By Joe Rector

When I was a small boy, my parents called me into the kitchen one night. They held up a pair of my pajamas; small holes were cut in both the shirt and pants. They asked me what happened to cause those cuts, and I told them that I didn’t know. I was spanked “not for cutting the holes but for lying about not having cut them.”

When I was in high school, I allowed a girlfriend to drive my mother’s car. That night when I arrived home, Mother asked why I’d let the girl drive. I denied having done so, but she told me our insurance agent had, in fact, observed the girl driving down Oak Ridge Highway. She took the keys from me and informed me that I couldn’t drive for a month for letting someone else drive the car and for lying.

I’ve always been a fan of Judge Judy. I especially enjoy watching her tear into folks who present flimsy evidence in their cases. In regard to teenagers, she says the way to tell that they are lying is by watching the mouths. She declares, “If a teen’s lips are moving, he or she is lying.”

The same pronouncement might be used with politicians. In the past month, many of those who represent us have spread a bed of lies as thick as peanut butter on a slice of bread. Many of those falsehoods have dealt with the presidential election. The claims of fraud, illegal voting procedures, ballot stuffing, and other sins have been repeated so often that people accept them as facts. Even after 60 court rulings have determined no evidence substantiates such claims, pols and citizens continue to believe the tall tales.

Every American citizen knows what happened on January 6. A riotous crowd stormed the Capitol, knocked in doors and windows, and trashed many areas, all while the House and Senate worked to certify the Electoral College votes. Five people died during that assault on our government. The goal of the intruders was to stop the certification of the election and to take hostage or even murder members of Congress.

Now that it’s over, the perpetrators deny that they were violent, deny that they destroyed anything, and denied intended harm. Some even claim another extremist group infiltrated their demonstration and caused all the damage.

After the insurrection, our governmental bodies returned to finish their work. Senator Romney decried the request to form a committee to investigate. He said the only way to stop the conflict was by simply telling folks the truth. For that, the senator received a standing ovation.

Okay, the truth, then, is that the president, his family members, his attorneys, and some in Congress stoked the flames of the attack on the Capitol. The truth is that five people died in the melee. The truth is that the halls of that historic building were defiled by bloodshed during beatings, destruction of windows and doors, and even by human excrement. How in the world is any of this part of the defense of the United States democracy? The truth is none of it is.

We are in one hell of a mess. Extremists promise to return this week, this time with weapons. A legally elected president will be inaugurated, but security forces must be increased to guard against violence. State capitols are also at risk of demonstrations by gun-toting malcontents. The truth is simple: This is not the America that most of us want. We must demand justice for the attacks on our democracy and the death of an officer trying to protect it. The thugs that perpetrated this travesty must pay a price, as well as other higher-ups. Most of all, all Americans must stand up and shout “Enough!” Let this old president fade away so that the country can address real problems that exist: Covid-19, a struggling economy, hungry people, and the country’s wounded status as that bright city on the hill.

Only truth will save us.