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Gaslighting Makes for Bad Public Policy | Opinion

The Honorable Mike Pence

Some stories are told best in black and white, like the brilliant 1944 film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman, whose husband tries to convince her that she is mentally ill so he can steal from her more easily. It’s a plotline that Americans need to be familiar with, because gaslighting is the preeminent strategy of the Biden administration and its allies as they change definitions and question reality as though it’s the rest of the country—not the administration—that is in denial about basic facts and policy failures.

All the recent redefinition of terms would be comical if the stakes weren’t so high. Starting with the economy, consider that economists (Biden’s team included) have always agreed that a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Now that Biden is president, we are told the definition of “recession” is something else, and in any case no one can be certain whose policies contributed to such an outcome.

It’s off-putting to see Biden brag about an economy in which inflation has wreaked havoc on family budgets. Shelter, gasoline, and food now comprise 63 percent of family spending. Over the last year alone, groceries are up 8.6 percent, and gas prices are up more than 70 percent since Biden took office.

Last Christmas, faced with supply-chain issues and rising prices, Biden’s team took the Ebenezer Scrooge approach, dismissing America’s pain as a “high class problem.” We suppose that depends on how they define “high class”; maybe it’s anyone with a few dollars and a desire to eat. This year, Hershey announced that it will not be able to meet the demand for candy at Halloween. Perhaps next, the tooth fairy will be delivering IOUs.

Recently, Planned Parenthood tweaked its website on the issue of ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition that is not treated with abortion. That inconvenient truth was ignored by many trying to say that pro-life laws would stop life-saving care, a claim that is absolutely false. But rather than discuss the facts, the nation’s number-one abortion vendor played with the language.

Scaring women about whether life-saving care will continue to be offered is vile and cruel, as is taking away support for mothers just because you like abortion.

Consider Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s call for Pregnancy Resource Centers to be shut down for the crime of helping mothers rather than ending infants’ lives. Maybe the senator is afraid of the competition, as such nonprofits offer numerous free services. In fact, Federally Qualified Health Centers outnumber Planned Parenthood abortion vendors 14 to 1. But while Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland turns a blind eye to attacks on the charities, others see red when it’s suggested that new moms deserve free help.

Joe Biden
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 05: President Joe Biden gives a Labor Day speech at the United Steelworkers of America Local Union 2227 on September 5, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Biden is in Pittsburgh to endorses local Democratic candidates.JEFF SWENSEN/GETTY IMAGES

Or consider the administration’s policy of transporting pregnant illegal immigrants to states where abortions are easier to get, which seems a rather sadistic welcome. It’s tough to be a baby in Biden’s America.

Another issue where words are being weaponized is the freedom of speech and of conscience. Americans have the right to hold any view, not just those approved by the people in power.

Vice President Kamala Harris is leading a new task force to address the harassment of women. Considering the attacks on pro-life nonprofits, threats against Supreme Court Justices, and the vitriol aimed at groups like Students for Life of America, will pro-life women get her attention? We are not holding our breath.

In fact, under Biden and his team, even the ability to say “women have babies” is at risk.

That’s because the Biden administration denies the reality of biology, genetics, and the natural distinctions between men and women. These efforts are on full display now as the Department of Education is undermining Title IX, which was created to protect women from discrimination in sports and on college campuses.

This effort changes the biological definition of sex to a relativistic one based on a person’s self-conception, allowing individuals’ arbitrary preferences to dictate school, business, and governmental actions. We already know how such policies will turn out. New Jersey recently experimented with housing “transgender women” (biologically male) prison inmates with actual women; the experiment was canceled when two female inmates became pregnant.

Biden’s team really needs to pick a path. Are there women’s issues (like abortion), as the First Lady indicated, or are sex and gender arbitrary social constructs?

We live in a world today in which concrete realities are ignored by spin doctors at the highest levels of power. We don’t need a change in the definition of all terms; we need a change in leadership. The next election will be about fighting for facts over deliberate fiction.

Mike Pence is the founder of Advancing American Freedom and 48th Vice President of the United States.

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