‘Post-truth’ won’t help Trump gov­ern

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - Howard Nixon, Ca­tonsville

“Post-truth” is a newly coined word in the 2016 Ox­ford dic­tionar­ies. It is re­lated to An­drew A. Green’s idea of the 2016 elec­tion as the pos­si­ble end of ob­jec­tive re­al­ity (“Your own facts,” Nov. 18). Post-truth as a po­lit­i­cal strat­egy in­volves try­ing to shape pub­lic opin­ion more by emo­tions and per­sonal be­liefs than by ob­jec­tive facts. This was Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign strat­egy, but it has se­ri­ous costs when it be­comes a strat­egy for gov­ern­ing.

Do we re­ally want a pres­i­dent who is un­will­ing to rely on time-hon­ored ways of know­ing the truth and re­lies in­stead on the in­ter­net, pro­pa­gan­dists, his “gut,” and the last per­son who had his ear? What kinds of de­ci­sions will he make if he es­chews se­ri­ous re­search and does not ex­pose him­self to the di­verse ar­ray of opin­ions, ar­gu­ments and es­tab­lished facts that sur­round the is­sues he ad­dresses? Will he ig­nore re­spected ex­perts and schol­ars and em­brace opin­ions that seem to rep­re­sent the those he sees as his core con­stituency or most loyal sup­port­ers? Or will he sim­ply act in his own in­ter­ests, dis­re­gard­ing the con­se­quences for our coun­try?

So far, Don­ald Trump has been cava­lier in pre­sent­ing his opin­ions as truths. What does this im­ply about how he will make de­ci­sions as pres­i­dent? Post-truth got him elected, but it is a not an ef­fec­tive strat­egy for pres­i­den­tial lead­er­ship. We can only hope that Mr. Trump rec­og­nizes the dif­fer­ence be­tween cam­paign­ing and gov­ern­ing and piv­ots to­ward a more care­ful, de­lib­er­ate and ra­tio­nal strat­egy when he be­comes pres­i­dent. It is far more likely to help him make Amer­ica great.

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