“Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak you mind—even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants. And do your homework.” - Maggie Kuhn
The words within this quote embody who I strive to be.
When presented with new facts are we willing to completely change our mind on complicated or uncomfortable subjects? I am. I have. I will continue to do so. I will be the first to admit that I know very little, but what I do know, I do my best to know well.
We now have access to an endless stream of information. Unfortunately, the internet has allowed the worst among us to broadcast messages to the masses that are not factual nor beneficial to our prosperity. I can truly empathize with how hard it has become to distinguish fact from fiction. However, this is not an excuse to willfully fill our brains with fairy tale facts.
How do scientific analysis and ethical expert opinions compete in an age when YouTube videos and catchy memes on the internet are now regarded as credible sources of information? Once regarded reliable sources of information that no longer align with our views are quickly discounted and regarded as “fake news.” At what point will we admit that when we say things like, “fake news” and “mainstream media” we really mean “I don’t want to think?”
Misinformation has been weaponized. Lies have blinded us with hate and primed us for violence. One specific lie will destroy our country if we let it. “We started building and we built almost 500 miles of wall, certain sections we couldn’t get rights to and now we have rights. And had they, HAD WE WON THE ELECTION, it would almost be—it would be completed now.” (Donald Trump September 25, 2021, Georgia Rally) A rare glimpse of truth followed by another lie.
Donald Trump lost a free and fair election. I know for many of us this is hard to hear. I am under no misconceptions that anyone will ever convince some of us. However, I am truly saddened it has taken some this long and I am begging others to catch up. I hope we are all one day willing to honestly weigh the information as it stands. Years from now maybe we will all look back and laugh.
On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump weaponized his election lie by pointing his army of misinformed citizens at our capitol in an attempted coup. For 187 minutes Donald Trump refused to provide relief to the federal police, lawmakers, and staff while a mob of rioters violently breached the building chanting “Stop the Steal!” and “Hang Mike Pence!” I watched and listened in horror as a local “Christian” family proudly broadcasted their accomplishment on Facebook Live.
In the days following January 6, social media erupted with memes and “news” sites claiming ANTIFA, BLM, and government agitators started the violence. We now know that it was Trump supporters and Trump supports alone who violently attacked police and defiled the Capitol Building. Eighteen Missouri residents have been charged in connection with the attack and eight have already pled guilty. These men and woman are known Trump supporters within their communities. I would like to ask each of them how they feel about Donald Trump today. I can safely assume it is profoundly different than how his current enablers feel about him. Facts have a way of sneaking up on our brain when our life or livelihood are on the line.
One year later and there is not a single shred of evidence supporting Donald Trump’s claims of “widespread” election fraud. A review of the six contested battle ground states found fewer than 475 cases of voter fraud. Of these 475 cases virtually all of them were individuals acting alone to cast additional ballots. The election was not “rigged” nor was it “corrupt.” Why did Donald Trump lose? Because of his compulsion to dominate, coupled with complete incompetence. Over 81 million Americans took a stand and voted their conscience. That is 7 million more than voted for Trump.
I know there are numerous good-hearted people in our community. Many of whom have been forced into silence and neutrality on a multitude of issues to ensure some sense of a normal social life and economic stability. They know that cancel culture has been a part of our rural community for much longer than the term has existed. This is sad. Especially in a country we so proudly profess our right to free speech and personal freedoms. Our elected officials have failed. Many of our clergy, business, and community leaders are currently failing. They have decided that the consequences of standing up to this lie are much worse than silence. They have seen what takes place when a person speaks out against this lie and want no part of the character and livelihood assassination that would surely ensue.
At this point Donald Trump and the citizens who supported his lie must win. At any cost. Even at the demise of our constitutional democracy. I fear repercussions for my family and have great reservation on publishing my thoughts. I believe the risk is ultimately worth the preservation of the dream our founding fathers so delicately crafted. History will ultimately look kindly on my words, for that I will die with honor. This has not always been true. It is now time for the rest of us to stand up to Donald Trump, his lies, and his fascist enablers.
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” - Thomas Jefferson