Next to the Civil War, the recent attempt of President Trump to initiate a coup has been the greatest internal threat to democracy that our country has ever known. What has been so disheartening is not the action of a deranged president, but the large percentage of Republicans who believe that the election was stolen. They actually support his false claims. Over 60 court cases found no creditable evidence that the election was rigged. Even Trump’s cyber security official said that the election was fair, an omission that caused Trump to fire him.

How can our country survive when so many Republicans are blinded to factual evidence? How can we thrive whenever so many people are willing to believe the latest conspiracy theory? How can a country grow and move ahead if so many people trust their own beliefs and not factual evidence? The simple answer to these rhetoric questions is that we are not the great country that some of us would like to believe, not with this mentality.

If it were really great, we would see racial equality. There would not be a massive financial gulf between those with money and those who have none. If we were a great country, we would see equitable health care for everyone. If we were a great country our kids would rank near the top on educational tests. If we were a great country we would recognize the threat that global warming poses to humanity. If we were a great country we would have longer life expectancies than other countries. In nearly every international ranking the United States lags far behind most other countries, with the possible exception of millionaires per capita.

If we want to be a great country, we should decide if we want to live in a democracy or not. We have had a democracy for over 250 years, do we wish for it to continue? If the majority agrees, then those who oppose it should either leave or shut up. This includes all those Republicans in Congress who voted that Biden’s election was illegal. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., should be at the head of the line. They may feel more comfortable living in Russia, or under another autocratic government. At the very least, they should be expelled from government.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, our viewpoint needs to change. There is a vast difference between what I may want to believe and the hard truth. In reality, we are locked into a great fog of social misinformation that feeds the ideas that we want to believe rather than the truth. This campaign has been raging for years, most notably with the lie that President Obama was born in Africa. We would all be better off if we stopped watching CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, right wing radio and all the garbage on social media. As a country, we need to be seriously deprogramed.

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David Cummings lives in Dilworth.