One of the most appalling aspects of the U.S. presidential campaign was the flood of misinformation, from the National Enquirer (Donald Trump’s bizarre propaganda sheet) to websites pumping out utter nonsense from tiny European fiefdoms. The impact of such trash is obvious; many voters appear to have little ability to sift out facts from fantasy, and often seem not to care. The deliberate lie that the polls would be swamped by illegal voters, for example, was carefully fostered by the Trump campaign, as part of a sustained racist effort to suppress votes in Black and Latino communities.
Part of the problem arises from the long-term destruction of the U.S. public school system, leaving the population poorly educated in basic concepts of science. A recent Gallup poll, for example, found that 42% of Americans believe that “God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years.” (On the positive side, the number of those who still deny global warming is now less than one in five.) Another disturbing Gallup poll found that 4 in 10 Americans still wrongly believe that Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction” after the illegal US/UK invasion of 2003. And of course, many still think that Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Today, millions of U.S. working people face mass unemployment and poverty, giving the pedlars of racism and fascism wide scope to push their lies. To “make America great again,” just elect a strong leader, they say, and shazam! The trade deals that destroyed your jobs will vanish, Islamic State will be crushed, and all will be well. But the truth is that only a united, conscious working class has the power to resist the corporate gangsters who control the U.S. (and Canada). And that power comes from knowledge, not ignorance.