Former President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd gathered at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss., on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Credit: Joe Rondone / The Commercial Appeal via AP

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The Jan. 6 Committee is currently revealing the financial, political and moral fleecing of America caused by Donald Trump’s “Big Lie.” Trump seems to have grifted roughly $250 million for his official election defense fund, poisoned civil society, inflamed racist hate groups with  replacement theory rhetoric, and fractured Americans into tribal political groups. The health of a democracy depends on shared beliefs and common acceptance of facts, which is why Trump must be held accountable.

From the Civil War to the McCarthy Era, democracy and the rule of law eventually prevailed over sectionalism and illiberalism; however, many Americans today are more concerned with the price of gas than with the quest for truth. The 21st Century has unleashed social media platforms fomenting radical disinformation, while Congress fails to regulate tribalizing algorithms, gun safety and women’s rights over their bodies.

There is a solution: vote for people who are committed to the truth in 2022 and 2024. People should use websites like FactCheck, FullFact, and PolitiFact, and verify before they trust what they’re hearing or reading. They should advocate to their representatives and senators for causes they believe in, but first ask themselves if their beliefs infringe on the rights of others.

If we don’t participate in a tolerant, civil democracy, we can view our future in today’s Russia, an autocratic state dominated by another lying schoolyard bully. Our Founding Fathers designed a government ruled by law, not a bully.

Maria Johnson