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To the editor:
More than 60 years ago, I was assigned a research paper on the Radical Right and the dangers that it posed to our democracy.
My research found that the Radical Right with its pseudo patriotism and ultranationalism, i.e. America First, has far more appeal than the Radical Left.
Wednesday, January 6, as most Americans watched, the threat posed by the Radical Right came to fruition when ProTrump insurrectionists urged on by Trump descended on the capitol and attempted to overthrow the 2020 election results. They were there because of the “Big Lie” of a stolen election spread by Trump and the right wing media.
Calling themselves patriots they broke into the capitol building threatening the lives of the Congressmen and women who were carrying out their constitutional responsibility of certifying the election results.
One of their targets was Vice President Mike Pence, [they planned to hang him], who was carrying out the duties required of him by the 12th amendment which states “that the President of the Senate, shall, in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted. . . .”
Pence was made a target by Trump who told his minions that Pence was guilty of a “betrayal” by accepting the legal election results. This attack on Pence was part of Trump’s “Big Lie,” that he really won the election by landslide [of course, nothing less than a landslide would be acceptable] and the election was stolen.
Despite numerous recounts, the “Big Lie” of a stolen election has gained momentum and the true believers, invited by Trump, came to Washington to undo the election. This would not be the first time that a “Big Lie” has been used to overturn a democratic republic.
The most obvious example is the destruction of the Weimar Republic in Germany in 1933 by Adolph Hitler and political opportunists who saw a chance to maintain their power. Hitler’s “Big Lie” was that in 1918, Germany had not really lost the war but they had been betrayed by Jews and Socialists in the government.
Over the years, by constant repetition, the “Big Lie” spread through Germany and gained supporters. Aided by his private army the Sturmabeilung, SA Brownshirts, [in 2020, think Proud Boys and other militia groups], using violent methods Hitler rose to power. Hitler was one of the first to use the new media of radio [think Twitter and Facebook] to spread his message of making Germany Great Again and hatred for anyone who did not share his views.
In this hour of crisis as the “Big Lie” and its adherents are not going away, we should remember the words of Benjamin Franklin who said, “we have given you a Republic. It remains to be seen whether you will be able to retain it.”