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Guest Column: ‘Big lie’ gives rise to restrictive voting laws

By Cora M. Phillips

“The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.” Adolf Hitler, an autocratic leader of the Nazis, wrote this statement in his book “Mein Kampf” and faithfully followed it under his dictatorship.

He believed in the use of a lie that was so big that “no one would believe that someone would be so bold to distort the truth so scandalously.”

He orchestrated both World War II and the Jewish Holocaust and was well known for his racist ideologies, which have been rekindled by Donald Trump.

The big lie of today is a fraudulently claimed stolen election impacting the entire country and fundamental rights.

The like-minded white supremacists stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, destroyed property and killed police officers. Some of the rioters wore T-shirts emblazoned with “6MWE,” which MSNBC revealed meant “6 million wasn’t enough.”

For viewers like me, this was a chiller. To flaunt a message that six million Jews who were gassed, terrorized, starved and killed wasn’t enough. This immediately renewed memories of our own ancestors’ demise. An estimated 80 million people were wiped off the face of this Earth resulting in multigenerational trauma.

According to his ex-wife, Ivana Trump, Trump devoted time to reading Hitler’s speeches in “My new order,” which he reportedly kept in a cabinet by his bedside.

Like Hitler, Trump is a master propagandist and a charismatic orator.

Mr. Trump desperately wanted to be in power like all the other lifetime dictators. So when he lost the election, he created the “big lie” of a stolen election and never provided proof to substantiate his claims.

The New York Times wrote in an editorial that George Orwell’s 1949 classic “1984,” about a propaganda-driven dystopia, suddenly became a best seller after Trump’s inauguration.

The ghostwriter of Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” was Tony Schwartz. He followed Mr. Trump for 30 years writing several books for him. He concluded that “lying was second nature to Mr. Trump and he lied strategically with a complete lack of conscience to benefit himself.”

Everything was transactional and stood on the premise of “It’s a lie, but who cares?” He didn’t care who he hurt with the lying and even violating his oath of office didn’t deter him.

The “big lie” disrupted the national election system, setting a very bad precedent. He never conceded the election, disrupting the historic peaceful presidential transition, and never attended the inauguration, breaking American traditions.

This big delusion promoted an alleged stolen election and in this distorted reality he also claimed that he won in a landslide. Scores of cases filed by Republicans to challenge elections across the country were all dismissed in the federal and state judicial systems because they had no merit.

Today, Trump’s followers still believe his “big lie,” which led to sustained domestic terrorism and extremism. His tweets filled with the “big lie” gave permission to white supremacists and racist organizations to make audacious and bold claims to reclaim their country.

Democracy as an ideal of this country has been poisoned and how long will it take before the trust that’s been violated is restored for the election system? The domino effect continues resulting in a flood of dangerous anti-voter bills with stricter voter ID measures, cuts to early voting and even voter roll purges.

This is evidenced by Georgia, Arizona, Texas and many other states that are changing election laws to make it more difficult for voters of color to cast votes.

The most fundamental voting rights that we have as citizens are under historic attack and this is fueled by Trump’s falsehoods … the same big lie that incited a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Brown and Black people are once again victimized and have to pay the price of the threats inflicted on their voting rights. The democracy of voting is under peril, violating the 14th Amendment, and unnecessarily targeting and silencing Black and Brown voters.

The 2020 election had a record voter turnout and Navajo Nation got national attention for it. The nation has seen the power of our votes and is threatened by it.

Their response to 2020’s record turnout is to erect new barriers that deny eligible voters access to the ballot. We must fight harder to maintain historic turnouts at every election because “our vote is our voice.”

“If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” – the famous words of Hillel the Elder, are highly applicable now as we face these challenges.

Please write or call your senators now to pass the comprehensive pro-voter legislation, “For the People Act,” that has passed the House and the “John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act.”

These landmark bills will protect federal law reforms to protect our freedom to vote and to end partisan and racial gerrymandering and get rid of the dark money that influences politics.

This is our government and it needs to be more transparent and accountable to the people. We can’t be idle while states pass legislation that’s designed to alienate voters.

The right to vote has been a long, hard-fought battle by Native Americans, Blacks, women and Latinos. Native American veterans saw how their efforts in American wars sometimes meant ending oppression in other countries only to see their own rights being oppressed in the country they served. They fought this oppression with lawsuits, championing the right to vote.

Don’t let this precious right be minimized by threats of white supremacists’ ideologies and racism and an irrational and irresponsible big lie.

Domestic extremism and terrorism are expressions of the nuclei that’s been planted with racism to try and destroy democracy. These major deceptions of extremism and terrorism can either be accepted or rejected. But if you abandon your principles to follow a “big lie,” then you’ve compromised your honor and integrity.

The ancestral wisdom that reflects today’s Diné teachings cautions us about “Doo’ho’yo’chii’daah” – one must not lie and that lying is mendacious and deceitful.

So we must remain vigilant against those who promote falsehoods for their lies are immoral and often a crime against humanity. “Do’yaa’t’e’dah” – it is a deceitful tactic as we witness the efforts to restrict our voting rights that stems from one great big lie.

Our elders teach us to “have a strong mind and to know your boundaries so we don’t easily fall victim to falsehoods.”

It is with these teachings in mind that we should protect our right to vote, refuse to be intimidated and threatened with big lies and resist white supremacy’s racism and ideologies in this country – for nobody is superior to another.

I felt compelled to provide an insightful analysis as to the series of activities that have happened over the last couple of years that resulted in a mixture of emotions. We have found ourselves in the darkest period of conspiracy theories, a malicious venom and layers of lies, major distortions of reality to where it’s created perplexed situations, unnecessary stress, turmoil and confusion.

We try to teach our children not only moral values but standards of conduct and behavior. The ramifications of what has transpired may have had an impact on the minds of our young ones.
A “great reinforcement” of the moral codes may be needed to protect the delicate minds of our young ones for discipline, knowing their cultural boundaries and distinguishing between right and wrong.

Cora M. Phillips is a affiliated with eight organizations for “justice, fairness and equity.”


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