The Pain of Trusting a False Prophet

“Watch out for false prophets. They will come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are hungry wolves. You’ll be able to tell them by the fruit they bear.” Matthew 7:15-16a NTE

From the beginning, I knew that Donald Trump would be bad for democracy. I knew that he would be a terrible president. I even knew Republicans in Congress would support him, out of fear of angering his supporters in their district. I knew he would raid the treasury and give himself a tax cut. But, four years ago, I didn’t expect one hundred and thirty eight members of congress and seven senators to support false stories of a stolen election. I didn’t expect Donald Trump to incite a riot when he lost.

It’s taking time to process what happened this week, during what should have been a simple perfunctory action of counting electoral ballots in Washington on Epiphany. But nothing about this year’s election has been ordinary. A culture of lies, deceit and manipulation led to the attack on our nation’s capital.

People who stormed the capital have been misled by right wing media during the entire Trump presidency. In today’s world of social media, with algorithms which give you the slant on news you are most interested in, a person can believe they have researched an issue, and still miss the truth. A lie told a million times over is believed. Conspiracy theories about a rigged election were floated and advanced months before the 2020 election took place. It is hardly a surprise so many people believe the election was stolen from the president.

This week’s  violence was both shocking and predictable. Most of those involved would never think of themselves as terrorist’s or even rioters . . . certainly not part on an insurrection. Most came to Washington thinking of themselves as patriots, convinced they were rescuing democracy from a system that denied President Trump his win.

What I found most striking in the aftermath of this week’s violence, were Republican Senators who spoke, not only against the violence, but the culture of denial which encouraged people to believe lies of a stolen election. Years of refusing to confront President Trump’s lies and abuse of power made it possible for him to continue to act in ways that subvert the law. Multiple politicians putting personal ambitions ahead of addressing presidential malfeasance, set the stage for the attack on the capital. I was heartened by Republican senators who called out others in their party for not speaking the truth to their constituents. They pointed out that people believe the lies about the election, because their own senators did not have the courage to speak truth.

A healthy society requires truth telling. Our nation needs truth tellers. May their numbers increase.

“These are the things which you should do: speak the truth with one another; judge with truth and pronounce the judgment that brings peace in your gates. And let none of you devise or even imagine evil in your heart against another, and do not love lying or half-truths; for all these things I hate,’ declares the LORD.” Zechariah 8:16-17 AMP

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