In the movie, the Glass Onion, Kate Hudson’s Birdie – with self-admiration and a lack of introspection – announced that she is a “truth-teller.” In response, the detective played by Daniel Craig drolly noted, “It’s a dangerous thing to mistake speaking without thought for speaking the truth.”  

Craig summarized what we are seeing every day in this country. Those who yell the loudest about knowing the truth, are more likely doing so while trampling on other people’s civil rights and liberties, speaking without thought to the real-life impact of their cacophony. 

They give no thought to the grave harm caused when they create dystopian communities where books are banned, history is censored, companies are punished for alternative views, LGBTQ+ families are ostracized, transgender kids are humiliated, and caring about others is demeaned as a “woke” ideology that must die.

If the above paragraph sounds like hyperbole, the Washington Post demonstrates why it is not in its article about the scorched earth tactics of eight newly elected members of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners in Michigan. 

A local body that once took pride in its inclusive, open government run by public servants became autocratic in its governance, firing experienced professionals and replacing them with people whose primary qualification seemed to be their ideology. The Commissioners shuttered the diversity, equity, and inclusion office and changed the County’s motto, Where You Belong, to Where Freedom Rings, based on uniting the County “around America’s ‘true history’ as a ‘land of systemic opportunity built on the Constitution, Christianity and capitalism.’” 

The article revealed “a case study in what happens when one of the building blocks of American democracy is consumed by ideological battles over race, religion and American history.” 

We must all vigilantly protect democracy and the rule of law at every level, from local governments to the United States Supreme Court. Recent reporting about Justice Thomas’ behavior demonstrate that clear rules and accountability are required to respond to blurred ethical lines. Our executive director co-authored an article for the Boston Globe, stressing the need for a binding code of conduct applicable to the Court and highlighting the draft proposed code that LDAD and the Project on Government Oversight prepared: The Supreme Court needs a code of ethics. Here’s one to consider.

We must all push back against those who loudly seek to impose their opinions, while proclaiming those opinions as the truth.