By now, we should know who the winners were in the Super Tuesday primaries. I already know who the losers are, though--the American people ... or at least those who prefer logic and truth to partisan shenanigans.
Fact-checkers have been working overtime, I'm sure, to try to keep up with all the hyperbole and outright falsehoods being spouted in the election campaign. An awful lot of these politicians (and staff ... and supporters) really need to go back to history and civics classes since so many don't seem to understand how the Constitution, history and life in general work.
Let's look at just a few of the myths that keep getting passed around in this campaign.
• Donald Trump's campaign is fully self-funded.
Yeah, that's false. FactCheck and others determined that, while he has funded part of his campaign, about half or more of it is actually funded by campaign donors.
That fib is far from Trump's only one. FactCheck wrote in December: "It's been a banner year for political whoppers--and for one teller of tall tales in particular: Donald Trump. In the 12 years of FactCheck.org's existence, we've never seen his match. He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong."
Of course, obviously everyone is just lying about him ... probably jealous ...
• The Benghazi investigation is the longest congressional investigation in history.
Nope. In October, the investigation had clocked in at 17 months, and is now at nearly 22 months from its beginning on May 8, 2014, with the first (of eight) committee given the responsibility of investigating the events in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. PolitiFact found at least four investigations by select (or special) committees in Congress that lasted longer, running from 30 months (Committee on Assassinations, 1976-1979) to 90 months (Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, 1941-1948). Some investigations by permanent committees were also lengthy, but those committees have other things to do that can delay them.
By point of interest, the Benghazi investigation passed the time taken on the 9/11 inquiry in January, and is still going on. God willing, it won't surpass that National Defense committee.
• Liberal activist judges were responsible for Roe v. Wade allowing abortion to be legal.
Again, no. There hasn't been a majority of Democratic-appointed justices on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1971. Of the seven justices who ruled in the majority in the 1973 case, five were appointed by Republican presidents, as was one of the two dissenting justices. If all three "liberal" justices had dissented, it would still be 5-4 in favor.
Not that it matters to so many who feel the need to exaggerate and obfuscate where this particular ruling is concerned. All that matters is politics (which should have nothing to do with jurisprudence) ... and it seems activist judges only exist when the ruling is disliked, regardless of any legalities that led to the decision.
• Illegal immigrants are pouring over our borders.
Um, no. The Washington Post Fact Checker said in its check of the Thursday GOP debate: "Data show illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades. ... The flood of undocumented immigrants from Mexico peaked in 2000, when more than 1.6 million people were apprehended, according to Department of Homeland Security data. Those numbers have decreased about 400,000 per year since 2012 and continued to go down in fiscal 2015."
Data from the Census Bureau further demonstrate that net migration between the U.S. and Mexico is essentially zero. That hardly suggests "pouring."
I think I'll pour myself a cranberry ginger ale. I'm feeling a bit queasy.
A year ago Tuesday, I had a stroke. It seems apropos that the anniversary fell on election day, a day marked by confusion and dread. And that's just the campaigns themselves.
Since then, I've worked on my weight, my blood pressure and my stress level, with mixed results, especially on my weight; efforts to lose tend to result in gains (doing nothing, though, I lose). As far as stress goes, one thing I've done, since I usually go shoeless while in the newsroom, is taking to wearing fun socks (usually kitties); that way even if I'm a bit stressed out, my feet aren't. You have to start somewhere.
I also make sure to tell those I love how I feel about them, as we can't know when they or I might die (though my mom and the furry one are never allowed to do that; I have it in writing).
I'm hoping for no more such health crises, but I know it mostly depends on me.
I'm also hoping for lots of blooms in what I'm planting for spring and summer ... especially those plants that bring birds and butterflies to the front window. The furry one needs entertainment when I'm not home, and destroying the couch doesn't count.
Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorial on 03/02/2016
Print Headline: Mythic distortions