A few weeks ago, I wrote my take on the presidential election. My goal as a journalist is to research, find the truth as best as I can, and share my work. I really don’t have an agenda, but I feel strongly that we are living in “interesting” times, and that is why I shared my thoughts. The election was unprecedented in many ways. Whether you like one candidate or the other, the truth is, many lies were told and many facts became irrelevant. Obviously, these are my opinions, based on facts I have researched and learned over the years. I am not perfect. I do my best and I am truly concerned Americans on the left and the right keep reading or watching what concurs with their mindset, even if it does not come from a reputable source. This has polarized our nation like never before. Many believe the mainstream media has a liberal bias. This is unfortunate, because we now trust only the media that agrees with us. And this will not help our nation, because we will make decisions based on lies, innuendos, and propaganda. I do read mainstream media. I also read international journals in different languages. I don’t assume the facts. I endeavor to remain objective and unbiased. I worked for public media for twenty-two years, because I trusted their ethics and as a trained journalist, that is where I belonged. It is still the most trusted source in news and I am proud of that. Today, I no longer work for PBS, but I try to live with the same journalistic ethics as before. I produce and host a show, Passion Time with Patricia Gras, on YouTube.
I certainly hope my truth is based more on facts than not, but it occurred to me, what if I am wrong? So I opened up my take on this election to the public. I received responses from both sides. What concerned me most is that many still use “fake news” websites or a very popular one on the right, Breibart, whose former leader is now President Trump’s lead strategist. My conclusion is that unless we can begin to place our trust in truthful sources of information, we will be doomed as a nation. Social media is not where we should be getting the facts. I suggest NPR, The Economist and The Week (which analyzes the news from left- and right-leaning publications). For US news, I like The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post and Wall Street Week.
My take on this election:
1. Lies don’t matter. Facts don’t matter. Apparently populists are everywhere, from the left for instance, we have Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Argentina’s Christina Kirchner, Brazil’s Lula da Silva and from the right, Austria’s Norbert Hofer, Britain’s Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and now President Donald Trump, none of whom have an issue with lying. This is why we have become so polarized. People don’t question the truth. They just believe what they are told IF it fits their view of the world. Unfortunately, the Media is just as polarized. If you are on the right, you listen to Fox News, talk radio or the websites that fit your beliefs; if you are on the left, you do the same. FACT CHECKING HAS TO BECOME A RELENTLESS DAILY PRACTICE, OR ELSE we are all doomed.
2. Trickle-down economics does not work. Cutting taxes for the rich will increase deficits and most likely create inflation and eventually bring us back into a recession. We need tax fairness for everyone, including the wealthy. Period.
3. It is NOT OKAY to be racist or sexist, bigoted or misogynist. THAT MAY work for a while, but in the long run it won’t. Values matter. Common decency matters. Justice matters.
4. I believe this country is more sexist than racist sometimes, and women can be just as sexist towards other women as men.
5. Twenty-five percent of the population of America voted for President Trump. These voters will decide what happens to the rest of the country. That is, seventy-five percent of Americans. Unfortunately, it has almost always been this way because most Americans who can vote, don’t!
6. The Electoral College does not make any sense. In a democracy, the candidate who wins the popular vote should win the race. President Trump won fair and square, but the elections in America are rigged if you take this fact into consideration.
7. With this election the idea that Conservatives and Evangelical Christians are the paragons of moral rectitude, and the elite Liberals control the media and thus, are anti-Trump flies in the face of reality. Trump voters, so many of them so-called Christians, voted for a man with questionable moral character, and the so-called “liberal” media loved the reality TV star and covered him freely, because they were making gobs of money. This coverage saved President Trump billions of dollars.
8. It is true. Both the left and the right are fed up with the establishment. Why? They cared more about winning elections than the challenges everyday Americans are facing. We must walk in each other’s shoes to understand what happened in this election.
9. Free trade, which up until now Republicans have supported, is not what has caused MOST of the job losses in America. It is competition from globalization and technology. None of the candidates explained this. It was just easier to criticize free trade.
10. Those same politicians who believe in small government have no problems imposing their beliefs on Americans who disagree with them. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life. Do you want a stranger to tell you what to do with your life? Maybe you do.
11. If you think deporting millions of immigrants who came here illegally and building a wall will stop immigration, you are living in a bubble (which does not exist). No one in the world supports open borders. That is insanity, but these political moves won’t solve the problem. What needs to change is foreign policy –we need one that keeps people where they are– and a sound immigration policy –one that places immigrants in jobs where they are most needed.
12. Congress won’t stop President Trump from doing what he wants. He has got their backing. The Democrats are in shambles. It is the people, the grassroots organizations that can make a difference. Those who perhaps didn’t vote and are now waking up to the new political reality should become involved. This new government appears extreme. Maybe it isn’t. We don’t really know. If you don’t like it, get up and be counted. Be heard. Vote in the next elections. And pray this country can be united again by the values it once had. If you do like the outcome, support it, but also be understanding and again, walk in other people’s shoes. They are scared.
13. Don’t believe the polls or the pundits. They were all wrong. Surely, Russia, Wikileaks and the FBI had something to do with Hillary’s loss, but the truth is most Americans did not like any of the candidates. Many voted for President Trump because he represented change.
14. It is very challenging to unite with people you completely disagree with. People who don’t share your values. HOWEVER, there is NO EXCUSE for us to be cruel, aggressive, violent, or uncivil to each other. There is no excuse for hate crimes. In fact, I urge you to stop any sort of bad behavior resulting from this election towards anyone, especially minorities or Trump supporters. If you are a victim, or you see something, PLEASE REPORT IT and seek support. https://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/hate.htm
Patricia Gras is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning journalist. She is the founder and producer of the online series Passion Time.
Posted: November 22, 2016 at 8:30 pm