‘Because I Said So’ Government Is a Disaster
Trying to preserve the integrity of American elections by insisting that Americans not speak about their real concerns only makes the 2020 election outcome more suspect.
“Why are you forcing me to wear a mask but not forcing me to wear disposable gloves?”
“Because I said so.”
“Why are Fortune 500 stores allowed to stay open while local businesses must go bankrupt?”
“Because I said so.”
“Why must I believe the 2020 election was untainted by fraud when nothing about it smells right?”
“Because I said so.”
If any lesson has been driven home during the last year, it is that the public must stop thinking for itself and let the government do its thinking for it. Questioning the wearing of masks is called “unpatriotic.” Questioning the authority of local politicians to ban family and church gatherings is called “selfish.” Questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election is called “dangerous.”
In the United States, however, the government is not meant to be separate from the people. It is meant to be representative of the people, and its application of power is at all times checked by the people. It is a form of consensual government. The buck stops with us, not the governing class.
There is nothing consensual about “because I said so” governing. That’s “rule by authority,” a whole other monster that Americans have fought on global battlefields since the country’s founding. It’s way past time for Republicans and Democrats holding elected offices to understand that millions of Americans find the wide proliferation of “because I said so” government as dangerous as any virus or any foreign attack. Representative government in the United States is hanging by a thread, and there’s nothing wrong with saying that out loud.
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan recently told Bank of America’s European Credit Conference that “legal challenges to the outcome and the attacks on our voting system really need to stop” because they “will only serve to undermine our faith in our system of government, our faith in our democracy.” In other words, voters are not supposed to think for themselves because… Paul Ryan says so.
Sorry, Ryan, but that ship has sailed. If you wanted Americans to have faith in the outcomes of monumentally consequential national elections that put the stark choice between individual freedom and socialist state coercion on the ballot, then election integrity should have been the number one priority of state and federal governments as soon as the Bush v. Gore debacle split the nation’s voters in half twenty years ago. Ever since, neither Democrats nor Republicans have had great faith in election outcomes. Al Gore’s nearly forty-day recount in four Democrat-majority counties in November and December of 2000 permanently convinced Democrats that he had been robbed of victory. Four years later, John Kerry reluctantly conceded to President Bush while also alleging that voting irregularities had tipped Ohio toward his Republican opponent. In fact, the New York Times Magazine ran a story two years ago -- before the 2018 midterms -- insinuating that hacked electronic voting systems may have stolen both presidential elections from the Democrats. That’s kind of a big deal, one that career politicians should want to fix if they’re so concerned about “faith in our democracy.” Instead, we are in the middle of perhaps the most disputed election in American history right now, and one of the chief allegations is that electronic voting systems were repeatedly manipulated in key battleground states to benefit Joe Biden. Nobody is shocked except the same politicians who demand we blithely accept the results as if nothing strange has been observed.
Likewise, Republicans watched Barack Obama take office in 2008 with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate after Al Franken defeated Minnesota Republican senator Norm Coleman by a mere 312-vote margin out of nearly three million votes cast. Franken gave Obama the sixty Democrats he needed in the Senate to ram socialized medicine down the throats of the American people, but he took office at the same time a conservative advocacy group called Minnesota Majority documented numerous voting irregularities, including the fact that 1,099 felons had voted during the election, despite being ineligible to do so. Journalist John Fund and Bush Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky published a book on vote fraud in 2012 called “Who’s Counting?” in which they noted that 243 people had either been convicted for vote fraud or were awaiting trial stemming from the 2008 Minnesota election delivering Franken his seat. Here we had a consequential election that gave Democrats complete control over the Senate -- decided by 312 votes and producing at least 243 criminal cases, with allegations of hundreds or thousands more illegal votes in the election -- and Americans are expected today to forget it ever happened.
Twelve years later, election integrity has never been weaker. Voting in 2020 has taken place with the unprecedented use of mail-in balloting made nearly impossible to authenticate, in-person voting with watered down requirements for personal identification, and scant enforcement of signature matching to verify -- at a bare minimum -- that the person casting the ballot can vaguely reproduce his or her own signature on file.
Ryan could have looked at what happened in Minnesota in 2008 and concluded that any election where the number of criminal cases equals the margin of victory is unacceptable if Americans are expected to believe in the integrity of election results. He could have witnessed how vote fraud in dribs and drabs in Minnesota produced fundamental change throughout the country by ushering in the takeover of American healthcare and concluded that “faith in our system of government” is now at stake. But Ryan did no such thing, and twelve years later, Republicans have no faith in “free” or “fair” elections at all. Nearly half of America believes the 2020 election has been stolen from President Trump, including a whopping 30% of Democrats, precisely because so many Americans deem the 2020 election to have been neither transparent nor verifiable.
Now the same politicians who have done nothing to allay American voters’ fears expect Americans to hold their tongues and pretend that everything about the 2020 election is fine and dandy because the politicians insist that it is so. Demanding that Americans be silent about their concerns in order to preserve the Republic sounds a lot like suppressing free speech to preserve freedom.
In a system that depends on democratic elections to determine the future course of the country, even the appearance of impropriety or illegality in the elections of one state becomes poison to the whole Union. The politicians who have refused to call out vote fraud when it pops up and nip it in the bud produced this volatile moment in American history. As Obama would say, the American people didn’t build that; the ruling class did.