The U.S. has also been invaded for years by political lies and untruths, many of our own making – pushed primarily by political special interest groups. And, like many Russians, we don’t realize we are forming our views based on fake facts
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Four days after Russia began dropping artillery shells on Kyiv, a scared Ukrainian restaurateur, Misha Katsiurin, who was racing to evacuate his wife and children from Ukraine, wondered why his father living in a small Russian city had not called him. Didn’t his father care about him, the son wondered? So he called his father.
Aren’t you worried about this war, Misha asked him? “What war?” was his reply. His father did not believe there was a war, nor did he think the Russian soldiers could bomb innocent people. He started to yell at his son for being wrong and said the Nazis are doing all this!
Many Ukrainians are experiencing the same disbelief from their Russian relatives. Why? Because that is the Nazi-caused-this message that Putin has been deliberately promoting over the air waves and social media, insisting there was no “invasion” by his troops.
Many Russians have accepted Putin’s version of what is happening, perhaps because they are used to believing their leader, or perhaps because they fear disapproval if they challenge that message, or maybe they know no other “truth.”
I feel sorry for these blindsided Russians. If people don’t -- or can’t --find out the facts, then they are living in a world of false beliefs, and, unfortunately, may not even realize it.
Some of us in the U.S. are also living in a world of delusions. The reasons are many – total trust in a leader, reluctance to hear the other side, unwillingness to analyze, or even think about an issue, or simply saying, I know what I believe, don’t bother me with the facts.
• The antivaxxers, who read the erroneous social media messages about COVID-19 and were easily convinced that these vaccines will harm or eventually kill them, or say they are a government plot. Vaccine mandates are a threat too, they say – because they damage a person’s freedom. The same freedom issues do not seem to be a concern to them when studies show the country may be losing democracy, a precious component of democracy.
• The Trump supporters who declared the 2020 election was stolen from their leader – 53 percent of Republicans, according to polls, declare that Trump, not Biden, is the rightful leader, and only 19 percent of the GOPers say Biden definitely won, according to a December Newsweek poll. The 2020 vote returns show Biden was the clear winner.
• The anti abortionists, who, in their eagerness to condemn all abortions, dismiss facts as to when a fetus becomes viable and if expanding anti-abortion laws violate a woman’s right to decide about her own body. The anti-abortion bills before state legislatures are wildly increasing. Approximately 531 abortion restrictions have been introduced in state legislatures THIS YEAR alone.
• The eugenicists movement, which has now thankfully disappeared, did govern intellectual views in the 1930s. Eugenics is the study of how to improve the human race. It was increasingly discredited as unscientific and racially biased during the 20th century, especially after the adoption of its doctrines by the Nazis in order to justify their treatment of Jews, disabled people, and other minority groups.
• The cry from many that global warming in simply a hoax and does not need our attention is disturbing. They either say climate change is not happening, and/or it is, but humans have nothing to do with it. According to a NASA February 2022 report, Earth’s surface continues to significantly warm, with recent global temperatures being the hottest in the past 2,000-plus years.
• QAnon – It is a loosely-organized anonymous group who believe some in the government are part of a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic sexual abusers of children who operate a global child sex trafficking ring QAnon claims it conspired against former U.S. President Donald Trump during his term in office It also says the Democratic Party has sinister intentions.
While propaganda, fake news and more recently, alternative facts have been with us for years, the messages seem to be increasing – here and abroad.
And why is that bad? I believe people deserve the truth – you and I are smart enough to make up our own minds, as long as we have the real facts in front of us. If we spout out fake news, we lose our credibility,.
Fake news can hurt other people, especially those easily latch on to false facts without thinking, and those who swallow false information about medical issues.And once they accept false information, it makes it harder for them to accept true information. And that's frightening.
Think of the Russian father who could not believe his son was in danger in Ukraine.