Science Has To Prevail In the Post-Trump Era For The Survival Of Humanity
Misinformation has shown that it can cover up the facts, but it can’t solve big problems
(Lack of) disclosure: although I cite Aaron Rupar from Vox a lot in this story, I have no affiliation with him or Vox whatsoever.
I wrote this on Friday at 3am in UK time, so Biden’s victory was assumed but not officially confirmed.
See the original source here.
The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.
— George Orwell, 1984
I don’t quote Orwell just because its convenient to call the current situation ‘Orwellian.’ A lot of people use that term without reading the book, let alone understanding the purpose of the allegory. Trump supporters can and have called any number of reasonable things Orwellian, despite Trump typifying so many of the tropes Orwell used in his work satirising the extremes of the political spectrum.
1984 is fundamentally about believing what politicians tell you, not what factual reality and even your own lived experiences tell you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to confront conspiracy theories.
If you believe in a conspiracy where doctors are liars and only openly corrupt politicians can be trusted, you or vulnerable members of your family can die. The evidence shows that lockdowns and masks work. Not following this guidance is dangerous to everyone, because it will eventually spread to every community.
Anti-vaxxers are a known conspiracy theorist faction that was gaining momentum before. But the reality is that they will be forced to see that those who get the eventual vaccine will not get sick, but they and their fellow anti-vaxxers will. Faced with this reality, they will have no choice but to accept that scientists know how to scientifically test a vaccine for use by everyone on earth, and they wouldn’t make a vaccine that controlled minds or made people sick.
I’ve been thinking of this phrase for a while: “when the rubber hits the road.” This is when the harsh reality is matched with the thinking, which may have been flawed.
While climate change is quantifiable, it is not yet quantifiable in US deaths in a convincing way. More natural disasters are happening, but as long as you’re a conspiracy theorist that believes natural disasters are not driven by global warming, you don’t count those deaths. The countries that have controlled the virus have followed the scientific advice have recovered faster and had less disruption.
The countries that have not followed the advice, like the UK and US (to differing degrees), have had:
More cases. More deaths. More disruption to daily life. More economic disruption.
This is a fact, and facts are important. As was pointed out by Vox’s Aaron Rupar, Trump’s desperate White House rant was everything people feared about his presidency in a nutshell.
You can’t lie your way out of every problem in the cold light of day. You can’t say figures aren’t what they are. You can, and Trump does, convince a lot of people to believe falsehoods. But that doesn’t matter in the face of people actually dying. COVID-19 will find the people who don’t want to face reality, and it will make them face realities that they were insulated from.
Again, COVID-19 does not discriminate.
Be under no illusion that climate change is anything but the next looming crisis of this kind. The cause of natural disasters can be denied, but eventually people will definitely notice from personal experience that natural disasters happen more frequently. Trump supporters frequently rely on anecdotal evidence, but anecdotal evidence also comes from a person’s lived experiences.
In a time like this, you turn to someone for help, like a child who wants reassurance. Trump pretended he knew how to help the situation, but he only made things worse. He thought he could fudge the numbers like he does on his taxes, but people actually know friends and family who died. The impact is real, and on the trajectory of cases and deaths that his presidency was on, it was about to get really real for a lot of people very quickly.
I know so many have died needlessly.
But the silver lining of this cloud is that we will more frequently turn to the only experts we can in these times, because pretending the problem isn’t real is eventually untenable.
Eventually you can’t lie your way out of the indisputable facts.
The election is another example. Trump wants to lie his way into legal action on voter fraud by the Democrats. The idea that anything on this scale that favours Biden to this extent could be achieved by fake Biden ballots and destroying Trump-favouring ballots is beyond ludicrous.
I showed this tweet to my parents, and they momentarily believed it.
Obviously no one can afford to bring 70 million lawsuits to court, except maybe Jeff Bezos.
Trump is trying to criminalise dissent by saying all Biden votes are fraud, but he has no evidence.
If you watch videos from Trump’s unhinged press conference, you can tell on his face that he wishes he was anywhere but here, doing this, facing this humiliation. Don Jr has been on Twitter berating establishment Republicans for not standing behind the Trump family in their time of need. But they see the writing on the wall, and they always knew that he was only a tool.
TOM DREISBACH, BYLINE: A lot of politicians complain about fundraising. But Mitch McConnell has said the reason politicians like him spend so much time asking for money is simple.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
MITCH MCCONNELL: We do it because we’d like to win – because we’d like to win. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to win.
McConnell likes to win, and he backs winning strategies. He rose to political prominence by running negative ads against his rivals. In 2016, Trump was clearly a winning strategy. In 2020, and especially in the election, this is not clear. This is why establishment Republicans are beginning to distance themselves because they know he’s probably going to lose, even if Don Jr doesn’t realise it.
Trump realises it.
You can see it on his face as he mindlessly runs through the list of baseless accusations of voter fraud.
He stuck to the script, because someone else wrote the script (someone who may have been Don Jr). But he knows it isn’t close enough for any kind of recount to matter. Everything he’s done to set this story up has failed, because the reality of cold, hard numbers has hit him like a ton of bricks.
The Republicans who backed Trump so far were okay to ignore the COVID-19 statistics such as:
5% of the world’s population, 25% of the world’s deaths
…prove Trump is wrong for the job of president at this time in history (and therefore at any time). if you can’t depend on the president in a crisis, he will only sew further chaos by obfuscating the reality with lies.
The facts of the election will come.
The facts of COVID-19 will come.
The facts will come when a vaccine comes, something that Trump wanted to happen before the election so that he could personally take credit for it.
The facts will come when enough people take the vaccine for COVID-19’s role as an agent of total chaos and tragedy in our lives begins to subside.
We will look back at that statistic:
United States is number 1 globally in total COVID-19 deaths.
It does not have the largest population, nor does it have more movement of people from other countries. There is only one conceivable explanation for this statistic, and it is that Trump hasn’t done what the countries who have done well in this area have done. In the UK we had a lockdown near the start of the year, but we opened up too quickly and too much.
Today we have started another national lockdown, as we faced the looming prospect of a higher number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths than we had when we virtually flattened the curve before.
Trump has nowhere to run.
The facts are after him, and he’s cornered.
You can plainly see it by the expression on his face.