New Orleans The humorist David Sedaris, writing in a recent number of The New Yorker, spoke whimsically about how his mornings have changed from Trump-Time where he devoured the news and refreshed websites to steel himself against the daily horror to now in Biden-World where he glances at the headlines and has returned to normal life. Free advice, he better not read Jane Mayer’s story in the same issue about the big money behind the big lie that Trump actually won the election. If he does, he’ll hear the four-alarm warning that democracy is own fire and burning.
This is the parallel universe where we now all live in the USA. This is the world that Kellyanne Conway announced in 2017 when she introduced us to the concept of “alternative facts.” Facts were no longer objective realities, provable to all, even if not obvious to everyone. Facts were somehow similar to opinions and little more than a matter of viewpoint.
For Trump opponents, the universe seems to be speaking to them directly. He has been silenced in most of the mainstream. His Twitter rants and Facebook mischief have been stifled, perhaps permanently. Judges are allowing Congress to review his finances while he was in office and his wheeling and dealing around GSA and his DC hotel. His accountants are being forced to reveal more and more about his taxes. In fact, his longtime accountant has been criminally charged in New York. Courts in Scotland are potentially examining his deals when he purchased golf courses there under their “McMafia” regulations for undisclosed wealth financing. Sedaris and much of the country can easily be forgiven for thinking that he is being chased and caged in his Florida bunker, and we are safer by the day.
In the other universe of alternative facts, the big lie folks are still working hard – and being hugely funded – to still try to overturn the 2020 election he lost in their efforts to establish the opposite. More troubling in their widespread efforts to attack democratic norms and procedures, state by state, jurisdiction by jurisdiction, they are targeting 2024’s election. The recount in Arizona, widely discredited on all levels, continues to drag on, and, as Mayer argues, other states are in the wings waiting for the results to be able to marshal enough alternative facts to trigger their own recounts. In this universe few believe that they will actually restore Trump to office and depose Biden, though some including Trump himself may still be grabbing that straw, but their efforts are the cover fire masking their deeper drive at voter suppression.
It’s not pretty to think about, but these parallel universes are real and worrisome. Time to turn off the snooze button and get back to fighting fit again, if we want to vote and have our votes counted in the future.