In short, democracy and our republic depend on the clarity of thought, length of vision backward and forward – and the courage to defend what we know is right when challenged by the left.
Where does “cancel culture” – curbing protected free speech – go from here? “Looking around corners,” we may be getting a hint. Watch closely. If those in power cannot ignore overtalk, delegitimize, dimmish, block, mock, or intimidate conservatives, what’s next? Criminalize them.
Like Biden calling parents “domestic terrorists” for opposing CRT, biology, transgender bathrooms, and dumbed-down math, Democrats appear to be testing the waters – criminalizing opponents is next.
History tells us, the Soviet monster Joe Stalin – like all communists, fascists, theocrats, and autocrats – started in a similar way. Criminalizing your opponents for being your opponents is, in a word, criminal.
So, what is happening? A leading Democrat state governor, Governor Inslee of Washington State, has decided that “elected officials and candidates who lie about election results could face gross misdemeanor or jail time,” that is his plan, way of silencing critics, blunting election integrity dialogue. See, e.g., Washington Democratic Gov. Inslee wants to make lying a crime in certain circumstances.
In what Orwellian world is free speech held hostage – about something as naturally controversial, obviously important, fundamental to the republic, as fair elections, assessing results, talking on them?
If there is one issue that should be an instant “matter of public concern,” resulting in constitutional protection, based on countless cases, it is our electoral process, the way it is done, outcomes averred.
The notion that objections to elections – based on heartfelt concerns, observations, allegations, inferences, and facts collected – are somehow criminal is just this side of what happened in Russia in 1917, Germany in the 1930s, China today, frankly dozens of crooked countries around the world.
No, criminalizing claims of electoral victory, accusations of defeat, asking for recounts, audits, and time records, skeptically examining and reexamining outcomes, insisting on integrity of for voters and voting, official personnel and machines, security in ballot creation, distribution, collection, tallies, final certifications, is not criminal – and never should be.
We are scientific in the way we create, preserve, and assure outcomes in important sectors, aviation and rocketry, medicine and architecture, engineering to skyscraper construction, radiation measurement to weather modeling, accounting, and transportation to protect from accidents storms, and sun.
We are scientific, methodical, integrity-centered, even preoccupied with accuracy to endless thousandths in countless areas, in some cases down to parts per billion, and we know that is right. Why -in the public sector – would we not be equally concerned about our elections, and for that reason, allow the marketplace of ideas, as the Supreme Court called it, to thrive around them?
The only reason to shut down talk about elections is political chicanery, a combination of short-sightedness, anger or pique, and indifference to assuring integrity, in a word, corruption. Any move in that direction begins to blunt, distort, restrict, and clandestinely control electoral outcomes.
This is the exact reason that such a movement must stop right here. To criminalize electoral claims, cross-claims, and to shut down public discussion around the heart of democracy, the lifeblood of a republic – elections and their legitimacy – is to invite intimidation, autocracy, and one-party rule.
All this is not America, and we may pray never will be. The idea that is canceling opponents by non-coverage, throwing them off social media, disparaging rights, disinviting, villainizing, and rioting is right – is wrong. The notion that someone would notch things up, criminalizing free speech, is utterly wrong.
So, what does this peek around one important corner mean? A back glance at history and forward thought about the dark possibilities mean? What should the lesson be when someone suggests a way to criminalize an objection to an election?
The answer is simple: No! No to shutting down speech, no to shutting off controversy, no to redefining democracy, no to demonizing critics, no to jamming those seeking answers, no to public officials who want to use their power – to shut off yours.
In short, democracy and our republic depend on the clarity of thought, length of vision backward and forward – and the courage to defend what we know is right when challenged by the left. This is not complex, not even particularly a matter of law. It is a matter of fairness, honesty, and integrity.
When politics and civil dialogue erode and we are left with power grabs and rule by federal mandate, unrepentant street violence, overreach by those in power, coercion of the process – especially the process by which we would contest an election, count on one thing: We are off track.
Let us lean into the wind, defend our freedoms – especially free speech – and not bow to the storm, which aims to take power from the people, concentrate, alienate, intimidate, and criminalize. All that is unfit for representative democracy – which gave the world representative democracy, America.
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