By JIM CAGNEY
I voted for Joe Biden. I have my
reasons. For one, I’m a fiscal conservative and believe the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is a time bomb. After inheriting a strong economy, the current administration threw a debt party. There is no historical precedent for the government to intentionally take on significant debt in an era of relative prosperity. It’s irresponsible. That’s what I think, but I acknowledge that others may disagree. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and in our country the vote serves as the ultimate dispute resolution process.
But then on Christmas morning, I discover my congressional representative wants to take away my vote, by objecting to the results of the presidential election when the Electoral College votes are counted in Congress on Jan. 6.
I’ll suggest Lauren Boebert doesn’t know enough about what happened in election swing states to challenge the results. Regardless, Ms. Boebert apparently believes, with a spectacular lack of supporting information, that she has what it takes to take my vote away.
She doesn’t. I’ve been listening to allegations of voter fraud for almost two months now, and they’re consistently anchored to testimony like, “I have a friend who knows a guy who said he was there when ballots were thrown in the Detroit River.” Appropriate burden of proof, sufficient to take away my vote, has not been presented.
Regardless, Ms. Boebert divisively plays to her base. Biden will be inaugurated. But it’s worth pondering what would happen if these efforts to reverse the election succeeded. We are, after all, talking about destroying our democracy by undermining our sacred right to vote. Does it ever get more serious than this?
Do the people trying reverse the presidential election think the 81,281,888 Biden voters will simply decide the other folks should be declared the winner because they want it more?
I’m thinking not. It is the Biden voters who actually have the certified vote counts in the disputed swing states. Before us is a wind of change wherein leadership in our country comes not from voting, but a contest of who can draw the most aggressive set of supporters. Ominously, there is no reason to believe the winner of such a contest will voluntarily give up power, after securing it from that process.
I have a neighbor who worked for the State Department specializing in the Middle East. When I asked him for his perspective on the Syrian Civil War, he talked about the associated factions, and said that if the Baathist Syrian government loses power, they lose everything. He said they’ll fight to their last dying day, because if they lose, their lives won’t be worth living. It seems self-evident that a winner-take-all leadership transition process is fraught with horrific situations, where innocent people are destroyed.
Over the years, I’ve voted for a lot of candidates that lost. But it never occurred to me that I’d benefit from abandoning our democracy, by muscling my defeated candidate into power with a mandate to disregard elections. Doing so is a critical first step in destabilizing our democracy, and paving the way for an emerging dictator to take control.
Dictators control the media and access to information. They seize bank accounts and businesses. They jail political opponents. No self-respecting dictator would honor everyone’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. That critical category is reserved for loyalists.
A person who assumes leadership with political muscle, must assume there are others out there plotting the same. Consequently, dictators aggressively consolidate power. Emerging rivals must be suppressed. Loyalists must be rewarded. Dictators surround themselves with loyalists who pander to dictators instead of providing truthful advice. Bad decisions follow. There are many scenarios, but ruined economies, lost wars, and bloody revolutions are a common product of absolute power. We don’t want to go there.
Recently it looks like our democracy has withstood the storm, but suddenly it looks very vulnerable. I’d like to keep our democracy, and I’d appreciate it if my elected representative in Congress did too.
Jim Cagney is a former BLM employee in Wyoming and Colorado. He ended his BLM career as the district manager for northwest Colorado and currently lives in Grand Junction.