Letter to the Editor: Choose Truth, America

“The truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” Because court trials portend great consequences for individuals, the truth is preeminent, and those solemn words are often spoken. America as a country is on trial today. But will we hear America utter those words?

Historian Jon Meacham said the 2020 presidential election was a test for America’s soul. Historian Timothy Snyder, in a recent New York Times op-ed, said America is on the “abyss” of moving to a post-truth society: a society that is deciding between truth, or lies posed by its leader. He also said that post-truth is pre-fascism, like Nazi Germany in 1933. In this election, we have chosen truth, but many of us still prefer lies.

Was the election fair? Who really won? More than 70 million Americans are not sure.

I spent my professional life as a therapist. One of the most accepted tenets of mental health is, “To thine own self be true.” Do not lie to yourself – bad things will happen. That same tenet is applicable to a society such as America, but pursuing truth is not easy.

Pursuing truth demands thinking – and thinking demands great effort. Effort such as searching for evidence, facts – not just taking the word of the leader. Sixty-two courts, including the Supreme Court, found no fraud. These are facts. If we pursue truth rather than the word of our president, then we believe these facts. But will we?

We have a four-year grace period during which to make that decision. Our soul is still in play, and the stakes are high. Democracy itself is up for choice. What we do during the next four years will determine whether we fall into the abyss. Choose truth, America. “The truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”

Patrick Cerra

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin