A great deal has changed globally in these four years of Donald Trump’s presidency. It’s been a wild ride from any perspective. We will be debating the good and bad of these things, and Trump’s hand in them, for decades to come. There is, however, one profound and positive shift that happened on his watch.
Whether he meant to or not, Trump almost single-handedly corrected the left’s false view of the nature of truth. Indeed, if we learned anything from the left and their media partisans these last few years, it is this: Truth is no longer relative.
The notion that each of us has his own equally legitimate take on the truth has been demonstrably demolished by the Age of Trump. Over the last five years, the world was regularly reminded just how illegitimate one particular man’s view of the truth was. And there was to be no debate over that objectively true truth.
The ubiquitous feel-good dogma of “I have no right to judge your truth and you may not judge mine” was the leftist world’s mother’s milk secular society force-fed all of us just recently. Oprah, for one, built a whole empire on the belief.
For all his foibles, Trump couldn’t open his mouth without giving flight to battalions of passionate media elites and Hollywood-types who commissioned themselves the faithful and dogged centurions of this precious new and fragile thing called objective truth. They showed up to work every day to constantly remind us that one particular person’s take on truth was indeed wholly illegitimate.
This state of being was aptly demonstrated early in President Trump’s term when Time magazine curiously raised the possibility of truth’s “death” with this provocative cover.
Of course, the question took many of us by surprise because we had long been told, and on very good authority, that Truth was as dead as God.
While both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were feted as postmodern presidents, Trump represents the post-postmodern president because the idea that all perspectives should be welcome at that table is now categorically dead. Some ideas are indeed evil and must be rooted out and denounced with great fervency.
As “fact-checking” became the secular press’s new religious duty to the world in the Age of Trump, we are all objectivists now — and of the very fundamentalist flavor. Rare were days when we were not “gifted” their services, often in “real-time,” when Trump said or tweeted anything. Did one incorrect statement ever fall from his tongue or fingertips without being dutifully called out? No, even his tiniest falsehoods were cataloged in obsessive detail.
It’s worth noting that Truth-is-Relative’s more sophisticated philosophical cousin, “Situation Ethics,” was also effectively pronounced dead by President Trump’s existence. We now know with unquestioned certainty that there are indeed situations in which certain choices and assertions are forever and always morally and rationally wrong. Our brightest commentators never let us forget how nearly everything Trump ever said or did was fundamentally immoral and unethical.
Mind you, we are not all complete objectivists all the time. Some on the left still hold a remarkably tenuous relationship with objective reality. While The New York Times authoritatively comforted us with the famed headline banner insisting there is “no evidence of voter fraud” in November’s election in any state, they still cling to the illusion that folks like 210-pound Hannah Mouncey, the male Australian women’s footballer, is really just one of the girls who just wanna have fun and should be universally respected as such.
It’s worth noting this selective appreciation of “absolute truth” from the left didn’t entirely start with Trump — they’ve been denouncing Republican candidates and presidents as “beyond the pale of decency!” for quite a while, even those they effusively praise at the moment.
Recall, for instance, that in 2012, we were told by our new bridge-building, nation-healing President Joe Biden that the now angelically august and wholly honorable Mitt Romney was the very man who was “going to put ya’ll back in chains.” It’s also remarkable how much smarter and nobler presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have become, according to the chattering class. Yet anyone with a functioning memory can easily recall how demonized they were by those same voices while in office.
These facts demonstrate why the media’s ratings tanked dramatically in the Age of Trump among everyone except committed Democrats. Most grew tired of their self-righteous finger-wagging and demagoguing to varying degrees, even if they didn’t support Trump.
At the very least, Trump served to convince the left that objective truth does indeed exist and it does make unbending claims on all of us. From here on out, whenever someone tries to convince any of us that truth is relative and all perspectives deserve an equal hearing, we only need to ask “Including Trump’s?” to put that silly assertion to rest. For that, we can all be thankful.