From The Guardian
Americans like to look forward but the effects of Trump's lies about COVID and the 6 January insurrection are still with us
America prefers to look forward rather than back. We're a land of second acts. We move on
This can be a strength. We don't get bogged down in outmoded traditions, old grudges, obsolete ways of thinking. We constantly reinvent. We love innovation and disruption.
The downside is a tendency toward collective amnesia about what we've been through, and a corresponding reluctance to do anything about it or hold anyone accountable.
Now, with COVTD receding and the economy starting to rebound -- and the 2020 election and the attack on the Capitol behind us -- the future looks bright.
But at the risk of being the skunk at the picnic, let me remind you: we have lost more than 580,000 people to COVID-19. One big reason that number is so high is our former president lied about the virus and ordered his administration to minimize its danger.
Donald Trump also lied about the results of the last election. And then -- you remember, don't you? -- he tried to overturn the results.
On Monday, Trump issued a "proclamation" seeking to co-opt the language of those criticizing his falsehoods. "The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as the BIG LIE!" he wrote, repeating his claims that the 2020 election was stolen and that President Biden is illegitimate.
Most Republican voters believe him.
Trump's big lie is being used by Republican state legislatures to justify new laws that restrict voting.
On Thursday, hours after Florida installed new voting restrictions, Texas's Republican-led legislature pushed ahead with its own bill that would make it one of the hardest states in which to cast a ballot.
The Republican-controlled Arizona senate is mounting a private recount of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa county -- farming out 2.1m ballots to GOP partisans, including at least one who participated in the 6 January raid on the Capitol.
The Republican party is about to purge one of its leaders, the Wyoming representative Liz Cheney, for telling the truth.
It is natural to want to put all this unpleasantness behind us. We are finally turning the corner on the pandemic and the economy. Why look back to the trauma of the 2020 election?
But we cannot put it behind us.
Trump's big lie and all that it has provoked are still with us. If we forget what has occurred, the trauma will return, perhaps in even more terrifying form.
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.