By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
“Alternative facts”? Really? What are those things?
Facts are facts, right? Facts are the truth, regardless of what others may wish they were. Just wishing the facts aren’t what one would hope doesn’t make them “alternative facts.”
I had a discussion with my older sister and her husband, Fox News devotees, during my last, and most likely final, visit with them.
As they sat on their couch, worshiping Fox News as President Obama was shown with his golf clubs, ready for a day on the course, my sister said something like: “There he is, going on another vacation.”
Unable to ignore the facts I knew, I pointed out that President Obama, at that time (August 2015) had taken fewer vacation days than either President George W. Bush or President Bill Clinton at the same point in their terms.
“Well, that’s your opinion,” my sister replied.
No, it was a fact. Not an “alternative fact.” A fact. The truth. She may not like it, but it doesn’t change the fact.
Facts are facts. They are not “alternative facts.”
President Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd was not the largest ever. Not even close. Doesn’t matter how many times his press secretary or sold-out adviser Kellyanne Conway says it, many thousands of people avoided Trump’s inauguration because they didn’t want to be seen supporting a bigoted, misogynist, megalomaniac president put in office because of the Electoral College, not the popular vote.
Trump lost, but won within our system of electing presidents. That’s fine. It’s how we do things here. A fact. But he can’t now claim that the reason he lost the popular vote was because 3 million or 3.5 million undocumented immigrants voted in the election, as he claims. They didn’t. They can’t vote.
Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes. He lost, and he won. That’s a fact. Not an “alternative fact.”
But, my goodness, wouldn’t some Alabama politicians love “alternative facts”?
Gov. Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley would love “alternative facts.” Then he could say he didn’t have an improper sexual relationship with his top aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
“I didn’t grab her boobs,” Bentley could say. “I was giving her an advanced Heimlich maneuver. No, she wasn’t choking, but she might have been choking at any minute. After all, she’s with me.”
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, suspended from his position for the rest of his term for defying the US Supreme Court on the legalization of marriage equality, could argue that he really did nothing wrong.
“I’m being persecuted because I’m a Christian,” Moore might argue. And has.
That’s an “alternative fact.” Not a fact. He’s not being “persecuted” for his religious beliefs. He’s in trouble because he doesn’t follow the law. Moore’s problems don’t have anything to do with his religious beliefs.
That’s a fact. But he believes in an “alternate fact.” And, frankly, an alternate universe.
Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard would love “alternative facts.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Hubbard might say about the 12 counts of corruption for which a jury of his peers convicted him. “I was just doing what was best for Alabama.”
That’s an “alternative fact.” The fact: Hubbard is corrupt, and he still can’t face and acknowledge his corruption. And he didn’t do much for Alabama.
That’s a fact. There are no “alternative facts” for Hubbard to hang on to.
Someone once said “facts are stubborn things.” That was John Adams, back in the 1700s. “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence,” Adams said.
Adams is right. Facts and evidence can’t be ignored. There are no “alternative facts.” There is no “alternative evidence.”
Trump’s inauguration crowd wasn’t even close to the crowd of the wonderful Women’s March in Washington and around the nation, including here in Alabama. Or President Obama’s inauguration crowds in 2009 and 2013. Trump’s a loser. That’s a fact.
Gov. Bentley did grope his senior aide. And probably did more.
Chief Justice Roy Moore is a bigot and homophobe.
Former Speaker Hubbard is corrupt.
“Fact” is defined as “something that actually exists; reality; truth.” (Dictionary.com)
Facts. The truth.
“Alternative facts” are false. They don’t exist.
Hey, I don’t like it that Donald Trump is our president, but he is. That’s a fact.
Very few situations in our world are right or wrong. But facts are, indeed, facts. “Alternative facts,” are, simply, lies.
Be smart, people. You may not like the facts, but they are, alas, the facts.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]