Physicists and sci-fi authors often posit alternate universes. Parallel selves or others inhabit space we believe to be ours. Fantasy? Not in America. 

Last Friday, the Republican National Committee censured Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) for serving on the House select committee investigating January 6. According to the RNC, they “are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse . . .” [italics mine].

I called my ophthalmologist. On January 6, 2021, I watched for hours as CNN televised the developments on Capitol Hill. I thought I’d witnessed a mob break into the Capitol, damage property and attack Capitol police. Was my eyesight going?

Some might claim CNN’s coverage was bogus, provoked by the Deep State to discredit Donald Trump, who’d just rallied thousands of followers to march on the Capitol. Peaceful protestors obviously held aloft rolled-up copies of the Constitution, not weapons. Security personnel welcomed them. Some in the mob—crowd—sought only to gift Vice-President Mike Pence with a rope should he plan a mountaineering expedition. My eyes betrayed me.

Yet last Friday, Pence mentioned the only universe I know. Addressing conservatives near Orlando, Florida, he said, “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.” 

Support for my vision continued.

The Wall Street Journal praised Pence while advising, “Too many in the GOP seem to have lost their constitutional moorings in thrall to one man.”

Chris Christie—once a Trump advisor—cast another vote for existence as I know it. “January 6 was a riot that was incited by Donald Trump in an effort to intimidate Mike Pence and the Congress into doing exactly what he said in his own words last week—overturn the election.” 

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) rebuked the RNC, calling January 6 “a violent insurrection.” Republican Senator Mitt Romney (Utah) also condemned the resolution as did 140 former Republican political leaders and officials. 

Fortunately, many people live in the universe I recognize. A bipartisan group of senators seeks to reform the confusing Electoral Count Act, which dates back to 1887. This particular matter invites a serious question: Will Progressives cling to their own alternate universe? Or, will they support this legislation, acknowledging that a reform journey of a thousand miles might begin with a single step?

Once, most Americans would have considered unimaginable the political behavior we’ve witnessed since Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Yes, many Americans long have loved conspiracies. Granted, some cover-ups have been documented, like the Tuskegee syphilis experiment (1932-72) and sex abuse in the Catholic Church. But “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Franklin Roosevelt being Jewish, the CIA killing JFK and the 1969 moon landing being faked remain with us. 

We find ourselves enmeshed in George Orwell’s novel 1984. Tens of millions of Americans believe the equivalents to Big Brother’s astonishing falsehoods: Black is white, war is peace.

Perhaps the RNC’s resolution will prompt more Americans to view the world we live in through open eyes and inquisitive minds. They might conclude that asserting something to be true—or false—doesn’t necessarily make it so. 

Unfortunately, mind-bending claims likely will continue to assault our democracy. Still, I hope that truth wins out. We all have our fantasies. 

Enjoy a great and timely read with my novel 2084. Order in softcover or e-book from Amazonbarnesandnoble.com or your favorite bookstore.

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  1. David Newman on February 11, 2022 at 11:09 am

    It’s hard to know how many of the Republican officials who are embracing the lie are cynical opportunists and how many actually believe what they are saying. Or perhaps this is proof of the wisdom that it’s difficult to convince someone to accept the truth when his livelihood (i.e. position in Congress) depends on believing a lie. And even those who are finding their way to the truth are doing it for opportunistic reasons — I’m looking at you, Mitch — and not because of a deep-seated respect for truth. I, too, hope that truth wins out, but, if it does, it will be in extra innings.

    • David Perlstein on February 11, 2022 at 12:52 pm

      I think you hit the nail on the head, David. Washington is well short on a winning football team–the newly named Commanders; bound to be assailed as Commies if thy keep losing–and integrity.

  2. Sandy Lipkowitz on February 11, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    I feel like we are living in pre fascist, pre dictatorship times. I’m sure those in Hong Kong. Pre Nazi Germany, Myanmar, Iraq, Iran, among others, felt the tide change. I truly hope we can stem this tide.

    • David Perlstein on February 11, 2022 at 3:23 pm

      Sandy, the lies and delusions, having crossed over to the side of the unbelievable, are typical of people who support autocrats and dictators. I wish I could say that this will all blow over. The United States has gone through some very challenging times and emerged on the side of decency, if not perfectly so. Hopefully, we’ll emerge from the darkness again. I regret that I can’t guarantee that will happen.

  3. Joan Sutton on February 13, 2022 at 12:41 pm

    For trump supporters, it seems truth is now their enemy. They don’t care what is true or not true. They only care to gain the power they are seeking through any means possible. The end justifies any means for them.

    • David Perlstein on February 13, 2022 at 1:20 pm

      Joan, I agree with what you’ve said with the exception of a single word—”now.” Truth has been the enemy for Trump and his supporters long before their hero road on his figurative white horse down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for the 2016 election.

  4. Hilda Isaacson on February 13, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    It’s hard to believe what we are seeing every day. People whom I thought were intelligent support the contradiction of what we saw, heard, was reported to us. We are in a period where the denial of truth is the common practice. It was reported today that we are the country with the most Covid victims in the world. This seems to correlate with distrust of government. We don’t always like what the government does, but where would we be without it. We should care about the constitution which makes this country great, accept scientific fact, realizing that facts change as we learn more, but we should respect the best knowledge available to us, not the rantings of those who don’t even care about truth and knowledge.

    • David Perlstein on February 13, 2022 at 7:57 pm

      Hilda, you are right. The celebration of ignorance—witness Marjorie Taylor Green’s reference to the “Gazpacho” police—is mind-boggling. I believe that often. the more ignorant the comment, the greater acceptance of the person who makes it by those on the fringe. And the ring is fairly thick.

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