Accepting the Lie as the Truth

Accepting the Lie as the Truth

If a lie is repeated often enough and loud enough, and every effort is made to suppress the real truth, people will believe the lie.

Researching the Past

I’ve been researching the World War II Era in preparation for writing my next novel, A Piece of My Heart, a continuation of the Barton Family series. It follows the main character, Hattie Robinson Barton, as she copes with love, loss, and upheaval brought about by war.

As the series is set in South Carolina, in the Greenville area, I’m going through digital copies of the Greenville News from 1939-1945 to get a feel for how the war would have impacted the lives of the characters. Thus far, I’m up to 1940, when the conflict in Europe is heating up. The US remains neutral, but public sentiment favors the Allies and there is a sense of shock and revulsion over Hitler’s invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia, and Stalin’s invasion of Finland.

In the January 4 State of the Union address, FDR makes a plea for national unity; calls for more funding for national defense in the face of what’s happening abroad; and, warns that there is a vast difference between keeping out of war and pretending that war is none of our business. It is evident from the daily headlines that the country is deeply divided and uncertain about the future.

Effective Propaganda

As I continued to read, I came across an editorial from April 3, 1940, which I found eerily predictive of the kinds of issues we’re confronting today. It’s ironic that I would have discovered it on January 5, 2021, just one day before a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as a joint session of Congress attempted their constitutionally mandated task of approving the electors for the next president.

The editor references a passage in Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto, where Hitler writes that propaganda is to be judged primarily on its effectiveness, making no difference if the statements are true.

If a lie is repeated often enough and loud enough, and every effort is made to suppress the real truth, people will believe the lie.

The editor goes on to say that the worst crime committed by totalitarian regimes like Germany and Russia is their “deliberate effort to spread lies to suit their purpose under any possible plausible pretext, and to suppress as far as they are able, any contradictory or conflicting statements to the end that people will accept the lie as the truth.”

Chillingly Contemporary

Those words have a chillingly contemporary ring to them! Just this week, We saw graphic evidence of what can happen when lies are accepted as truth. The live coverage was shocking and difficult to take in. But the endless reruns of the January 6 assault on the Capitol, aired by every news network, force us to face facts.

The reality is that a significant minority of our fellow citizens have become radicalized by conspiracy theories and false propaganda that promotes ultranationalism, embraces white supremacy, and condones the use of violence to suppress opposing views. On January 6, these citizens betrayed the sacred right to peaceful protest by resorting to mob violence.

Hope for Peaceful Transition

Despite the desecration of the Capitol, a shrine of our democracy, and the emotional damage wrought on the psyche of our nation as a result of that act, the story did not end there. Thanks to dedicated law officials and determined legislators, the mob was dispersed, Congress reconvened, the votes were certified, and the candidate with the majority of votes was confirmed.

National unity and trust must be rebuilt. Now more than ever, it is critical that our centuries-old democratic process prevail, so  that we can witness another peaceful transfer of power on January 20, and so that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can be sworn in without incident.

The trauma of the past week serves as a wakeup call to all citizens to protect the fragility of our democracy.  If we are to succeed in preserving our liberty, we can never accept the lie as the truth!






No Comments

Post A Comment