Condemning Violence Doesn’t Address the Other Threat to our Republic
We can't let the melee at the Capitol distract us from its cause.
January 18, 2021
The response to the recent rioting at the U.S. Capitol was immediate, unequivocal, and bipartisan. Democrats were all too eager to condemn the participants as insurrectionists, to blame Donald Trump, and condemn him, too, as an unhinged provocateur. It must have given them some measure of satisfaction after the criticism they faced for ignoring and even encouraging the riots of last summer.
And across the board, Republicans and conservatives, too, are condemning the violence at the Capitol, calling it shocking, disgraceful, and un-American. “That’s not who we are.” “This is a threat to democracy.” “In America, we don’t resort to violence. We solve our problems in the courts.”
Lost in that ocean of outrage and condemnation was the simple fact that the grievances sparking the riot were, in fact, presented to the courts. They were legally disposed of, but they were never resolved.
The prospect of potentially overturning a presidential election must have been terrifying for those jurists – especially in the aftermath of the tumultuous summer. We can read their decisions, but we can’t know what was in their minds when they issued their decisions. We can’t know if they all truly believed that they were interpreting the law to the best of their ability, if any were influenced by political bias, or if they were intimidated by a politically hot potato.
It’s easy to understand why tens of millions of Americans still reject the election results. Virtually all the lower courts either denied or dismissed the numerous credible allegations of fraud, often using legal technicalities to maneuver around common sense. One example was in the ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, overturning a lower court ruling which had sided with the Trump campaign. At issue was the minimum allowable distance of poll watchers from the actual ballots. The ruling by the PA Supreme Court stated that “the Election Code does not specify minimum distance parameters” of poll-watchers and that “observers are directed only to observe and not to audit ballots.” So according to the court, the mere presence of observers at the polls satisfied the law – there was no reason to allow examination of the ballots.
Reasonable Americans surely wonder how that decision in any way helped to ensure voting integrity.
The last best hope of Trump supporters was launched on December 7, 2020, when the state of Texas filed a case with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin violated Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution by arbitrarily changing their state election laws, thereby eliminating safeguards against voter fraud. In an unprecedented chain of events, Texas was immediately joined by 17 other states. The arguments presented by Texas and Missouri are detailed and compelling. But they were unceremoniously rejected by SCOTUS, not on their merit, but because of “lack of standing,” a legal term loosely defined as none of your business.
Most Americans would probably argue that the integrity of our presidential election is the business of every citizen of every state in the union.
The unilateral and unconstitutional changes made by Democrats, not only facilitated election fraud but made it harder to investigate and prosecute. So yes, millions of Americans now distrust or wholly reject the outcome of the election. But like Paul Newman in the title role of the 1967 classic film, Cool Hand Luke, they’re being told to get their minds right – assimilate and accept the notion that the election was fair. It would be easier to convince them that the sun rises in the West and sets in the East.
They’re not inclined to respond to threats or patronizing assurances, either. We can all condemn those who resort to violence. The left can censor and ostracize them, but none of that will resolve the grievances that drive them. Unless and until all the allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election are thoroughly investigated and resolved, and future elections are honest and constitutionally compliant, their anger will only fester.
Now, emboldened by their perceived victory and the outrage over the violence at the Capitol, liberals, progressives, tech giants, and the media are lashing out at President Trump and his supporters. They’re forcing them off social media, censoring them, and doing what they can to make them pariahs in their new socialist society. And in a pointless, malicious, and ugly act of retribution, vindictive Democrats have kicked the hornets’ nest by initiating yet another baseless impeachment effort. They’ve chosen to demonize and antagonize political opponents, rather than address their grievances.
The stability of any democracy depends on freedom from oppression and trust in the government. Joe Biden is about to learn something that other Democrat politicians at the state and local level have already begun to understand. It takes more than power to make a leader. It takes the support of the people.
Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published online and in print.