Alternative facts vs. the facts of life

Published 11:37 am Monday, August 21, 2017

I didn’t catch Tuesday’s news conference with President Trump delivered live; I had to wait until I got home. But as a point of clarity: it was the ‘sanitized’ version; you know, the one with all the national media commentators’ fingerprints (ne: opinions!) all over it. Seems I had to discern the ‘truth’ of it on my own.

In reviewing his response to the Charlottesville tragedy, I’ve concluded the President has different standards for different Americans: one for his base that he constantly tries to appease, and another for – well, ‘others of us’.

According to Trump, there were some “very fine people” in that weekend rally, some shouting anti-Semitic and racist slogans and lifting their arms in Nazi salutes. I hope he realized some of those “very fine people” chanting, “the Jews will not replace us!” were referring to his own Jewish grandchildren; the ones he dearly loves by daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

“When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts,” the President declared. I wonder what facts he had in promoting birtherism the past eight years, or that Obama had ordered surveillance of Trump Tower, or all those Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9-11 attacks, or those millions of immigrants who he said illegally voted for Hillary Clinton.

Maybe I can help the President see the “facts” and “many sides” to these double standards by framing it in a way he understands: The protesters in Charlottesville – some of whom carried weapons – are angry and frustrated. They feel dislocated from a pluralistic inclusive society; they feel unheard and unwanted. In Trump they feel they’ve found someone who listens to their grievances. They feel fortified in glory, honor and dignity. Now their turn at power means domination, and that – for them – is the only path toward creating a ‘pure’ society.

Hmmm, seems I could make this same analogy about ISIS or the Taliban, as much as I could about those “very fine people” in Charlottesville.

I believe Heather Heyer, the young woman so tragically struck down way too soon last Saturday when Alex Fields plowed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters, said it best in that anonymous quote:

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Perhaps if a Muslim had been driving the car in Charlottesville, the President would be able to tweet seeing only one side, and call it for what it is: an act of hate and domestic terrorism that betrays the values and principles that brave Americans like my Dad fought, and many others have died for.

C’mon, Mr. President, see the good in ALL people, instead of just the ones who are in your power base.


Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7211.