Aeschylus' quote, "In war, truth is the first casualty," is repeated often, and applied to various situations, but I wonder how it applies now, as the Trump administration makes a war on truth its first priority. Trump himself has been attacking journalists, and this country's intelligence agents -- people that citizens and government officials rely on for the truth -- as liars. That began before the election and has continued.
Since taking over, Trump has been shutting down communication between government agencies and citizens. The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation and National Park Service have all imposed communications freezes on employees on the orders of Trump officials. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also on Monday put a gag order on its researchers and scientists, but that was lifted on Tuesday after an outcry from the scientific community. That one victory won't matter much in the sweep of the truth crackdown. Trump's insistence on controlling the message from agencies that are not supposed to be political, but are supposed to serve the public by basing their actions on sound science, is a sign of bad things to come.
When the mechanisms of communicating truth from the government to citizens have been compromised, as they are being compromised now, the gates open for those in charge of the government to get away with appalling things. It's critical in a coup to seize control first of the methods of mass communication. What we're seeing now is a coup from the inside, as a legitimately elected president begins seizing control of the forces in the country that could check his power. Whatever this presages, it's nothing good.