A call to action
Last updated 1/19/2022 at Noon
To quote a favorite songwriter: “You don’t know what you got til it’s gone.”
This message is a call to action. As bad as January 6, 2021 was, our democracy is in more danger today than a year ago. That was a day of physical chaos and coordinated internal pressure trying to overpower democracy. It was an attempt to reject our system of governance by the force of violent extremists and a core group of treasonous masterminds. They planned to run out the clock before Congress could certify the election, have Congress reject the certification process, and replace slates of state electors with people of their choosing.
Thankfully, it failed.
But what is happening now, and what is unprecedented in our nation, is a more systematic takedown of democratic rules by one of the political parties. The Grand Old Party is ditching democracy to gain and keep power. What is happening now is a slow-boiling insurgency that, unless something changes, will culminate this coming November. This is not hyperbole; it is fact: The November 2022 election will determine if American democracy survives or not.
As a result of misinformation (simply wrong) and disinformation (intentionally misleading; a.k.a. “The Big Lie”), 19 state legislatures (all GOP-dominated) passed 33 laws in 2021 that tilt the playing field toward their own control of the U.S. House, Senate, and White House in future national elections. This means that who can vote, who controls the counting of the votes, and who the election officials are is controlled by the majority party in the 19 states. Election jobs that have always been nonpartisan can now be replaced with sycophants who have no problem with tossing validly cast ballots.
These plots would not have to work in all 19 states to win the White House. We can look to the last two presidential elections: In 2016, Donald Trump’s Electoral College win was a result of only about 70,000 more votes for him over Hillary Clinton across only three States, and in 2020, Joe Biden’s Electoral College win was a result of only about 40,000 votes for him over Trump across only three states.
Representative Cliff Bentz has been adhering to The Big Lie, since he decided he knew more about the Pennsylvania election system than state and federal attorneys in Pennsylvania.
Bentz voted not to accept the Pennsylvania electoral college votes that Biden won, even after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined that the results were in compliance with the Constitution, as did the Trump-appointed federal judges, and the Republican Pennsylvania auditor general! They all determined that all laws were upheld, including the bipartisan bill that reformed Pennsylvania’s election process and introduced vote-by-mail to the state.
How would that sit with Oregonians if a Pennsylvania congressman decided not to accept our votes?
Bentz’s incorrect claim is part of what is fueling extremist public sentiments and the current GOP-led insurgency. He is feeding the fire of the disinformation that the 2020 election was not fair. By not admitting his mistake, Bentz is part of the current assault on the constitutional process, rather than being a protector of democracy.
We the People must act.
Democracy only works when enough people thoughtfully participate.
We lovers of civility and democracy must make sure everyone we know is paying attention and is ready to act with their voice and their vote.
We need to understand the tactics and techniques of misinformation and disinformation and teach our gullible neighbors and friends and family how those tactics worked to trick them into thinking the 2020 election was not fair.
People of all parties and with no party affiliation will need to stop this future coup attempt, by securing federal voting rights laws that outlaw the authoritarian-style state voting laws.
We can’t negotiate policy issues we care about and, yes, disagree about, if American governance flips to authoritarianism.
In other countries that once had democracies, they unraveled slowly… and then quickly…and then it was too late.
Pay attention, speak out, and vote. Learn what the tactics of misinformation and disinformation are and let each other know.