Post-truths at what price?
Afive-year-old boy who had terrorist potential was briefly stopped from entering the US last weekend. Were it not for highly alert border officials, this potentially dangerous child could have put the lives of many Americans in jeopardy. This is because he was travelling from a Muslim country, and everyone knows that this is a telltale sign of someone with terrorist intent, not so?
That same weekend, a 77-year old grandmother was also detained upon entry to the US in another major coup in the war against terror. She had the same telltale sign of a heartless terrorist.
But there was little gratitude for these swift actions by the forces of good.
Instead, there was widespread anger, aimed at the border police and at the man who ordered the operation: President Donald Trump, the Commander-in-Briefs of the US Armed Horses.
It was left to the White House’s spin-doctoring team to educate Americans and the world that these actions were in their interest. White House spokesperson Sean Spicer poured scorn on those who criticised the execution of the Trump edict.
“To assume that just because of someone’s age or gender or whatever they don’t pose a threat would be misguided and wrong,” said Spicer, to much derision and dismay from the pinko-liberal softie peanut gallery.
Why anybody would question Spicer’s logic boggles this lowly newspaperman. Anyone who has been around a human being aged five or younger knows the havoc they can wreak.
The fact that Spicer was just presenting “alternative facts” should not discredit him. These are his facts, and those who don’t like them can just go jump off Niagara Falls.
The same applies to those who do not like the alternative reality being presented by the defenders of Gupta state capture.
It has been a relief (albeit a depressing relief ) for South Africans to be able to take their eyes off the dramas at home and marvel at the crazy evolution of the Trump regime.
But with the US show set to play on for the next four years, we should not allow it to be too much of a distraction.
While the Trump noise was playing out, the defenders of state capture were continuing to paint their own reality. The Guptas went to court, depicting themselves as victims of a horrible plot, hatched by an evil man, Pravin Gordhan, who, they said, had connived with captains of corporate South Africa to destroy these black business pioneers.
This narrative is consistent with the story the Guptas have spun in recent years, claiming they are the custodians of job-creating entities who conduct business in an above-board manner.
In sketching themselves as a saintly band of brothers, the Guptas have sought to portray those who oppose them as enemies of transformation and black advancement. The opposite is true.
The Gupta entities are parasites that have added little value to our economy, but instead have fed off the fiscus. Those who oppose them have been trying to stop this feeding frenzy.
There is another alternative reality that has been peddled by opponents of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (Fica) Bill.
They have portrayed this bill, whose intention is to protect South Africa from criminal syndicates and corrupt elements, as unconstitutional and unlawful. They know the opposite is true, but have repeated this “post-truth” so many times that they believe it to be true.
There is also the alternative world inhabited by Edward Zuma, son of our dearly beloved leader. It is a bizarre world in which he is an influential opinion maker and must be heard by the world. From time to time, Ed takes to his keyboard and bangs out a declaration on the state of Planet Earth, and its flora and fauna.
This week, he lashed out at “greedy leaders” and “thieves” who are “sucking the wealth of this country”.
“These leaders are in government‚ the private sector‚ religious leaders‚ civil societies and many other structures of the country. These greedy people don’t give a damn about the livelihoods of the people of this country whatsoever,” said the son of South Africa’s most upstanding citizen.
Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, came in for some harsh words from Ed. Gordhan, for having “shares everywhere” and for apparently trying to sell SAA to a relative; and Jonas, for using the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to favour Jews and other “white interests”.
“This institution [the PIC] is their base and playground for total control and capture of the country‚” wrote Ed the Oracle.
While it would be preferable to ignore this as the rant of someone who may have imbibed Mamelodi’s most famous export, we cannot do so. He is the 43rd child of the head of state. His utterances should be based on some kind of reality, not fanciful proposals.
But maybe I am being too generous. His parent’s relationship with reality is also tenuous. We will see just how tenuous on Thursday night, when he delivers the state of the nation address, a speech which will leave us wondering which nation he is talking about.