We live in a culture that has failed to tell the truth for so long, many of us are losing the ability to do so, or to recognize truth when it is told. Our free-market culture is dominated by marketing and promotion, which reframes truth in order to sell something or pretties up untruth in order to make it more palatable. Those in politics and religion, who claim to deal in truth, are compromised by ideology and/or theology, by their desire to evangelize, proselytize and recruit. And the media mindlessly echoes the current accepted “narrative.” We publicize, advertise and ultimately sanitize truth out of most statements in the public arena.
There is so little mutual trust, we no longer know how to hear the truth. Many have placed far too much faith in one political figure and blindly follow everything that person says, while believing nothing said by anyone else, thereby surrendering the ability to discern truth from lies and ignoring any effort to break through their webs of delusion.
But if any format comes close to telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it was last Thursday night’s 3-hour primetime hearing by the Jan. 6 Commission on the Capitol Attack. They made the case, and the American people will be the judge, this November and two Novembers from now.
A bi-partisan commission, witnesses with firsthand experience, either at the Capitol or in the White House during the riot, many of them sympathetic to the administration, who had nothing to gain by coming forward, giving live testimony, immediately corroborated by numerous witnesses via tape, confirmed by video plus social media from Jan. 6, in a hearing run with impeccable professionalism.
Will anything come of it? Will Donald Trump be held accountable and will it prevent him from running for president in 2024? Probably not. Donald Trump will almost certainly be the Republican nominee in 2024, which makes getting to the truth even more important.
These public hearings, especially last Thursday’s, proved we’re still capable of telling the truth under the right circumstances. I found it exceedingly therapeutic.
In case you didn’t get a chance to watch, here are excerpts from the closing statements by the two Republicans on the Jan. 6 Commission:
Adam Kinzinger: … For three hours, he refused to call off the attack. Donald Trump refused to take the urgent advice he received that day, not from his political opponents or from the liberal media, but from his own family, his own friends, his own staff, and his own advisers. In the midst of an attack when there was no time for politics, the people closest to Trump told him the truth. …
They pled for him to act, to place his country above himself. Still, he refused to lead and to meet the moment, to honor his oath. …
Whatever your politics, whatever you think about the outcome of the election, we as Americans must all agree on this: Donald Trump’s conduct on January 6th was a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation.
It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy. … If January 6th has reminded us of anything, I pray it has reminded us of this: Laws are just words on paper. They mean nothing without public servants dedicated to the rule of law and who are held accountable by a public that believes oaths matter — more than party tribalism or the cheap thrill of scoring political points. We the people must demand more of our politicians and ourselves.
Oaths matter. Character matters. Truth matters. If we do not renew our faith and commitment to these principles, this great experiment of ours, our shining beacon on a hill, will not endure.
Liz Cheney: … Here’s the worst part. Donald Trump knows that millions of Americans who supported him would stand up and defend our nation were it threatened. They would put their lives and their freedom at stake to protect her. And he is preying on their patriotism. … On January 6th, Donald Trump turned their love of country into a weapon against our Capitol and our Constitution. He has purposely created the false impression that America is threatened by a foreign force controlling voting machines or that a wave of tens of millions of false ballots were secretly injected into our election system or that ballot workers have secret thumb drives and are stealing elections with them. All complete nonsense. We must remember that we cannot abandon the truth and remain a free nation. …
In our hearing tonight, you saw an American President faced with a stark and unmistakable choice between right and wrong. There was no ambiguity. No nuance. Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office. … There is no way to excuse that behavior. It was indefensible. And every American must consider this: Can a President who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6th ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?
For those who have forgotten, this is what telling the truth sounds like.