If we abandon truth, we disown democracy

Democratic citizenship compels us to be vigilant against the untruths that led to Wednesday's shameful assault on the Capitol.

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Truth matters. In fact, the only way for Americans to reckon with this week’s catastrophe at the U.S. Capitol is through the logical evaluation of self-evident facts. Absent this crucial and necessary process, our capacity for self-government dies.

And here are the facts: On Wednesday, a violent mob of insurrectionists, incited by our current president, stormed our nation’s legislative chambers by force and temporarily halted a vote to certify his successor’s electoral win.

These were criminal acts, and they are the disastrous result of the continual erosion of our confidence in democratic institutions. For too long, the forces of untruth have waged war on democracy. For too long, their messages have found far too many eager ears. It continues now; barely 24 hours have passed and already the forces of untruth are at work bending Wednesday’s insurgence to further its means.

This must not stand. Passively consuming untruths make us feeble pawns of manipulative forces. We call on all Americans to vigorously refuse untruth in every form and to reject the public lies that have given way to the ease of illogic. It is not just difficult to be democratic citizens by avoiding hard truths while choosing only to weaponize lies that reinforce our ideologies. It is impossible. Truth is independent of political belief – and this is why democracy compels us to be vigilant in support of it.

What happened Wednesday was a shameful assault on the very heart of our democracy. It is worthy of eternal, everlasting shame. What happens next will be only partially decided by our leaders, who now seek to hold accountable those complicit in this evil. As has always been the case, our shared future is up to us. We all must accept our responsibility, no matter how hesitantly, to stand up and speak out against this terror and the forces that created it. We must all claim a role in rebuilding faith in our democratic traditions.

Above all, we must find trust in one another – and, at long last, trust in the truth.

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