Jeanette Rusk Sefcik: We are becoming a ‘super-duper’ America. And that’s not a good thing.

(Evan Vucci | AP file photo) President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Center, Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla.

He says “Make America Great Again.” To use an old-fashioned term, make it “super-duper.”

However, our president represents another kind of super “duper,” a “deceiver.” In fact, he is the “superest” (in his type of lingo) duper of all. He is our duper-in-chief.

I want to highlight what I think is the biggest threat to our democracy, and the president’s role in it. Our biggest stumbling block to greatness is not partisanship or moral decay. It is something much more basic — the proliferation and blind acceptance of untruths. If we can’t agree on a common set of facts, we cannot solve problems, or, for very long, even live together peaceably.

Here is an example of a very dangerous”duping” that is currently being promoted by the White House – calling “Antifa” a terrorist organization and blaming it for violence and looting in recent demonstrations against police brutality. Those claims are untrue and so easily checked for veracity. Just google “Antifa.” It is “a political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology.” They are the antithesis of the president’s characterization. If they show up, it is to counter the anticipated violence of white supremacists.

Another egregious example of the president’s duping is his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, for example, his attitude about face masks. The facts are increasingly out there – face masks do protect, both the wearer and especially the people around you. But Trump won’t wear one in public because it doesn’t look good. At his Oklahoma rally, face masks were “optional.” The wearing of face masks doesn’t need to be compulsory. It can be voluntary, but it should be recommended and promoted, not scoffed at.

Too many of us are being “duped” and ending up looking like “dopes.”

The truth and the facts are out there and more readily available than ever before in our history. We need to actively seek out reliable information instead of just be passive receptacles of the “poop” and “goop” put out by the “dupers.” It is most outrageous when the deception comes from the top, but the lies and conspiracies are especially rampant on social media.

You know how in real estate it’s “location, location, location.” Well in the media world, it should be “source, source, source.” Go to a reliable source for your news. And, when you read a particular story, look for attribution. Who said it, and what was his/her motivation?

This might be anathema to the anti-government or anti-authority folks, but my most reliable source is the public media, like Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio, because they are professional journalists working in organizations that don’t have a profit motive. Try them, you’ll like them. They are informative, there’s no screaming and shouting, and they tell lots of “good news” stories.

After the public media, I put my trust in reputable award-winning newspapers, like the Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, Salt Lake Tribune and those local newspapers that are run by professionals.

What all of these sources have in common is they are staffed by educated and trained journalists who operate with ethics and standards. Be aware that anyone who steers you away from these quality sources of news (like the president's attacks on the mainstream media) and to the more inflammatory sources is doing it because he wants you to be duped.

So, my fellow citizens, I issue this challenge. Neither a dupe nor a dope need you be! To counter the most “super-duper” administration in our history, let’s be pooper-scoopers. Pick it up and throw it in the garbage.

Jeanette Rusk Sefcik

Jeanette Rusk Sefcik, Glendale, is a retired newspaper reporter and editor, having worked at newspapers including the Tucson Citizen, Daily Spectrum in St. George, Southern Utah News in Kanab and Lake Powell Chronicle in Page, Ariz. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Arizona.