Do we believe, in rhetoric or in evidence? In a court of law, evidence is required. You can make a claim, but you must also back it up. Example, a person sneaks through an intersection with a red-light camera and they are filmed doing this, but yet that same person goes to court and tells the judge, no they didn’t do it. They yell, they scream, they blame the manufacturer of their car, they blame the car next to them, they blame the clouds in the sky. Then the judge informs said violator that there is a picture of them running the light, so they must pay the fine. But they still deny. They go outside and convince the group on the corner waiting for a bus that there is a grand conspiracy. Is this sensible? No, the camera shows it, but yet we are being told not to believe the evidence that our eyes and even our ears show us.
Likewise, we are hearing tales, tall and false as usual, from the podium of our most treasured house. All kinds of attacks are being launched on the democratic process of vote counting. There is not one shred of proof, no evidence whatsoever that any fraud is happening. Counting votes is NOT fraud. It is not, it is counting votes. Here’s some actual truth; every vote processing place has live stream cameras, as well as a Democrat and a Republican and an Independent poll watcher. They are reviewing the count and they are approving or throwing out questionable ballots. This underappreciated trio is reaching a bi-partisan consensus. This has always, ALWAYS, been the process. Approving ballots, counting votes, and reporting the findings. This is how elections are supposed to work ladies and gentlemen. It is quantative. It is math. Math, like science, doesn’t lie.
This claim that Republicans are being shut out is patently false. There is a trio, there has always been a trio, there will always be a trio. Anyone can log into any vote counting website of any precinct and watch a live stream, LIVE STREAM, video of vote counting. I am not kidding. It is live, all over the country.
Here comes another truth bomb: we are in the middle of a raging pandemic. This is not a political hoax. 230,000+ people have perished. Millions more have been sickened, have high hospital bills they may not be able to pay and now also may have lifelong afflictions from a dangerous virus. As a result of this very real public health threat, many states made changes to their voting rules; thirty states to be exact, and they are a mix of blue and red. I’m going to say that again. A mix of blue and red states made changes designed to allow registered voters more options to cast their ballots. Some of these changes are; more drop boxes for paper ballots, pre-paid postage to return a ballot, early voting and allowing COVID to be a reason to request a paper ballot.
Other states, like Arizona, Washington, Florida and Colorado already had rules in place allowing flexible options for registered voters and so they were ahead of the game. Because of these thoughtful and sensible changes many people chose to mail in their ballots, or vote early, so they did not have to be in a crowd. The result has been that our polling precincts went from processing perhaps a few thousand mail-in ballots to millions. Millions! Logic tells us it is going to take a while to count these out. They have to be taken out of the envelope, unfolded, and run through the machine. By hand. One by one. With our trio (mentioned above) keeping a watchful eye. This takes time. Time. I know that Americans in general are not a patient bunch, but wouldn’t you rather the count be thorough? We are back to a good old-fashioned count; absent the magic machine you hold in your hand 24/7 which gives you an answer in 10 seconds. Time. Patience. Accuracy.
Many studies have been conducted on voter fraud and the results are the same every time. There are scattered incidents of issues, but these are mostly due to unintentional clerical errors, or issues with a machine going a little haywire. Not the devil. Not a pre-meditated conspiracy. I beg you to look this up and read the studies, I have. I am coming from an educated place. You can do this too. This is the truth. Not a dangerous and false narrative that is specifically designed to make you hate the person next to you.
Think about the charge being levied…seriously…that there are thousands of poll workers, spending hours away from their families, under the watchful eye of a live stream camera and they are purposefully sneaking in illegal ballots. Dear Lord, I hope nobody picks their wedgie or their nose. Oh wait, maybe that would be okay, it would inject some humor and some human-ness to this situation. Can someone in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, or Nevada please comply? Come on, please? It would remind us that the people counting ballots are people. They are our neighbors, our friends. They are parents, daughters, and sons. They deserve our deference and our respect. If you are one who is hell-bent on criticism, then sign up to be one. Live in their shoes, walk one of their miles. Can we inject logic into this situation, please? If this “wide-spread” fraud was true, and fake votes were being added, wouldn’t it be less close?
Here’s another question; if it was okay for Trump to win by less than 100,000 votes across three states, and lose the popular vote, and that was the “voice of the people” and “the people have spoken”, than why is it fraud when the same thing is happening again, except this candidate is winning the popular vote, and is the other guy? Just because you don’t agree with the result, doesn’t make it wrong. This can be a painful self-realization. If you are NOT consistent, you lose credibility. Quite frankly, if you don’t have a problem with every politician, you are not being honest with yourself. None of them are perfect. Neither am I. Neither are you. There isn’t a candidate I have voted for or against that I agreed with 100%. It’s not possible.
In these days of technology especially, ballots are numbered. NUMBERED! They are cross-referenced. They are validated, properly and within the rules set by states. We have 51 elections (50 states and the District of Columbia), not one national one. Each state, each local municipality, has their own set of rules. Each state has a mix of governance, Democrat and Republican. The reason our founding fathers set this up was to prevent massive fraud. By having 51 separate elections, run by the states, it makes coordinating fraud quite difficult. When I think about what it would take for thousands of people to coordinate a massive election fraud that starts at the local level, and then keep it a secret, it sounds ridiculous. Is any group truly capable of pulling this off? It would require a disproportionate number of extreme type A people who can keep a secret. Maybe there are a lot of type A people, but can thousands of them keep a secret? No. Don’t be silly. Americans can’t keep secrets.
Another question: this is not just an election for Federal offices, it is also for local offices. If there were wide-spread fraud wouldn’t those down-ballot candidates be screaming? They are not. You know why? Because the votes are still being counted, and it is a close election and that is the way it is right now.
I again take you back to the LIVE STREAM cameras. The voting, properly and within the law, is happening. Our democracy is in action, before our eyes. This is the truth. It is transparent. Voting, and counting the vote should be celebrated. How many people have died, have suffered for us to have this right? Not agreeing with the result, doesn’t give anyone the right to change the math or to claim falsely that there is cheating. It just doesn’t.
I feel like we have been in the perpetual place of dealing with kindergarteners who band together with the false claim that they didn’t steal any cookies. Even though the nanny-cam shows that they did. They insist they didn’t. When you try, as a parent to reason with them, to hold them accountable to the truth, they throw a tantrum. Accusations fly of poor parenting, abuse and a world turned against them. They continue with how unfair it is to be burdened with this accusation that they stole cookies. They distract with stories of monsters breaking in while you were cooking dinner and it goes on and on. They convince all the neighbors that there is an actual real cookie monster running loose and you are the irresponsible parent because you are not doing anything about it. Someone must call Child Protective Services. I am trying to inject some humor here, but really the sad truth is we are being pummeled with lies. Lies from the Resolute Desk. Lies from the East Room. Lies.
This assault on truth is averaging 50 lies a day, over 20,000 in the last 4 years. This is not partisan, it is fact, and it continues to corrupt our daily news cycle, muddying the waters of real events and our ability to solve problems and help people. It is a strategy to sow division. A divided America is easily conquered and manipulated. Creating such division is purposeful so that we are so busy fighting with each other that we don’t notice that we are being charged $3 every time the president drinks water at a golf outing. Or perhaps we don’t notice that over 1,200 polling places have been closed mostly in rural, low-income areas with high minority populations making it harder and harder for them to exercise their right to vote.
Perhaps we also fail to notice that the Senate got rid of the Bar Associations review of judges being appointed to lifetime seats all over the country because all these appointees were failing to meet even the lowest standards. We are so busy posting news items on social media that are false that we don’t notice the deficit has exploded. We are so busy being distracted we allow a cruel immigration policy to be implemented. And what happened to the laws that protect our clean water and air? A large number of us have stopped believing in math and science, stopped believing doctors with decades of experience and expertise. If quantitative data and math tell me that the economy has been on the right track since 2009, I believe that. I do not believe bloviating and self-proclaimed alternative facts. This is not partisan. It is accepting the truth or believing lies. Quantitative data is math. Math is math. Someone can argue and try to convince me that 2 + 2 is not 4, that it is 5, but it is still false. What happens before our eyes is the truth.
I don’t go to the supermarket to ask the person at check-out about melting glaciers and whether that is going to change the currents of our oceans thusly causing havoc around the world. I don’t ask my doctor how to cook a stew. I don’t ask an attorney for prescription medicine.
I also don’t object to justices, as long as they are qualified and objective and believe in equality. I don’t object to immigration reform, but it must reflect our values as Americans and humans. I don’t object to election laws as long as they support equal access and fairness. I have voted for many different people from different parties. I seek truth, as much as possible, and an honest approach. I seek candidates with a brain and a heart. The two are not mutually exclusive.
We must demand our elected officials do their jobs. That means bringing legislation to committee and to the floor for open debate, edits and resolution even when you don’t agree with it. The job description most certainly does not say block everything. It does not say manipulate.
We must fight back against this tide of division and rediscover how to talk to each other again. We are so entrenched in our own opinion bubbles that we have lost our national discourse. This has opened us up to manipulation. No matter which side of the aisle you are on, that is bad. The far left is not right, and the far right is not right. The way to solve our problems is with respect and conversation. Tip O’Neill and Reagan. Clinton and Boehner. Pelosi and Bush. Ginsburg and Scalia.
Let us hold our elected officials accountable to putting the people first, not their own self-interest or self-preservation. It is time to be done arguing with each other and turn our attention back to our leaders. Here are a few simple ideas:
Term limits: the less time people are in office they less time they have to become corrupted.
Ban lobbying: our legislators cannot be objective when they are being swayed with money and gifts.
Remove corporate influence: we cannot allow our companies to be a part of creating laws that benefit them directly.
Restore an independent Department of Justice: under no circumstances should the DOJ ever be an operative of the Executive Branch.
Reinstate the 2/3 rules: no judge should be appointed, and no legislation should be passed with a simple majority. This will force conversation and compromise and with that comes balance.
As Americans, we have the ability for so much kindness, so much love and so much compassion. At the same time, we can be so cruel and so apt to rip each other apart. This time in our history reminds me a bit of the slime in Ghostbusters II. It was running through the city sewers and above, on the street, the people were fighting, brutally. We can stop the slime. We can. But to do that we must have a set of standards that are rooted in truth and acceptance of facts. It also involves something tough, like looking in the mirror and recognizing when we are inconsistent in our beliefs and actions. We need to be objective and accept that we won’t always get our way. We are not supposed to, it’s called compromise and consensus.