In the wake of the 2016 election, we turned in our tolerance for torches.

Supporters of the new president proudly bragged that so-called illegal aliens would soon be expelled from the country, that the wall would be built and that the economy would be directed away from much-needed social programs and toward the military.

Dissidents proclaimed that they would resist an unfair election, then quickly turned toward bashing the so-called alt-right, labelling their political opponents as white nationalists and Nazis, and displaying the same behavior they despise in those with whom they disagree.

In late August, there was an alt-right rally in Charlottesville named Unite the Right, which began with chants of “Jews will not replace us,” the brandishing of swastikas and the laughable usage of Tiki torches as a means by which to light their way, and it culminated in an attendee of the rally driving a car into a woman, killing her.

Following this terrorist attack, liberal support of the organization known as Antifa sprang up overnight. Videos began to surface of Antifa members lighting fire to police cars and assaulting people in MAGA hats.

As the violence unfolds, each side claims Trump’s presidency has stripped away their political rival’s mask of humanity to reveal a hideous, violent beast. Both sides have agreed to not install mirrors within their respective echo chambers.

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