The Big Lie–How To Separate Fiction And Fact?

Commentary by John Marshall Lee

The current hearings (Congressional variety), have featured  sessions where the public can stop (briefly from daily activities), look (at taped or in-person sessions under oath by fellow Americans), and listen (to the way questions are asked and answered). It is how we may participate as an informal jury of taxpayers to discriminate FACT from FICTION in the testimony presented. Congresspersons from both parties, some with legal, and specifically prosecutorial experience in the real world, have focused on the Jan. 6 ‘violent confrontation’ or ‘civil insurrection’ in Washington DC as a most serious challenge to democracy and the rule of law. The action at the Capitol such as we knew it at the time had many declaring that Biden was elected winner the previous November. But a large number of Americans bought into a story from former President Trump and his supporters, termed the “Big Lie,” which says that the election had been stolen from him and punctured by illegality.

Members of the Republican Party, both high and low, whether voters or those in office, greatly believed the BIG LIE and many other stories based on the BIG LIE. However, the secret details of Trump’s desperate struggle to remain in office dealing with electoral process in key states, or illegal influence in others, were basically unknown. But at day’s end a week before Christmas, 2021, the cupboard was bare for those who had submitted what they thought was court worthy evidence of wrongdoing. But did the BIG LIE die? No.

The Jan. 6 Committee is ready to raise one more curtain, perhaps the last, next week. But what does the accumulated pile of facts, laboriously assembled from folks who have come forward to render a true story (under oath) that they had lived? The oral and print stories fashion a fascinating story of recent history on their own. Will these tales become more than history without consequences? Who can (or will) indict what look like slam dunk cases including obstruction of justice, potential witness tampering, financial conflicts with election laws, seditious insurrection, disobeying rules or process regarding bullying and intimidation and likely more? What Court in the land will have the potential to prosecute and deal justice that is understood and trusted by Americans? What lessons about American Democracy will be taught in future History and Civics classes on the basis of deep and broad evidence already in the public realm? Who or what constitutes a “jury of peers” in this case?

To protect democracy and its practices in marching forward, with healing and repair where indicated, we need to seriously consider the above questions and more, especially with the timing of elections in 2022 and rapidly upcoming in 2024. Personally speaking, with whom do you chance a good conversation to share your thoughts and listen to others, assuming all parties believe in American Democracy? Or why miss such a chance? And today, how do you address someone who believes in stories without evidence to provide foundation for future political support? How will they separate Fiction and Fact? Time will tell.



  1. John, I see you used all caps on the words “big lies” and “fact and fiction”. It has been universally established here on OIB that that methodology can have a dual interpretation, from shooting to lying. The author’s true intent of meaning being conveyed is open for interpretation of what is FICTION or FACTto them in the BIG LIE.

    How will they separate Fiction and Fact from the Big Lie?

    For starters by understanding what’s being conveyed and understood. Since we dug a hole so deep in that regard and reached China it will be hard to separate. But in its essence, they won’t separate fiction from fact. They will just believe what suits them to what is fact or fiction between the “BIG LIE” from the “big lie.”

  2. As you always say John , Time will tell. My question is what is a bigger threat to democracy, Donald Trump or an election system with collection boxes all over the country that accept paper ballots that , as we well know is given the opportunity can be duplicated or filled out on behalf of dead people or non citizens and deposited into these boxes. We know that it is entirely possible that elections can be tampered with when others with bad intentions look for ways to gain an advantage. Ballot harvesting for example. Do we know this happened? I have no proof. The big lie could be the fact that news media outlets kept repeating the ” Unsubstantiated claims ” dismissing these claims rather than deep diving and doing some old school investigative reporting to see if their could possibly be some truth to this. People had doubts and were upset that all we herd was ” Nothing to see here folks, you can all go home now” Many of the people who showed up on Jan 6 returned to buses and went back to hotel rooms. Some did not and that is a crime. For me, bullet proof, fool proof election process that can be verified as such is more important than someone simply telling us that nothing happened without examining the entire election process for weaknesses that can be exploited to gain a political advantage.

    1. P.S. Many honest hard working people are involved in this election process. In fairness to them, what I am saying is that it should be shown how every lie and allegation of election fraud was disproven, If someone was trying to steal back an election and hold onto power using false information they should be held accountable for it. Lets come together as a country, find a process of election that everyone can agree on and can be trusted and verified, If Trump was fabricating this whole thing he should pay. Open and honest elections, all inclusive . More people than ever voted in 2020, that is a good thing, some people work and can not get to pols, I get that.. their should be a way that gives everyone a voice. We just need to come up with the best way

      1. Mr. Campbell,
        Every supposed “lie and allegation” were not disproven. The evidence was not allowed to be presented. Sorry but 80M brain dead Americans did not vote for Braindead Biden but I’m sure a lot of dead people did. I have not lived in CT for over 12 years and my immediate family are still listed as registered voters in CT. So I have no doubt in my mind that mail in ballots were fraudulently cast in our name for the Braindead Biden. As it probably occurred all across the nation. That’s the Democrat playbook, if you can’t win, cheat

        1. Dear Jose Reyes,
          Thank you for contributing to an important discussion with a line of allegations of illegal voting behavior that is important for follow up.
          1. You state that you and family members are still listed on City of Bridgeport Registrar records even though none of you have lived here for 12 years. Care to provide your former addresses so that we can check the accuracy of your allegation?
          2. Have you registered and voted in each election in your new community for candidates who preach and practice conservative governance principles and equally respect fellow citizens and voters?
          3. The Jan 6 Committee has investigated, researched, and presented some of the hearings to provide the entire public with background, witness statements, and other facts, under oath, for all Americans. President Biden has had his hands full with national and international incidents and has allowed the Congressional inquiry to proceed at its own pace, where the facts lead, very unlike former President Trump. Can you form a more favorable narrative from the facts presented in the eight hearings?
          4. Look for your good governance response to my question on voting records. If you decide not to respond, I will understand your hesitation because it is easier to allege against a Democratic playbook rather than defend your champion or enlighten us with how conservative Republican principles have been supported by 45’s actions and failure to act.
          Will you respond? Time will tell.

  3. RT and JC
    Thank you for reading and responding to the essay. I have no doubt that a deep dive into our election processes is a worthy endeavor. The purpose of that system is to allow each, registered citizen to vote in an informed manner, without extra hardship as contemplated by absentee voting rules, in a manner that the ballots tally with Voter Registrar totals. Allegations of fraud, rigging, or other process disturbance are easier to make without factual evidence than with such proof. Courts ignored the stories without proof, it seems to me. Are you talking about a state by state audit of rules, standards, practices and processes? Likely that the Internet, on some site, is a proper realm to record findings in an OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST manner, don’t you?
    The Jan 6 hearing is providing facts that give some credibility to the idea of a partisan Republican conspiracy with Congressional opposition to action and Supreme Court candidate nominations of the past 10 years. Devil in the details? Need more discussion and perhaps revision of the way things are done? But not in the direction of limiting folks from voting. Encourage those who attempt to tell a story that makes sense beyond “feeling good” and recommend reading serious commentary on the subject. Social media has come on us as a plot to gather more folks in a line of agreement without consideration of facts or proven truths. While it can disgorge lots of facts and info, human reason and common sense must be used by each individual to sort out the truths they will live by. That is a little more complicated, and perhaps requires that we discuss matters together? What a concept? Time will tell.


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