America has a long history of attacking itself. Not a new problem, Jesus spoke of a kingdom divided against itself.

The final report from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection has been released after an 18-month investigation into former President Donald Trump and the violent insurrection two years ago. It’s 814 pages and every word bears witness to those who refused to add their testimony.

It is an important reminder to record history. Because it is not just our memory that fails us in these moments. But so often, it is the people we have chosen to lead us, and we need not ever forget their names.

Trump’s allies have been held in contempt for their refusal to cooperate with the committee. But their silence is even more telling and, in my opinion, even more dangerous.

When we refuse to say what really happened, then we all suffer the tyrannical illusions of those we put in power. When we deny our own two eyes, we are not in touch with reality or with the communities that trust us to look out for them.

The insurrection was televised. We all saw it, but we don’t talk about it the same way. Why don’t we all agree on who is to blame? Why can’t we just say “whodunnit”?

Sadly, it is because some of our leaders care more about winning elections. Choosing power over truth, some politicians will say just about anything to get elected. It turns out that they will also not say anything to keep their seat.

Too many Americans will also do just about anything that a politician tells them to and then go home after attacking the U.S. Capitol building like nothing happened.

But it did. While GOP lawmaker Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk gave a tour before the violent attack, this wasn’t a friendly visit. It was a violent insurrection and that bears repeating.

When people become loyal to a lie, truth-telling looks like betrayal. When power-grabbing begins, truth is often the first sacrifice.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.” It is a sinful laryngitis, a guilty silence.

And when we fail to speak up when there is a call for truth, we are also lying – first to ourselves and then to everyone else.

It is not better for you or anyone else if you don’t say anything. Silence, in fact, makes it worse and makes it harder for us to believe that things can change.

So, we have a responsibility to speak — not just up but out. We have a duty to name what is happening around us, to us and through us. This is the only way that change comes about.

Talking back and responding with facts calls the truth out. Because if there is nothing to hide, then why can’t the truth come out?

If we don’t say something, then we will lose any chance at normalcy. We will lose ourselves ultimately, embodying the only thing found to be acceptable, which we all know is a lie.

Our American lives have been reduced to carefully crafted talking points to ensure that we see only our good side. Our shared reality has been greatly diminished to Democrat and Republican sides of it. But this ain’t even close to the truth.

Lies need only a few people but truth requires a group effort. A little lie goes a long way.

In fact, a little bit of democracy dies when we repeat a lie instead of standing with the truth. Consequently, choosing leaders who respect us enough to tell us the truth is the least we can do.

Yes, American democracy is under attack, and if it falls, it will be because its citizens fell silent first.

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