While being interviewed on Meet the Press, U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway uttered two words that I never expected to hear spoken again – alternative facts. Mrs. Conway used the words that I have long attempted to forget to defend White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s contested statement about the attendance at Donald Trump’s Presidential inauguration.
From the very moment that I heard Mrs. Conway say alternative facts on the Meet the Press interview, I started having a panic attack. I’m not joking either. Had you been watching the interview with me, you would have seen evidence of all the signs of a classic panic attack: palpitations, pounding heart, accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, shaking, and sensations of shortness of breath.
I was freaking out. I was expecting my father to appear on the screen with Mrs. Conway. I imagined very vividly, my father abruptly interrupting the interview and looking at Mrs. Conway with a piercing “if looks could kill” stare. I envisioned my father yelling at the top of his lungs “Kellyanne stop lying”.
“Stop lying” is the sanitized version of what my father would have said to Mrs. Conway. “Stop lying” is the G-rated adaption of my father’s reaction whenever he caught me trying to use alternative facts.
For example, whenever I would say that “I missed curfew because my watch stopped”; my father would say “stop lying go get your belt”. Whenever I said “I wasn’t on the phone, you must have gotten the busy signal because the phone was off the hook”; my father would say “stop lying, go get your belt, and you are not allowed to use the phone for two weeks”. If I said, “I wasn’t talking to you” after mumbling something disrespectfully under my breath; my father would say “stop lying”, grab me by the collar to remind me of my tenuous existence on this earth and then order me to go get my belt.
So, as I watched the Meet the Press interview with Mrs. Conway, I couldn’t help but wonder what my parents would have thought of me if I made up a phrase that is now referenced globally to justify lying. I pondered my parent’s reaction should they have watched me tell a lie on national television. Moreover, I wondered how Mrs. Conway will react when her own children choose to provide her with alternative facts.
For the record, writing about Mrs. Conway’s Meet the Press interview is not a democratic leaning analysis. In case, you haven’t been paying attention, I am certain that both political parties are largely flawed. Instead, writing about someone asserting that lies are alternative facts is my assessment of the sad state of our society.
I’m concerned about the state of the Nation. I’m concerned that those of us, in particular parents, who are charged with preparing the future leaders of this country are doing children and ourselves a devastating disservice. In short, thanks to parents and political figures like Mrs. Conway, we are on the precipitous of creating an irreparable mess.
From this point forward, I’m asking you to stop and think about the words that come out of your mouth before it’s too late. Furthermore, if you haven’t given the words alternative facts much thought I’m asking you to do so right now. And lastly, I want you to answer the following three questions immediately:
- What standards are we setting for our children when the size of an inauguration crowd is so important that Governmental leaders make up terminology to excuse lying?
- What kind of country have we created when the public willingly accepts and expects that our political leaders and elected officials will lie to us – offering us alternative facts – a good percentage of the time?
- Whatever happened to curfews, punishments, and being sent to your room to get your belt as a consequence of alternative facts? (This is a bonus question and answering is optional. If you choose to answer know that you do so at your own peril. However you choose to answer, please don’t reply with alternative facts! Tommie L. Turner may be listening nearby while holding your belt in his hand.)