America’s silent colossal National Lie

“The silent colossal National Lie that is the support and confederate of all the tyrannies and shams and inequalities and unfairnesses that afflict the peoples—that is the one to throw bricks and sermons at.” — Samuel Clemmons (Mark Twain).

The National Lie of white supremacy may lie silent for a time, but it doesn’t die easily. It was the unspoken lie behind the invasion and slaughter of people it called ‘savages’ to justify stealing America’s indigenous peoples’ continent and herding them onto federal reservation. The conquerers were white. The indigenous peoples were ‘red’. The invaders spoke English. Those they conquered did not. The same colossal National Lie rationalized the invasion of “the dark continent” to capture men, women, and children as slave labor to work the plantation owners’ cotton fields. The faces of the Lie wore white hoods, lit crosses on lawns, and hanged their former slaves from the lynching trees. And on and on it goes. It lives on in 2020, no longer silent, branding brown, Spanish-speaking migrants fleeing for safety “invaders” who must be stopped.

It’s a long way from El Paso TX to Dayton OH — a 22-hour drive through Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. It took less than 13 hours for El Paso and Dayton to become twin cities suffering together “all the tyrannies and shams and inequalities and unfairnesses that inflict the people” while the lie of White Nationalism carries on.

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” — Mark Twain.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN

6 thoughts on “America’s silent colossal National Lie

  1. Gordon and Marilyn, thank you both. Truth-telling must precede healing. But it seems to me that reparations, in so far as possible, and in whatever form possible, must be part of healing. Truth-telling is essential, but without reparations it becomes like the “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings, only words, necessary words, but only words.


    • Carolyn, I put Marilyn’s reflections at the top of my list. Words seem so cheap right now. The appropriate words are necessary for a fundamental change in the prevailing myths but they mean little if left unaccompanied by action. Reparations are long overdue. How it would happen is a great puzzle, but “how” is a question best left to others. I’ve learned the hard way that others are more skilled in designing the how’s. Best auto engineers are German. Maybe the Germans can help us. Did post-WWII Germany have a reparations program for all the victims of the Third Reich?


      • I don’t think so. The country was nearly destroyed; reparations would not have been possible until much later. What they did was pass a law or a series of laws that came as close as humanly possible to preventing such a thing from happening again. The one thing I remember is that hate speech was banned, even single, seemingly inadvertent instances were prosecuted.


  2. The Civil War never ended. We created it when we built this country on slavery. We did it “for the good of making a country” but when you sell your soul to Satan, what comes of it is never good. It’s always evil.

    I think until we acknowledge the wrongs we committed before we even started the country, we will NEVER bring true equality to all. You can’t set right a wrong when you’ve never even acknowledged how wrong you were.


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