We all know you can’t make someone tell the truth.

What we can do is to expect someone, everyone, to believe established facts and truth.

Turns out even that’s a problem for a lot of people. What is more, I think it is a moral failure that is worst than telling lies.

That’s because people who refuse to believe facts and truth give encouragement to lying politicians to keep on lying.

This is seriously damaging our country.

Former Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake described this damage indirectly when he said: “It is elementary to have to say this, but we did not become a great nation by believing or espousing nonsense, or by embracing lunacy” (WPO op-ed, May 11).

If we did not become a great nation by believing nonsense and embracing lunacy, we certainly cannot remain one by starting now.

Yet, this is what is happening because of people refusing to believe facts and truth. Most of us know this because of having friends and relatives and colleagues who are this way.

Arguments with them become circular and unending. They go something like this.

Truth Teller: Forty years of analysis by Republican lawyers has found no basis for the claim of voter fraud in our elections.

Truth Denier: “I don’t believe that.”

Truth Teller: “It’s a proven fact.”

Truth Denier: “Well, I don’t believe it.”

Truth Teller: Why not? 

Truth Denier: Because Republican leaders say there is fraud.

Truth Teller: “Not Republican lawyers in charge of searching for voter fraud. They say there is none.”

Truth Denier: “I’m sure there is.”

Truth Teller: “But there isn’t any evidence that there is.”

Truth Denier: “Some people say there is.”

Truth Teller: “In forty years of research they haven’t found any.”

Truth Denier: “Well, I don’t believe it.”

And on and on it goes.

Some version of this circular argument goes on all the time with people who may not tell lies, but who won’t believe the truth.

Just as astounding is that these same people expect the rest of us to listen to what they have to say, to their side of the story, even to respect their views.

I ran into this kind of nonsense in the church long before it took over the Republican Party.

Evangelical Christians have the kind of faith that insists myths are facts and stories and parables are historical events. In short, their faith requires them to believe nonsense.

It is no surprise that most of them are Republicans.

It’s also no wonder that Republicans aren’t fit to govern, as Jeff Flake suggests in his article they are becoming. A good case can be made that they are already there.

You can’t solve problems when you refuse to believe the facts and truth necessary to understanding what the problem is in the first place.

It’s doing real damage to our nation that Republicans are standing knee deep in this kind of insidious nonsense.

If we want to remain a great nation we have to make sure they don’t drag the rest of us into the muck with them.