On Dec. 7, 1941, America was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor. That date “will live in infamy” President Roosevelt told the nation. His speech united us and gave us the resolve to defend our democracy.
On Jan. 6, 2021, our Capitol was attacked by a mob of President Trump’s supporters. That date “will live in infamy.” The President incited that mob by his lie that the election was stolen from him. He urged them to go to the Capitol to “stop the steal” and “fight like hell.” So they did, chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” The graphic pictures from the Capitol showed the plunder, the destruction, and the assaults by the violent mob, many armed with weapons. The mob searched for representatives and senators who hid in safe rooms or barricaded offices. Five of his supporters needlessly died. One was a police officer who gave his life to protect our democracy; so much for the President’s promise to provide law and order.
This President did not condemn the attack incited by his inflammatory words. He offered no words of solace, sorrow or regret for the dead, the injured or the destruction and desecration of the Capitol. The President, who told us the government is broken and only he can fix it, left it in turmoil and the nation in anguish over his supporters’ attempt to overthrow our democracy.
How did it happen? It happened because truth, words and character do not matter.
We choose to live in tribes, prisoners of our own ideology. We do not listen attentively or respectfully to others’ opinions. We do not talk civilly to one another. We do not investigate facts. The facts we do not like we call “fake news.” We take truth from opinion makers who reinforce our beliefs and our biases. We do not discern.
We elected a flawed man who does not tell the truth or cares about the harm his words cause. Jan. 6 may have been a shock, but it was not a surprise.
This insurrection proves that words, character and truth do matter. But above all is truth. A good leader tells the truth despite the political consequences. There is hope. There are senators and congressmembers on both sides of the aisle who have come to this conclusion. May God bless us with more good leaders.
—Thomas M. Lamberti
Mr. Lamberti writes “…We do not investigate facts…We take truth from opinion makers who reinforce our beliefs and our biases.”
I can certainly agree with that statement, but Mr. Lamberti and others like him who are “sure” of what happened on January 6, 2021, seem to also be subject to similar kinds of opinion makers – but the opinion makers he follows have opinions which are the reverse of the former President and his 74 million supporters. But unlike the former President, these opinion makers truly do not like dissent, and prevent the dissemination of opposing opinions. Tech giants have banned videos and users who do not follow their narrative on the election or the “Capitol siege”. Donations are halted to anyone who even hints that the 2020 election was anything but 100.00000% honest. Banks, such as Signature NY, have cut off funding to the Trump family. (I have personally written to my banker at the Jericho branch of Signature NY to ask him if I can maintain my account at the bank since I am a Trump supporter – I await his reply.)
I was taught that “Free Speech” is a sacred value in the United States, enshrined in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. I was taught in Roslyn Public School regarding the importance of allowing Nazis to march in predominantly Jewish Skokie, IL, even though their speech would have been inflammatory and offensive to the local residents.
Certainly, a standing President should have the right to speak freely and should not be censored even after the fact.
Mr. Lamberti believes he knows “the Truth” and that only people who hold to his “truth” are permitted to speak it. Fortunately, we have a First Amendment which enables others to speak freely, saying what they believe is the truth, based on facts that Mr. Lamberti, the “tech giants,” and many others would rather keep hidden.
Rabbi Lev Seltzer