It’s 2017 and, according to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, it’s finally the dawn of a new day. Wanna know why? 

The American reality is finally getting a facelift. You may not think there’s anything wrong with, oh, you know, actual reality, but that’s only because the mainstream media indoctrinated you into liking it. And trust me, this current reality really pales in comparison with Chief Strategist Steven Bannon’s — er, I mean President Donald Trump’s — new American reality. Believe me, it’s gonna be “yuge.” 

Imagine a world where pigs fly, border walls are cost-free and hair plug comb-overs are deeply attractive. Thanks to alternative facts, the new administration’s recent innovation in political communication, you don’t have to imagine anymore!

And really, if you think about it, we as college students are well-poised to capitalize on this new impressive innovation. Say goodbye to days spent poring over library books, LexisNexis search results and statistical analysis software. With alternative facts, these little annoyances can become things of the past … well, at least in the social and natural sciences.

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, engineers aren’t quite off the hook. We still need them to use actual knowledge to design things for American workers to manufacture. In Trump’s America, that is very important. (Unless they want to design parts for folks in the growing clean energy industries to manufacture. That’s a waste of time, because climate change isn’t real.)

Now I know a lot of you have been pretty stressed lately by one or more of the many executive orders Trump has signed since his inauguration. (Hey, remember when Republicans frowned on the extensive use of executive orders?)

Granted, reality in Trump’s America hasn’t been all that great.

One of Trump’s first executive orders banned individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries (notably not the ones that the majority of 9/11 terrorists came from. Those countries have the desirable feature of being home to several Trump Organization properties) from entering the United States. The ban even excluded translators and others who risked their lives to assist the Department of Defense. Apparently, “Support Our Troops” actually means “Support Our Troops*.”

(*But don’t expect the United States to compensate you for your service, because they may renege on their promises if and when it becomes politically expedient to do so.)

The executive order even had implications for students at the University of Michigan. One student on campus, LSA senior Tina Al-khersan, told of her sister’s detainment at the Canadian border while U.S. officials struggled to interpret and implement the notoriously vague executive order. Her sister is a citizen of the United States, New Zealand and Iraq.

You could follow the news surrounding this injustice, angering yourself in the process. But this might tempt you to exercise your First Amendment right to #resist and join one of the many protests set to become permanent features of Trump’s presidency or otherwise behave in ways Tomi Lahren might deride as liberal crybaby whining. Now, some people might say you’d be doing your civic duty to engage in the democratic process by making your voice heard and holding the president accountable.

If all that sounds like it may pose too big a risk of worry lines, grey hair or peptic ulcers, then boy, are you going to appreciate alternative facts. Alternative facts will ensure that you, the voter, will have absolutely nothing to worry about under President Trump (that you know of).

With alternative facts, Trump’s highly unjust, un-American ban on some of the people most in need of a new start to life in the United States becomes a humane, necessary and wholly Constitutional way of keeping Americans safe and putting Americans first. It’s the only way to protect good, hardworking American families from malicious terrorists who wish to do them harm. This is supported by the alternative fact that 99.8 percent of all acts of terrorism and crime are perpetrated by Syrian terrorists disguised as refugee children.

Obviously, this article has been more or less satirical so far. But let’s get real for a second.

The right to free speech — which includes the rights of journalists to report information on our political leaders and their actions and disseminate to the public — is one of the most fundamental American rights, and it’s a crucial feature of our democracy.

But for the first time in my memory, the president and the officials within his administration have publicly lambasted honest, hardworking reporters for simply doing their jobs and reporting on his actions as president-elect and president. On Wednesday, Trump even used a Black History Month event as a platform to condemn CNN as “fake news” and praise conservative-leaning network Fox News. The president has also publically agreed with Bannon’s statement characterizing the media as the “opposition party.”

It doesn’t matter who is in the White House, Republican or Democrat. Transparency and democratic oversight require ardent free speech protection and journalists who can do their job of relaying important, if inconvenient, facts to the public without the White House trying to delegitimize entire networks perceived as unfriendly. 

My real suggestion? Support journalists who do the difficult — and increasingly dangerous — work of holding our leaders accountable. If you can, subscribe to reputable news sources and follow their content in your free time. If nothing else, do your own research before buying into Trump & Company’s fiery claims that reputable news networks are “fake news” whenever they publish an unflattering story.

But hey, if none of that sounds appealing, you could always believe the information that the administration wants you to have: its alternative facts.

Victoria Noble can be reached at vjnoble@umich.edu.

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