As the world witnessed on Jan. 6, Donald Trump is mentally unstable and dangerous, and must be immediately and permanently removed from office. He has the same power over people who are susceptible to believing lies as Jim Jones did in 1978 and David Koresh did in 1993. Only Donald Trump is not killing several hundred people by convincing them to drink poison in Guyana or convincing several dozen to stay in a burning building in Waco, Texas. Donald Trump is complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans by initially lying about the reality of the pandemic, and then by politicizing mask-wearing and ignoring distancing restrictions. Now, by inciting conspiracy-crazed white supremacists to stage a deadly, destructive assault on Congress, six more people have died. How many more may lose their lives if Trump is allowed to retain the power of the presidency?

Another casualty of Trump’s lies is democracy. Because he spread doubt about the validity of a free and fair election, possibly the least tainted by voter suppression in American history, despots around the world are mocking us, and our friends are shaking their heads in disbelief. Complicit in the assault are legislators, who, afraid of facing a primary challenge in their next election, propagate his lies among their constituents.

If the “will of the people” is based on falsehoods, prejudice, and insane conspiracy theories, it is up to elected leaders, for the good of their people and all Americans, to speak truth, promote equal justice, and restore reason. Republican Sen. John McCain demonstrated true courage when, during his campaign against Barack Obama, he debunked the “birther” lies. To allow a meaningful dialogue and save the soul of America, all our leaders will have to demonstrate this dedication to the truth.

Melanie Lanctot



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