By John Strand and Thomas Bixby
Our Opinion: Are Many of Us ‘Detached From Reality?’
Why is it that many Americans believe the falsehood that Joe Biden’s election to the Presidency was a fraud, that it was rigged?
In this wave of primaries, Republican voters have nominated many candidates to run for major state offices. Governor, secretary of state, attorney general. Many of them say they would not have certified the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr.
It is going to be far worse than one disputed election, more dangerous for our form of government and civilization. From the previous administration, we’ve inherited the idea that when we have elections, the losers do not acknowledge the right of the winner to govern.
And that raises the question of whether the election denier candidates believe what they are saying. We don’t think so. The best comparison is what many criminals must say to themselves when they are starting out: It’s a tough world, I have to survive, and the most important virtue is loyalty to my family and colleagues.
Now there is not only an erosion of trust in institutional systems such as our elections, but in the people’s trust for each other. We are confronted with lies in our daily lives. We can’t answer the phone most of the time, as the people on the other end perfect ways to separate us from our credit ratings, identities, reputations, and assets.
There are young men without prospects, armed, looking for crowds of people, and more and more of us avoiding crowds.
The point of this editorial is not so much to blame as it is to challenge us to rise to the occasion, to once again honor and uphold truths as opposed to falsehoods and lies. And, further, to open our eyes to the consequences of governments and leaders perpetuating untruths and disinformation.
That makes it sound like a few elections and court cases will do the trick. Please, it’s not like that. It will require a sustained effort over a long period of time; and here is where the Democrats are equally guilty of leaving us in this condition. Republicans will vote, campaign hard, show up at polling places and volunteer. Many Democrats don’t even vote. They have progressive opinions but don’t wish to dirty their hands with the day-to-day slog of campaigns. If it gets worse, and it will, they’d rather go gentrify Portugal.
How could it get worse? The Supreme Court may rule on the validity and scope of the theory called the independent state legislature doctrine. “It would give state legislatures independent power, not subject to review by state courts, to set election rules at odds with state constitutions, and to draw congressional maps.”
So, again, we ask, do you in fact see the harms in government lies? Do you recognize those lies for what they are? Do you buy into falsehoods, especially when propagated by the highest level of government such as the president of the United States?
Then we have the General Election coming in November. Is there anyone out there locally who could with a clean conscience throw shade on our elections and suggest they are rigged, corrupted, or tainted? No, because there’s no basis for such accusations.
There are millions of citizens who sincerely believe that the media are the enemy of the people. The Fourth Estate, whose job is to serve as a watchdog over government, has been vilified so effectively that the simple words “fake news” can derail any otherwise sane discussion or debate.
When crazies suggest there’s rampant voter fraud, and obviously without any basis, we should not only disregard them, but strip them of any standing. People who intentionally undermine such core American values are truly the enemies of the people, not the journalists who watchdog the government on our behalf.
Here in North Dakota where the Grand Old Party runs nearly everything, it’s time the Republicans abandon destructive falsehood narratives that undermine the American way, as imperfect as it is.
If elected officials cannot tell the truth, if they are incapable of separating themselves from the tsunami of lies trickling down from the top of their ranks, if they are unable to separate the wheat from the chaff, then they are unfit for the jobs they hold. People who don’t genuinely serve the people and the greater public good are this Republic’s true enemies.
Let’s stand with righteousness and honesty. That would help make America America again.
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