As we well know, our current president and his supporters like to cry “fake news” whenever a report doesn’t align with their world view.
I’d like to suggest a name for that world view: “Fake Nostalgia”.
The subtext lurking beneath anything this man says about almost any subject is nostalgia for a bygone America that exists only in the rosy glow of an addled imagination.
It was a time when everything was better somehow. Men were stronger and handsomer. Women and minorities knew their place, and jobs were plentiful because the benevolent barons who ruled our industries deigned to make them available to grateful and hard working minions. And everyone who was anyone got together over three-martini lunches at the club to discuss how much money they were all making.
Nobody got sick even though everyone smoked cigarettes and ate processed fried foods. The environment never suffered even when factories dumped waste into the nearest convenient body of water while non-biodegradable TV-dinner packages and plastic bottles gave birth to landfills. And football players hit each other hard and emerged unscathed with no lasting effects. A couple concussions, maybe, but that was the worst of it and they were back on the field the following week.
It was an illusion then, and it’s an illusion now.
This imaginary America existed in large part because the general public lacked easy access to the depth and breadth of information available today. But just as ignorance of the law does not justify breaking it, lack of awareness about a problem does not mean it did not exist.
It’s unfortunate that our current president propagates this myth, and yes, the bombast and bluster are legitimately frightening. But if there’s any comfort to be taken in this situation, it’s that one has to be of a certain age and ethnicity to remember and identify with this fake nostalgia, and that segment of the population is increasingly irrelevant and nearly extinct. Breathe, and keep the spotlight on reality.