How much do words matter in politics?

Nolan Hovell

Political polarization has resulted in a breakdown of meaningful dialogue surrounding key issues in our nation. 

As a culture of political correctness emerges, so does growing tension between it and a culture that parades falsehoods as facts. 

The Trump administration has been heavily criticized for presenting alternative facts as truth, but that doesn’t stop Trump from confidently staking false claims on a regular basis on Twitter, at rallies, international conventions and press conferences. A study by PolitiFact showed that just a mere one-third of Trump’s statements as president have been to some degree true, compared to Obama’s two-thirds truthful claims. 

A Washington Post fact-check analysis published last week found that “in the seven weeks leading up the midterm elections, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims—an average of 30 a day.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and Vice President Mike Pence adamantly defend Trump whenever he makes false or outrageous claims. Trump has condemned the mainstream media and left-wing proponents as conspiring to make him look bad. Truth and political correctness have played a major role in the media criticism of the president. 

But Trump isn’t the only one benefitting from public misinformation. He is merely the product of a society which prioritizes a dominant narrative over the truth—though truth is arguably the essence of democracy. Despite this fact, the weight of language has lightened.

A Trump-esque approach to rhetoric is arguably the backlash of an increasing desire for political correctness, but it has gone too far. Many of us seem to have forgotten that words matter.

Convenient lies that fit a narrative have defined the media and politics in the last few years. It has established discontent wherein our nation is greatly divided and people are unsure whether they can trust the media or our own government to disseminate truth.

Maintaining an analytic approach to information, checking if sources are reliable and confirming information through multiple reliable sources are ways to avoid being ignorant to the truth, but we may also need to re-learn that truth matters. 

Stop believing things simply because they sound good.

Do not buy into the fear-mongering, do not be convinced by convenient lies. Seek the truth at all costs and fight with your words and not with weapons if at all possible. Do not let sensational stories and nationalistic rhetoric deter you from doing your civic duty to protect your rights and the rights of every citizen.