IN OUR VIEW
by The Beacon
In the wake of major events of national and even global significance, we are under no illusions that an editorial in a small-town newspaper is of any great importance. Still, we feel there may be value in providing some measure of reassurance to those in our community that may need to hear voices, and hopefully not just our own, saying what is acceptable, what is not, what we stand for, and what we do not.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah gave a notable summary of the current situation in his speech on January 6, after the terrible events of the day. “The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President’s own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.”
To provide just one example, Wisconsin federal judge Brett H. Ludwig, appointed by President Trump, said in his ruling “This is an extraordinary case. A sitting president who did not prevail in his bid for reelection has asked for federal court help in setting aside the popular vote based on disputed issues of election administration, issues he plainly could have raised before the vote occurred. This Court has allowed plaintiff the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits. In his reply brief, plaintiff “asks that the Rule of Law be followed.” (Pl. Br., ECF No. 109.) It has been.”
On October 20, 2020, The Beacon published our op-ed which simply stated four bedrock American principles:
1) All ballots will be counted according to law
2) The people will decide
3) Transfers of power are peaceful
4) No one is above the law
There is an extreme irony in the violent events of January 6 at the U.S. Capitol. After months of disinformation about the election, led by the president, many people have come to incorrectly believe that there was a violation of the first principle — that all ballots will be counted according to law. This led them to falsely believe that there was a violation of the second principle — that the people themselves will decide the results of the election, not some illegitimate co-conspirators. These false beliefs led to a shocking violation of the third principle on January 6, that transfers of power are peaceful, by the same people who believe, again, incorrectly, that they are coming to the defense of the first two principles. And now we are watching how the fourth principle, that no one is above the law, will apply for all concerned.
In other words, a false belief has been deliberately cultivated by cynical and irresponsible politicians that fraudulent ballots or ballot counting determined the result of the presidential election. In this imaginary dark world, some sort of conspiracy decided the election rather than the people. As such a conspiracy would be a complete breakdown in the rule of law concerning elections, angry people justified their own lawless actions in laying siege to the U.S. Capitol with the misguided idea they were restoring, not destroying, democracy.
All of this is, of course, upside down. The truth is, there was no fraud beyond a handful of isolated cases. There was no conspiracy to steal votes with rigged election machines. Nothing wicked or criminal occurred which changed the election results in any state, much less shifted the entire electoral college result. The people therefore have decided, and Joe Biden won a free and fair election.
The difficulty now concerns the remedy for false beliefs. We cannot resign ourselves to the idea that millions of Americans have been irreversibly convinced that 2+2=5.
We must give truth a chance. This requires a commitment to the truth by society at large in ways large and small. It is a simple task, really, but one that requires a measure of courage to persist in the face of efforts to bully the truth into submission. The consequences of lacking this commitment were laid bare on January 6. The truth is now an urgent matter of national security.