Dear Editor:

After the siege on the Capitol there has been talk about healing the nation. But that talk is premature. You cannot begin to heal until the disease that is infecting the body is eradicated. That disease is the Big Lie perpetrated by the president and echoed by others that the election was stolen. The Big Lie must be exposed.

Trump was always going to perpetrate the Big Lie. In October 2016 he claimed that if he lost the election it would be because of widespread voter fraud. In 2016 it would have been used as an excuse. In 2020 it was used as a means to remain in power. Trump never agreed to a peaceful transition. “We will have to see” he said. And even before all the votes were counted he boomed the Big Lie from his bully pulpit. Others echoed the Big Lie. Millions began to believe it.

How do we know it is a lie? Because Trump’s own administration said it was a lie. While Trump claimed that the voting machines had been hacked, his Department of Homeland Security said that was not true and that this had been the most secure election in American history. 

While Trump screamed voter fraud his own Department of Justice, who had taken adjusted its own procedures to allow for early investigation of voter fraud claims, found no widespread voter fraud that could have altered the election results. Despite all this Trump and his enablers continued to spread the Big Lie.

On the morning of the 6th, at a “Stop the Steal” rally Trump spent much of his time on stage rehashing the Big Lie. The people there believed. Trump told them that only Pence could save them. And shortly after Trump tweeted that Pence had betrayed him, the rioters broke into the Capitol chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”

Yes, there were some true insurrectionists in the mob that breached the Capitol; People who would have gladly hung Pence and Pelosi and proudly taken selfies next to their lifeless bodies. But most of the people there weren’t animated by that kind of hate.

They were truly there out of patriotism. They were there because they thought their country was in danger. They were there because they believed the Big Lie. They had come to DC from across the country because of the Big Lie.  They marched from The Ellipse to the Capitol because of the Big Lie. And they broke into the Capitol while Congress was in session, becoming insurrectionists, because of the Big Lie.

The calls for healing are premature because as long as the Big Lie is not addressed the insurrection will continue. It will occur is DC. It will occur in state capitals. It will manifest itself through attacks on election officials. It will not simply fade away.

If all we do now is impeach Trump for the actions at the Capitol than we will not address the root cause of the problem. If we do not expose the Big Lie for what it is, like any other disease, it will continue to attack the body politic. It will cause damage over the next few weeks, the following months, and if allowed to fester, years to come. It will become a tragic myth dividing the country for decades.

The Big Lie must be exposed and accountability for spreading the Big Lie addressed.

There can be no healing until the disease is dealt with.

—Stanley Wiechnik, LTC, USA, Ret.


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