The United States is on trial.
Our society is the jury for the most critical trial we've faced so far. Our future depends on how we handle this current crisis.
On the surface, the question is, does the rule of law apply to everyone, even former presidents, or does it apply only to those of us who are ordinary taxpayers? But the stakes are even higher.
This question is not about whose politics are best for the country. We're not trying to decide what's better, liberal or conservative. It's far more critical. The test is what determines how we resolve our problems in the future. Will we have a working democracy or a single-party dictatorship that mimics a democracy?
All the propaganda being thrown about is the shiny object that distracts the masses. The real issue is much more profound. We are polarized around the question of do we value character over power.
What this means is, do we elect and support people who live according to the principles of honesty in communication, integrity in the conduct of their personal affairs, dedication to their oath of office, and commitment to honor the inherent worth of every citizen? Or do we elect those who lie to achieve a personal agenda of power and profit without regard for the country's well-being? Those who want to suspend our democracy and implement their single-party rule, a democracy in name only.
This is not a courtroom trial. We, the citizens of the United States, are the jury. It's up to us, every caring and conscious citizen of the United States, to decide what we want. And that's what frightens me most. Because the vast majority of us don't understand the issues at stake.
We are bombarded with slanted opinions bordering on and, in some cases, outright lies. It's called fake news and alternative facts. Both sides of the debate blame the other for spreading it. The end is near when a society loses its ability to agree on facts.
Our society is flecked with half-truths, fantasies and outright lies. Just yesterday, I overheard a conversation between two people commiserating about the Biden presidency. "What happened to the 83 million immigrants who voted for Biden," one asked. The other responded, "they're in Chicago cemeteries."
Their ignorance is breathtaking, yet I don't blame them for it.
These people are being riled up to storm the system with opinions about the unfair treatment of their favorite former president, who is being singled out and persecuted for being their hero.
In recent cases, some of these folks have taken to "peaceful protests "while displaying weapons, an oblique sign of potential violence in support of grievances -- grievances created by false propagandists making millions by destroying the country.
Half the country now belongs to this cult of personality, and all the benchmarks of this travesty are apparent. The dear leader can do no wrong. Everything he says is "the truth," regardless of how ridiculous he sounds to the rest of us. Unfortunately, their "truth" has become the "Big Lie," a fantasy with not a shred of evidence to support it.
The Big Lie has been turned into a systemic infection that the Republican Party is now using to justify the suspension of a democratic government. Their replacement? A single-party autocracy headed up by a failed businessman whose reputation was revitalized by a reality show -- a reality show whose producers needed to edit hours of tape to make him look like he knew what he was talking about.
After hours of following suspicious foot tracks, Pogo turned to his friend and said these foot tracks are not from our enemies. They're ours.
• Robert De Filippis lives in Carbondale. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit robertdefilippis.com.