THE REVISIONIST VERSIONS of Jan. 6—some would call it gaslighting—began soon after the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol a year ago. One Republican member of Congress likened it to “a normal tourist visit.” Others called the rioters “peaceful patriots,” and still others claimed that, no, they weren’t Trump supporters at all. These apologists for sedition seemed to want people to forget that, um, it’s all on video. It quickly became painfully evident that the Jan. 6 insurrection, like the big lie it was based on, was not only an attack on constitutional processes, but on truth itself.
We’ve seen that same spirit of intentional obfuscation, of attempts to hide from the truth, in the efforts—including by many conservative Christians—to prevent the honest teaching of the shameful aspects of our nation’s racial history. As Lisa Sharon Harper explains in this issue, these “narrative gaps”—the differences between the myths we tell about ourselves and the complicated, tumultuous realities of our nation’s checkered history—also play out in many of our own family stories. Truth, in matters personal, familial, and social, may indeed set us free, but it never comes without deliberate, resolute struggle.