Unnecessary division and stereotyping

In any conflict, significant problems result from defining that conflict by its extreme positions. Most Americans are involved in neither Antifa nor QAnon. Treating every liberal as an Antifa activist and every conservative as a QAnon activist only widens the divide, deepens the problem, and increases the potential of violent confrontations.

According to the mainstream media, QAnon focuses upon people in power who use that power criminally for personal financial gain and for illicit sexual activities. Some people in power have done such things since ancient times—consider the Caesars of the first century. According to the mainstream media, QAnon believes that most people in power—most Democrats, many Republicans, and various business leaders connected to politicians—are part of a massive conspiracy to conduct this criminal behavior while hiding it from the public. Evidence of such corruption exists—the names Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein come to mind. The MeToo movement began as a way to identify criminals, support victims, and change the culture of abuse by the powerful. If that movement has been harnessed by radical conspiracy-theorists, that is first of all unfortunate, and second a hint that the conspiracy to protect powerful criminals may be even stronger than most of us realized.

Most Americans—and that includes most Republicans, most Trump supporters, and most conservatives—reject the concept of an evil cabal masterminding sexual abuse and financial corruption in and beyond this country. The attempt to portray every liberal politician and community leader with those crimes is wrongminded and pointless.

Most Americans—and that includes most Republicans, most Trump supporters, and most conservatives—support law and order and oppose the “really futile and stupid gesture” performed in the Capitol building January 6. The attempt to portray every conservative politician and community leader as guilty of those crimes is wrongminded and pointless.

Yet some Americans want to punish every citizen who demonstrated in favor of the President that day, even the vast majority who did not enter the Capitol, did not threaten police officers or any other person, and did not damage any property. A movement in Congress wants to punish every Senator and Representative who opposed the electoral college results submitted to Congress January 6, claiming that those votes supported insurrection and violence. After spending two months assuring us that this election was the fairest and least corrupt election in the history of humanity, the mainstream media wants to label every individual who suggests that election fraud occurred as anti-American, terroristic, and dangerous.

The election results cannot be overturned. But investigations into election fraud must continue. Slowly, patiently, carefully, and meticulously, investigators must continue to analyze election day happenings in Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. Anyone who believes that no election fraud occurred should support those investigations, because they could conclusively demonstrate that no election fraud occurred. Only those who fear that their side won through election fraud has reason to oppose, hinder, or end these investigations. If election fraud did occur, those guilty should be punished, and new procedures should be instituted to prevent fraud from being repeated.

Meanwhile, those who threatened or harmed police officers or any other individuals in Washington DC on January 6 should be arrested, tried, and—if convicted—punished. Those who damaged property during those events should also be arrested, tried, and—if convicted—punished. Those who merely trespassed on government property without threatening or harming individuals and without damaging property should be fined for their trespass and then released. I write this having just seen some so-called shocking and disturbing video footage from the Capitol building, including the Senate chambers. For the most part, the trespassers were courteous toward law enforcement officers. They were respectful of government property. They hurt no one and damaged nothing. They took pictures of government documents. They said some dirty words. They left quickly after having arrived. If this is insurrection, then we need to teach other citizen groups seeking change in the country to practice their insurrection with the same gentleness, respect, and courtesy.

And maybe both sides can clean up their language, at least while the cameras are running. J.

Animal House DC

In November, when commenting on the results of the election, I borrowed a quote from the movie Animal House, saying, “It’s not over until we say it’s over.” If anyone read those words and thought that I was advocating violence, disorder, and disobedience, I sincerely apologize. I was calling for court filings, investigations of election fraud, and challenges to the election results in certain urban areas where suspicious results were announced. I in no way intended for anyone to respond to the words in the movie that closely follow my quote—namely, “I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on someone’s part.” And the next line was, “We’re just the guys to do it!”

Last Wednesday a few dozen people made a really futile and stupid gesture. What they did was wrong, both legally and morally wrong. Hurting, endangering, and threatening people is wrong. Hurting, endangering, and threatening police officers and news reporters and members of Congress is wrong. Breaking windows in government buildings is wrong. Entering private offices is wrong. Scattering papers or removing them from those offices is wrong. I hope that the dozens of people who are guilty of these crimes are found, arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and punished under the laws of the United States. Anything less would be disappointing.

Beyond the criminal nature of these actions, they were also really futile and stupid because they tainted President Trump and all of his supporters. They gave ammunition to the mainstream media that has been telling people for more than four years what a bad man Donald Trump is and what bad people all his supporters are. Often the media has had to lie to pursue this theme; in this case, the media scarcely needs to exaggerate. The symbolic nature of this trespass into the United States Capitol clouds the reality that far more damage was done in numerous demonstrations across the United States in 2020, demonstrations that the same media carefully described as “mostly peaceful” and characterized as noble efforts to end the evil of racial prejudice and discrimination.

The gathering in Washington last Wednesday was mostly peaceful. Even many of the people who followed the wave of criminals into the Capitol largely walked through the halls in an orderly manner, carrying their flags and banners and taking their own pictures to prove they were there. They wanted to express their support of the President and their outrage that the election was stolen. They wanted to remind the Democratic party and the mainstream media that millions of American citizens still believe in the positions held by President Trump—not racist positions, not white supremacist positions, not anti-freedom positions, but genuine patriotism for the United States and a genuine desire to provide a better life for all its citizens.

The election results are certified; they cannot be changed. Investigations should continue. People who witnessed fraud must report what they saw. People who confessed to fraud must be interviewed to gain the whole story of what happened—whose orders were they following? Physical evidence of election results needs to be preserved and examined. For the good of the United States and all its citizens, we need to know what happened, who is at fault, and how repetition of this fraud can be prevented. That really futile and stupid gesture could result in reduction of our freedom as Americans. Members of the government might seek to establish limitations on the right of the people to assemble peacefully, to say and to write what they believe, and to address their concerns to the government. The chorus of voices insisting that November’s election was legal and fair—the least corrupt election in history—must not be allowed to drown out genuine dissent. Defending truth and freedom should not be equated with rioting, insurrection, violence, and other crimes. If that happens, the America we know and love might indeed be finished. J.

Reducing election fraud

The current delay in counting votes in this week’s election has many Americans wishing for a better way. Surely the process can be improved to guarantee that every vote counts but that fraud and deceit are prevented.

When the Constitution was written, a system of checks and balances was established to limit governmental power. One of those checks and balances is called “federalism”: some aspects of our government are centralized (military, foreign affairs, printing money) but many are divided among smaller jurisdictions—states, counties, and municipalities. Local leaders often make better decisions than can be made by a central government. Methods of voting have always been determined on a local level rather than by the national government.

The growth of national government in replacing local decision-making is one of the important tensions in American history. Many concerns that were once local now have national guidance, including police protection, highways, and public education. According to an old political adage, once you allow a camel to stick its nose into the tent, the rest of the camel is sure to follow. For this reason, wiser minds prefer not to allow federal guidelines and regulations to control voting throughout the United States.

If not for that caveat, though, some guidelines might be in order. Namely:

  • Ballots should only be mailed to voters who request ballots by mail; no government should mail ballots to all registered voters.
  • A clear and reliable method of identifying voters should be in place to reduce election fraud through identity theft.
  • While votes should be counted only on election day, those who oversee the vote should be allowed and encouraged to process early votes and mail-in votes to speed the counting of those votes on election day.
  • Poll watchers from both political parties—as well as watchers not affiliated with either party—should be present whenever ballots are processed and counted, and they should be well-trained to observe, to document any inappropriate activities, and to report such inappropriate activities to the proper authorities.

Elections will continue to be close and will continue to evoke strong emotions in many people. Cheaters are still going to find ways to cheat. While the judicial branch has historically removed itself from the electoral process (another check and balance from the Constitution), inevitably judges will need to decide cases where cheating appears to have happened. A more uniform way of conducting elections might reduce opportunities for election fraud. J.