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The Awkward Moment When Opinions Became Facts: Kellyanne Conway’s Brief but Chilling Comment

When discussing politics recently with friends, we were all stunned by how short of a time it has been since Donald Trump was inaugurated.  We discussed how exhausting it is now, to wake up each morning and see what kind of policy Trump wants to attack, what new policy he wants to enforce, or even worse, what new things he has released on Twitter. Checking the news every morning feels like a miserable chore now, and to believe this could truly be the next four years of our lives sounds disturbing and tiring on all levels.

There is so much that can be said about the last couple weeks, and while a part of me wants to go on forever about each individual issue, I would like to focus on a comment that Kellyanne Conway said that put me at total unease. The comment was made when she and “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd spoke on whether or not Sean Spicer had flat-out lied about Trump’s “most-watched ever” inauguration.

Conway: “You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

Todd: “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”

Conway: “If we’re going to keep referring to the press secretary in those types of terms I think we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”

The public immediatley took to Twitter to express their outrage at such a statement.  Some of the tweets were blunt, while others tweeted their own alternative facts.  

Comedians created their own jokes as well.  How could they not?  With a comment like that, the jokes write themselves.   

Jimmy Kimmel offered alternative facts about himself such as,”You know, at the Olympics this summer, I beat Usain Bolt to win a gold medal in the 100 meter dash.”  

Seth Meyers poked fun, saying, “Kellyanne Conway is like someone trying to do the Jedi mind trick after only one week of Jedi training. ‘These are not the droids you are looking for.’ ‘Yeah, those are my droids!’ ‘No, these are ‘alternative robots.’”

Actress Desi Lydic acted out Kellyanne on Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Show,” saying, “The media wants you to believe that the crowd was small based on what your eyeballs are telling your brain. But here’s an alternative fact. A lot of people left early because, as Trump predicted, they got tired of winning. Another alternative fact: You just couldn’t see Trump’s crowd because they were wearing polar bear skins.”  

And Stephen Colbert, when discussing Trump’s famed Muslim ban and how it separated children from mothers at the airports, took the moment to make a direct jab: “Or, as Kellyanne Conway calls it, ‘alternative daycare.’”

You can tell every single one of these people wants to come up to her and ask:

Behind all the jokes and funny commentary about the phrase, however, lives a chilling reality.  Such a comment coming straight from Kellyanne, the Counselor for Donald Trump, means that Trump and his team have admitted to refusing to see the facts before them and have instead chosen to make their own facts.  Although this comment did nothing to cause direct harm to anyone, the truth remains that the leader of the free nation and all he appoints will most likely ignore what is laid out before their eyes, including all upcoming protests and rage from the people, and see and hear only what they want.

I find it disturbing that over one million people worldwide marched and protested his inauguration to show their displeasure and instead of having a leader who listened, we had a leader who tweeted twice about it (both tweets clearly not supporting it) and moved on. I find it disturbing that Trump and his team continue to twist reality to form their own facts and and choose only to believe what they want. I find it disturbing to go online and read how a surprisingly large amount of people seem to agree with Kellyanne and Trump, choosing to ignore the facts right along with them.

It should come to no surprise that George Orwell’s novel “1984” shot to number one (now at two) on Amazon after Kellyanne’s comment and Sigent’s edition of the book sold out at the end of January. Alternative facts strikes a heavy theme from within that book, and one can only hope that with such a large and sudden increase in its sales, people are aware of the connection and want to resist at all costs.

Images/GIFs: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6

Anastasia Armstrong. English Major at UMass Amherst.
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