We’re living in a “post-truth” dystopia

I love Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year. Passionately.

In case you don’t follow this nerdy topic as avidly as I do, last year Oxford Dictionaries chose an emoji as Word of the Year. (And it wasn’t the peach-butt emoji, either). I thought that was a little crass. But this year, when I heard the winner, I literally stood and applauded.

The word is post-truth, which Oxford described as a term that questions the concept of facts themselves.

Sound familiar?

In his campaign, amongst other “post-truths,” Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of starting the “birther” movement, claimed (and then disclaimed) that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, and asserted that he was endorsed by the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council.

I was going to try to demonstrate a lack of bias and list Hillary Clinton’s campaign lies, too. But after an extensive search of mainstream news sources, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc., I could find none. (Biased liberal media? Ok, if you say so, red states.)

So this means that Trump’s supporters, despite a lot of very available evidence to the contrary, believed him. Why? Because we are in the midst of a “post-truth” era, where “facts” are twisted and disputed, and even hard evidence cannot triumph over obvious falsities.

So the mighty Oxford is pretty spot on, IMHO.

“It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly charged political and social discourse,” Casper Grathwohl, Oxford Dictionaries’ president, said in an essay on the company’s website, which cited “the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment.”

But there is something else that might just tarnish Trump’s reputation with his googly-eyed followers: he is already showing signs that he may not keep several of his most popular campaign promises, among them:

  1. That he would prosecute Hillary Clinton. In his acceptance speech, he had already backed away from this one, saying t  the nation owed her “a debt of gratitude.”
  2. That he would ban Muslims, or at least institute “extreme vetting.” His website now mentions nothing of the sort.
  3. That he would immediately repeal and replace Obamacare as soon as he took office. Now he’s softened his stance, saying that he’d keep several aspects of the policy, after meeting with President Obama.

Net-net,  I think Oxford is right on the money this year. No emojis required.