Them’s is the Facts, Kid….
We are a politically divided nation. Duh! I guess that’s hardly a shocker. We’ve been grappling with the malaise induced by a full-on political stalemate for at least a couple of decades now. So tell me something I don’t already know.
The thing is, though, it’s gotten worse. I don’t want to wax wistfully nostalgic like your grandpa recounting romantic stories in the midst of the basking sunlight of a crisp autumn afternoon, but believe it or not, I can remember the days when we differed in our opinions, not our facts. Yes, I still recall with a vague fondness the refreshing days of yesteryear when we understood that our interpretations and implementation may not always agree, but that we shared a common set of facts and that these facts were, well…..facts. I think we called it “science”. For example, we understood that when 99% of all “scientists” (and 100% of those not funded by the oil and gas industry) concurred regarding a particular physical phenomenon, like oh say, climate change, that we should probably go ahead and call that real. It was a blissful age indeed.
But those days seem so long ago now. These days, folks on both side of the political aisle not only want the right to their own opinions, they seem to feel entitled to their own set of facts as well, custom designed to fit the needs of whatever bullshit they happen to be peddling. Be it crime data, spending figures, or firearm statistics, we can’t even agree on numbers anymore. For years, we heard the unemployment figures, and we knew that this represented the number of people who didn’t have a job. There were good jobs in there and bad jobs in there, but employment statistics measured what percentage of people had jobs, not the relative quality of that employment. But some folks, hell-bent on denying President Obama the credit he rightfully deserves for lowering unemployment from 7.8% to 5% during the years of his presidency, as compared to the previous regime that saw unemployment rise from 4.2% to 7.8%, have decided those numbers just don’t work for them. After all, why let a little thing like facts get in the way of a perfectly good argument? Instead, they suggest that the numbers don’t accurately reflect the voluntarily unemployed or those folks with underpaying jobs, both of which apparently did not exist until Obama’s jobs numbers were in question. This allows them to make up whatever unemployment numbers they think correct, or perhaps more accurately, whatever numbers they think they can get people to believe. When discussing the unemployment figures of the Obama administration, Donald Trump, who must be right because he is, after all, “the best with numbers”, refused to give Obama any credit. Instead, he opined without citing any particular source whatsoever, “Don’t believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5 percent unemployment. The number’s probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent.” 42 percent???!!!!!! Is he serious? Can you imagine what this country would look like at 42% unemployment, with almost one out of every two people out there looking for work. That would have even the Joad clan shaking the tumbleweeds out of their collective noggins. But by manipulating the methodology for how the statistics are calculated (and by that I mean just making them up off the top of his head), Trump has created his own set of facts, an entirely different set of numbers that aren’t unnecessarily fettered by a pesky adherence to things like truth or reality.
And in this vein, I have decided that it is high time that I create my own set of facts, a web of fictional truths that I can cling to in times of rhetorical trouble and disperse to an unsuspecting audience who would rather assume what I am saying is true than perform any weighty fact-checking of their own. And so I give you: My List of Facts.
1. Donald Trump is only four generations removed from Neanderthal man. It’s true: Some researchers actually believe that he is carrying an extra chromosome that genetically predisposes him to speak complete gibberish without thought of impact or consequence.
2. While freebasing cocaine does sometimes lead to coronary seizure and untimely overdose deaths, it also has notable health benefits such as weight management and softer skin.
3. Despite rumors to the contrary, white Jewish males are significantly more prodigiously endowed than their African-American counterparts.
4. Guns don’t kill people. Midgets with guns kill people. Did you know that homicide rates are five times higher in the vertically-challenged population than in the general population?
5. Fantasy football is highly attractive to women, and in the eyes of many, comes with the commiserate esteem of a victorious knight virtuously vanquishing his opponent upon a battlefield strewn with blood.
6. Alcohol and chocolate have no calories. Especially on Sundays….
7. The children of parents who adorn their vehicles with annoyingly self-congratulatory bumper stickers about their kids’ status on the honor roll are ten times more likely to wipe out their entire family in the midst of a stress-fueled homicidal rage.
8. Folks who proselytize to others about religion or who use religion as a means for judging others simply because they have the audacity to live their lives in accordance with their own moral codes are far more likely to be smote down by lightning. God doesn’t put up with that nonsense.
9. Birds only poop above Hummer’s and I-roc’s.
10. Tim Tebow is a highly accurate passer who, if not for the disdain coaches have for his highly public persona and religious values, could start for at least 25 of the 32 NFL teams.
11. Sarah Palin never finished fifth grade, having given up on schooling when teachers insisted she write her essays using complete sentences.
12. And finally, writers, statistically speaking, make better lovers. Don’t go doubting me. That’s all based on years of dutiful information gathering and customer satisfaction surveys. I should know- I did the research.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: in 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com