In his Memorial Day address to the country, President Joe Biden said, “Democracy is more than a form of government. It’s a way of being. It’s a way of seeing the world. Democracy means the rule of the people—the rule of the people. Not the rule of monarchs, not the rule of the moneyed, not the rule of the mighty—literally, the rule of the people.”
And yet, anti-democratic bills are sweeping the country making it harder to vote for many people. We can get a driver’s license, a passport, a social security card and credit cards in the mail. We send checks and our tax returns in the mail. Somehow, we can’t vote by mail? That’s not safe?
The conservative Heritage Foundation claims to have “1,285 cases of proven voter fraud.” What they don’t tell you, and don’t state clearly, is that this wasn’t for the 2020 election. This goes back to 1979 when they first started checking for fraud. Of the 1,285, apparently only 207 were fraudulent absentee ballots. One-hundred-fifty-five million votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election. It’s safe to say that since 1979, and another 10 elections, that is well over a billion votes cast. The Washington Post came up with 16 true cases of voter fraud in the 2020 election. So far, the average is one case of voter fraud for every 10 million votes cast. Texas has one of those and yet wants to change its voting laws—especially mail-in voting. Methinks, it has more to do with more Democrats voting by mail (during a pandemic) because they were encouraged to do so. Whereas less Republican voters voted by mail because they were told it wasn’t safe to do so.
Last week, Republicans in the Senate voted down the creation of a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) declared optimistically before the vote, “There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against the commission since Democrats have agreed to everything they asked for.” He was sure he could get 10 patriotic Americans to vote to investigate the worst attack on our Democracy since the Civil War. He got six.
Former Republican governor of New Jersey, Thomas Kean, who headed the 9/11 Commission, said failure to create a 9/11-type commission for the events of Jan. 6 was “a mistake and it’s a country’s loss and a democracy’s loss … I guess some people were scared of what they’d find out.”
Republicans weren’t scared to find out about Benghazi. A radicalized mob attacks a U.S. Government facility. Help arrives with several hours of delay. A mob overruns the defenses. Four American lives lost, and dozens injured. Republicans insisted on a Special Select Committee and six separate committee investigations. Seven million dollars was spent on 33 hearings. The only difference in the U.S. Capitol attack were that five American lives were lost.
Mitch McConnell seems to think that having these hearings before the 2022 elections would make some Republicans look bad. Really Mitch?
A recent QAnon conference in Texas featured many Republicans, including Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn. They all insist that Trump won the 2020 election. Remember Flynn? He was convicted of lying to the FBI about conversations with Russians. Trump pardoned him. During Flynn’s speech, an audience member asked why what happened in Myanmar (a military coup) can’t happen here. After the crowd stopped cheering, Flynn replied, “No reason. I mean, it should happen here.”
If you recall, QAnon supports the idea that Democrats, and leading Hollywood figures, are a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic, blood-drinking pedophiles running a global child sex-trafficking ring while plotting against former U.S. President Donald Trump. About 30% of Republicans believe this to be true.
How can Democracy survive when people think this way?
“Democracy is in peril as authoritarians around the world try to destroy it,” Biden insisted. While our democracy is imperfect, Americans “of all backgrounds . . . have long spilled their blood to defend our democracy … because they understand the truth that lives in every American heart: that liberation, opportunity, justice are far more likely to come to pass in a democracy than an autocracy.”
And how do we avoid an autocracy? By voting. By accepting the vote. If someone like former Attorney General Bill Barr, who acted more like Trump’s personal attorney instead of America’s attorney, says there was no significant voting fraud to overturn the election, I think he should be believed.
Don’t support an insurrection. Don’t support a coup. Don’t support a civil war. Don’t support a cover-up. Don’t support gerrymandering or voter suppression. Support voting. Defend the Constitution. If you want a change in government, it’s easy. Just vote.
Don Urbanus is a resident of Valley Springs. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.