The only institution that can address our current crisis refuses to act

We are in a complex time. Competing electors. The 12th Amendment. The elector law from 1887. Pence’s choices. The war McConnell and the RINOS wage against a president who brought them out of the wilderness. Whether Ted Cruz is acting for good or selfish reasons. What’s missing from all this is anything resembling objective truth. And the one American institution created to discern the truth – our judiciary – is refusing to act.

In our hyper-connected, 24/7 communication society, we can no longer tell what is objectively true. Instead, millions of people (and trillions of dollars) chase fantasies spun by those with a motive to deceive.

About half the public thinks President Trump is a racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, tyrannical monster who will eat children if some scheme, fraudulent or not, doesn’t remove him from office. Although his bravado and personality are not to everyone’s taste, nothing supports these claims. Take just the racism charge.

The basis for this assertion is the claim that he called white supremacists “very fine people.” Tens of millions believe this unquestioningly. During a debate, for the umpteenth time, Chris Wallace mendaciously pressed Trump to “condemn white supremacists.” The last four years of racism charges work against a man who once won a Rosa Parks Award.

Trump, of course, never called white supremacists “fine people.” His actual words decried white supremacists:

Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

[snip]

I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.

Both Biden and Obama, who surely know better, repeated the foundational “fine people” lie just recently.

Truth as the antidote for false claims gains no traction. A teacher friend showed the accurate quotation to her class to counter the racism claim. Were they mad that they’d been lied to? No. They said, “That’s not the quote.” Nothing she showed them changed their minds.

The media floods us with lies. When Lesley Stahl interviewed Trump for 60 Minutes, he brilliantly filmed his appearance. He then released the raw and edited version to show 60 Minutes’s deceptive editing.

The full interview revealed as well the “truth bubble” Stahl inhabits. The President said, “They spied on my campaign.” Stahl responded, “That’s not been proven” – although it has. Stahl was no more in touch with—-or interested in— the truth than my friend’s students.

The election dispute roiling our Country really comes down to one basic question: How many legal votes did each candidate get? That truth must be found. So, the question becomes who can we look to for truth?

Politicians? The media? Hollywood? The Universities? Government? Now that you’ve stopped laughing, here’s the serious, historical answer: Our Courts.

Fundamentally, courts exist to determine the facts and apply those facts to the law. Did Ms. Smith breach her contract with Ms. Jones or not? No fistfight is required. The courts decide and you live with the decision.

Courts come equipped with rules and procedures to find the facts. Take depositions, discover documents, and present them to the judge and jury. Write a legal brief. Disagree with the decision? Appeal. It’s all there.

Courts are imperfect – they’re slow, expensive, and sometimes run by buffoons -- but the system has worked for centuries. I was a trial lawyer for 25 years and the decisions I saw were almost always reasonable.

But in 2020, our judicial system, which is set up to discern truth from competing facts, refuses to act. It’s not from lack of invitation. Despite being called out in every imaginable way, they will not perform their essential function in our society. Sadly, there is no one else.

Some courts may feel elections are political and courts should stay out. But while elections are political, determining fraud is not. Cheating is a fact. There is one truth: Did the Democrats cheat and, if they did, was the outcome affected? Our country cannot survive if the courts refuse to give us an impartial answer to that question.

We all know that politicians lie, the media plays streams “narratives” to their faithful and gullible audience, Hollywood uses its product for indoctrination, universities have gone insane, and the government is not here to help.

That leaves the courts, which are designed for dispute resolution but refuse to act. Fists, then, become our only option. As millions descend upon the Capitol, those fists look frightening indeed.

Congress will undoubtedly roll out a political circus with clowns and elephants galore. But the game is down the street where the Supreme Court sleeps while our Republic teeters. Perhaps they are waiting until the political process fails. I hope so because, if we lose the one place created to find the truth, we truly are lost.

Jerome Michaels, a trial attorney, wrote the above while flying to Washington, D.C., for the Stop the Steal rally.

IMAGE: Judge’s gavel and law books by Weiss Paarz. Creative commons license.