Saturday, February 13, 2021

And Yet The Glittering Lie Appeals More Than Dull, Gray Truth

      Yesterday's post drew comments.  Partisan comments, for all that I stuck to general principles.  I was going to just let them sit in the queue, but they rile me and I was never one to shy away from yelling at clouds.  Or what the heck, losing friends; popularity has never meant anything at all to me.

     So here goes, both barrels, no filter:

Yesterday, from "Carteach:"
     "What happens when the elected officeholders manage to rig the system to the point they no longer need worry about keeping their jobs no matter what they do to the citizens?"

     Okay, hell, let's run with that hypothesis: let us posit the system has done been rigged.  Even in states where the election apparatus is wholly under the control of elected and appointed Republicans, the Democrats have secretly seized the reins of power and can dial up the results they want as easily as one, two three....  Now tell me what kind of insane supervillains get themselves in a position to control elections -- and fail to give themselves commanding control of the legislature?   There were more than enough seats up for grabs in the Senate to get a two-thirds majority, and yet instead that body sits at 50/50, balanced on a knife-edge of a single defection from the party line (or, for the Dems, a tie).

     Nope, sorry.  Didn't wash when the Republican government of Georgia ran and checked their own elections and the incumbent Republican President lost.  It didn't wash when the Trump administration's own appointees in a position to know reported there was no manipulation or fraud in the 2020 elections.  Former President Donald John Trump and his campaign helpers spent months before the election sowing doubt about the honesty and fairness of it, then spent months after the election reaping that same doubt -- and it is fiction through and through.  Oh, it's fiction they are doing a very good job of selling, especially if you have no faith in our system of government, but it's simply a lie.  The professionals in his own Administration said as much, and were dinged for it.  The utterly pragmatic Senator Mitch McConnell said as much and got himself unfriended by the then-President. 

     I spent a lot of time looking into this calumny and every single claim that had any foundation at all in reality turned out to be a misunderstanding, a misinterpretation, or a misstatement that was later refuted by provable, solid facts.  Elections in the the United States of America are decentralized, run in large part by amateur, part-time labor and underpaid, honest civil servants who are barely able to keep up with the demands of the job, let alone run some kind of large-scale scam.  Mr. Trump is pleased to undermine public faith in the veracity of our elections to soothe his own ego.  He's 74; he has considerable resources.  He won't have to live with the consequences.  You and I will.  Our families will.  Are you willing to throw them into the fire to please a man with a well-established history of counterfactual running off at the mouth to suit his own ends?

12 hours ago, from "B"
     "You are correct. But we no longer have elections we can count on. SO that part id s off the table. THe rest of your statement above stands on it's own merits, however."

     We can indeed count on our elections, as I have shown above.  Again, what kind of inept baddies get control of election results and fail to give themselves a commanding majority in the legislature?  If their goal was "get Trump" and smash him flat, they fell far short of it.  Are you truly going to claim these master manipulators, with tentacles deep into the election machinery in a sufficient number of states -- even Republican-dominated states -- to control the outcome just forgot to hand themselves a Senate supermajority?   It's just about certain Mr. Trump's going to waltz away from the current Senate trial untouched -- to the great disappointment of most Congressional Democrats.  If they're so all-fired powerful, how come they can't manage to fully master the Senate?

      Downticket Republicans did very well in the 2020 elections.  If the elections were some kind of covert Democrat coup, it was bungled, and badly. 

      The simpler hypothesis is that Mr. Trump lost in 2020 for the same reason Ms. Clinton lost in 2016:  state-by-state, a majority of Americans didn't want them to be President.  Possibly a slim majority, but that's how it works.

      You play along with Mr. Trump's baseless undermining of credence in our elections at considerable peril to yourself, your fellow citizens and to their posterity.  If you were really concerned about our elections, you'd volunteer to be a pollworker.  Most cities and states are chronically short-handed -- if you think the system's rotten, go have a look for yourself.  I can tell you right now, the system's Peter-principled.  There are barely enough sufficiently competent people to get the work done, let alone try to cook the books.

4 hours ago, "Mark Matis" wrote:
     "They have already destroyed the soap box. They have now destroyed the ballot box with the massive fraud. So what does THAT leave??? Ask Ashlii Babbit if she thinks THEY will refuse to use the cartridge box..."

     Let me take that point by point:

     "...[D]estroyed the soap box?"  Really?  What a private business does along those lines is up to the private business; last time I looked,  you could still preach on the streetcorners, Gab was still running, the NRA's magazines as well as National Review and The Nation were still around and had a web presence.  Having freedom of speech does not oblige anyone to provide you with a hall to speak in; you'll have to go about that the same way Aimee Semple McPherson, Robert Green Ingersoll and Ayn Rand did.  Mr. Trump got himself kicked off Twitter and Facebook for rabble-rousing, pure and simple.  Let me suggest that's something we all should refrain from using someone else's megaphone to do.

   "They have now destroyed the ballot box with the massive fraud."  Asked and answered.  To date, no one has provided even one shred of proof that such a thing happened and there are multiple reasons to doubt that it did, starting with Mr. Trump losing in states where the GOP is in majority in the state government, as well as the wins of downticket Republican candidates.  Elections in the United States are honestly and fairly run -- and you can volunteer and find that out for yourself.  I'm told the Election Day refreshments are free, or they were before the coronavirus pandemic screwed things up and they will be again.

     "Ask Ashlii Babbit if she thinks THEY will refuse to use the cartridge box..."  Oh, I have been just waiting for this to come up.  Here, let me set the scene: a mob has burst in.  They are trying to break into legislative chambers.  Policemen/armsmen are on the other side, guns drawn and aimed, their posture clearly indicating readiness to shoot.  The mob smashed a window -- and the first person to try climbing through is shot dead.

     You bring a violent mob to my house -- or have one show up at yours -- and the first one of them to attempt hauling themselves through a broken window will most assuredly get shot, and the act will be deemed justified when it comes before the courts. 

     Ms. Babbit chose her death.  She died a criminal.  What, you believe the people charged with the physical security of our Capitol building are obliged to knuckle under to a mob?  That a military veteran shoving through a window in a locked door leading to the House chambers at the head of a mob does not constitute a credible threat to the Congresspeople and others sheltering in that room?

     Might does not make right.  A mob does not outweigh a duly elected assembly of Senators and Representatives, and a good many Americans have died to ensure that principle.

     I'm an anarchist.  I understand that governments are not inevitable, that they are merely arbitrary structures that most of us play along with* and quite flimsy.  I also understand that a majority of the people around me rely on that flimsy structure.  I must not break it without an overwhelming -- and overwhelmingly obvious -- reason, and neither should you.  Mr. Trump's pique at losing an election falls far short of that standard, and playing along with his self-serving falsehoods does enormous harm to our culture and our country.  The people who have done so should hang their heads in shame.
* That's that nifty concept, "government with the consent of the governed."  You may have heard of it before.


RandyGC said...

Not trying to be argumentative but just trying to zero in on your position on one area (fully aware you may have answered it and I didn't comprehend it when I read it):

Are you saying that there is no vote fraud in US elections? Or simply that the level of any fraud is localized and does not rise to significance in a national election?

(Having grown up watching Chicago TV stations, reading Chicago papers, listening to Chicago radio stations and going to college with a large number of people from Chicago-land with lots of relatives in down-state Illinois, I have a strong opinion on my first question, and watch the evidence on a case by case basis on the second).

Pigpen51 said...

Trump could have come out of this election smelling like a rose, simply by conceding when the last of the appeals were rejected by the courts. He could have then, after the new president was seated, said that he was going to work on ensuring that the 2022 elections were transparent and fair. Instead, he kept claiming that he was screwed by the Democrats, and we saw the results of that. He may not be guilty of incitement of the riot on January 6th, but he was definitely a contributing factor.
As for the election that we just had, I truly believe that of course, there were some places where the count was messed up. I just don't think it was done on purpose. Human beings are never completely error proof, and to think that having a turnout of over 150 million votes to count, and not have some margin of error is naive to say the least. No doubt there were some votes that were recorded for Trump that should have been given to President Biden.
My mom used to be an election board worker, in my small Michigan town, for years and years. Of course this was many years ago, but I remember her talking about how it was not just a job to make a few dollars, but to her, and the others who worked with her, they felt like they were contributing to the country, by just doing the job of an election worker. And I believe that we have to place our trust in the election process still.
Losers of elections are often angry and want to blame someone other than themselves for their loss. In this case, Trump, while he did some things that the conservatives liked, he also was of such a shall we say, intense personality that even his supporters couldn't support him again.
Now that we have a new president, we must do the same thing that we always do with a new administration. As a Christian, I pray everyday for our government, for the health and safety of the president and vice president, and that they will make good decisions that help the people of the nation. And we must stay informed and involved. It is not just every 4 years that we should worry about things, but by watching and keeping your states representatives informed as to the fact that you are watching them, and letting them know the ideas that you have, is important. And I like to think that it has at least some bearing on how they approach each issue.
Stay safe, and healthy, and keep on writing your blog using your intelligence and wit. It is another way that people can be encouraged to think..

Carteach said...

My apologies for instigating a rise in blood pressure. I've enough experience with that to not wish it on anyone.

I will cease and desist any comments that might even approach that line.

Roberta X said...

RandyGC: In this day and age, there is no significant fraud and manipulation in U. S. elections. That's what I am saying -- because it is true.

It has not always been true, and it was a lot easier to accomplish in the past. Anymore, there are TV cameras everywhere, whistle-blowing is a part of both politics and journalism, and despite all the inflammatory claims of partisan bias, a well-documented report of election meddling would make the front pages of everything from the New York Times to the National Review. For instance, if a President called up state elected officials and tried to lean on them to "adjust" the count in his favor....

For the 2020 election, the only other "reporting" of election-jiggering shows up on dodgy websites and the Epoch Times -- or in the wild claims of fringe TV, where they have walked it back when challenged. If those claims were true and real, they would stand up in court and those networks would stand behind 'em. Instead, they crumpled like tissue paper in the rain.

Do people make errors? Yes, and good systems design double-checks for them. Are there laws and polices that suppress some voting? Yes, but generally they face legal challenges and the courts iron 'em out -- Indiana's Voter ID law being a good example of this.

Roberta X said...

Carteach: my blood pressure is fine (when I take my medicine) and you didn't raise it. But your assertion abut the 2020 election was demonstrably incorrect, as I have shown.

RandyGC said...

Thanks for the clarification. (and again, you may have been clear in your earlier posts and I just didn't comprehend)