Your Vote Matters More Than You Think
October 31, 2018, updated November 1, 2018
This November, the foundational ideas at the core of our republic are at stake. If America is to remain the nation that draws people from all over the world because of the freedom to live one’s life with a minimum of governmental interference, this election is critical.
Suppose the issues that matter most to you are free and fair elections, civility, equal treatment under law, presumption of innocence, truth, economic prosperity, national unity and national sovereignty. You’ve seen those concepts come under attack since the last election.
Free and Fair Elections
American representative government rests on the foundation that our government servants will do the work voters elected them to do, and that if they fail in that task, we can replace them at the ballot box. When politicians are elected under false pretenses or use the power of government against their political enemies, the concept of a free society where government is the servant of the people – not their master – is undermined. If allowed to continue, the society loses confidence in the integrity of the electoral process, and the peacefulness of society disappears as formerly free citizens seek to regain a voice in their own governance in an increasingly totalitarian environment. Which brings us to …
It’s a simple concept, really, nothing more than the Golden Rule or the Law of Karma, if you prefer. Treat others as you would like to be treated. In politics, that translates into a concept that Thomas Jefferson – the author of the Declaration of Independence recognized as necessary to a peaceful society: Political disagreements should not destroy a friendship. It’s as simple as saying “We can agree to disagree,” but that cannot occur when one side regards the other as not just wrong or misinformed, but an evil that must be destroyed. When that happens, one side sees politics as a holy war and any tactic, no matter how un-American, becomes a justifiable necessity in order to win. That’s when the end to be achieved justifies any means taken to achieve it, and civility is dead.
Equal Treatment Under Law
One of the defining characteristics of the American Experiment in Representative Government is the idea that “all men are created equal.” In other words, the law applies equally to all people equally, regardless of external characteristics like gender, race, ethnicity or religion. The law applies equally to politicians. This is embodied in the Declaration of Independence’s rejection of the “Divine Right of Kings” to rule a nation, and the Declaration’s idea that a government derives its just power from the consent of the governed. Government is instituted for the protection of the God-given rights of the People. This is the core of American Exceptionalism, and was a radical concept at the time. For citizens to be equal under law, each individual must accept the responsibility for their own actions. Without that personal responsibility, an individual surrenders his freedom to the person or entity that controls his actions, and becomes a willing victim. Equal treatment under law – to be recognized as equal – rests on each person’s responsibility for his own actions. When some classes of people are “more equal” than others, being granted special privileges by government, the idea that “all men are created equal” dies, and elections become a contest of which politicians can promise more privileges to voters. A free society then degenerates into a democracy where equal rights are sacrificed on the altar of majority rule: The Tyranny of the Majority. This is the core of socialism, which always divides a country into the privileged classes, and the slaves to them. A society can value either equality before the law or democracy, but not both.
Presumption of Innocence
One of the basic tenets of American jurisprudence, indeed of Western Civilization, is that a person accused of a criminal act is innocent until proven guilty. There is a logical reason for this presumption of innocence: It is logically impossible to prove one did NOT do an act they are accused of. That is why accusers are required to prove their accusations. It is one of the things that differentiates the West from totalitarian governments in other places in the world where, for example, one is guilty of whatever the government accuses them of doing. Recent examples include Turkey and Pakistan where Pastor Andrew Brunson and Asia Bibi were recently released, though Pastor Brunson was found guilty of blasphemy and Asia Bibi was acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court after initially being found guilty of blasphemy and sitting on Pakistan’s death row since 2010. Guilt by accusation keeps the population subservient, lest they be accused unfairly and lose their reputation, their property, their livelihood, or even their life. Mob killings are commonplace in societies where there is no presumption of innocence, and the killers face no penalties for taking an accused individual’s life. They are merely doing the bidding of a government that does not respect human rights. It’s not a coincidence that in many of these societies women do not have the same rights as men, since males are the physically dominant gender and the presumption of innocence does not extend to women as it does to men. The presumption of innocence does not favor either gender, since in the West it is applied to any accused regardless of sex.
Truth is nothing more than factual accuracy. Truth is not dependent on one’s point of view, mental state, or who wins or loses on its exposure. Truth simply IS. The pursuit of truth has always been a key component of American jurisprudence, hence lying to a court or a legal proceeding is called perjury and is a criminal offense. The most catastrophic casualty of American politics today is truth, when politicians’ actions show clear evidence that truth matters less than who wins a political argument or office. In a society where truth no longer matters, can anything be just, fair, or equal?
A society that does not create wealth cannot endure as an independent entity. Eventually it will be taken over by one that does, such as the Romans conquering the Greeks after they refused to work with their hands. A government cannot borrow its way to prosperity any more than an individual can live on borrowed money without creating something of value to barter or sell to someone else at a profit. Hence, individuals making a profit is necessary to national economic prosperity. However it is not sufficient. Government creates nothing of value, it can only take by taxation from those that produce a profit, and therefore does not create wealth, it is a drain on wealth. Likewise a government that is fiscally unsound and causes its citizens to suffer massive inflation and poverty eventually becomes unable to defend itself against a hostile takeover, as happened to the Weimar Republic in Germany when Hitler used his “Master Race” program to create a National Socialist war machine. So individuals creating wealth is the definition of economic prosperity that preserves a nation. Without individuals creating profits for themselves that they can buy things with from other individuals creating things to sell at a profit, long-term economic prosperity is not possible, and a nation cannot long retain its sovereignty.
What unites a nation? National pride is required, but that means the citizenry need to hold a common idea of what the nation represents. In most countries, there is a common identity shared by the population, for example, a common religion, race or ethnic identity. America is the exception to that general rule, since we have always been a “melting pot” of people from all over the world searching for the same thing: The right to live our lives as we see fit with a minimum of government coercion and control, while according others the same right. The unifying factor of America has always been the love of individual liberty, and the desire to be free from governmental control. People come from all over the world for the opportunity to experience that kind of freedom, because everyone wants a better life, and they know in such conditions they have the opportunity to prosper. The biggest danger to national unity – and to reciprocal rights and individual liberty – is politicians that emphasize our immutable differences, since they are something that we cannot change. National unity is made possible in America only by reminding us what it is that created the country in the first place: Love of Individual Liberty and Minimal Governmental Control.
There are a number of things involved in a nation’s sovereignty, economic prosperity and national unity are two of the major factors. As mentioned above in the section on national unity, citizens that hold America’s future in their hands – voters – must honor the same values that created her: Love of Individual Liberty and Limited Government. To ensure that the population of a country has similar values, a nation must be able to control its borders, in other words, to only admit people of like mind into its population. In countries with homogenous populations in one identity trait or another (as mentioned above), this is easier than in a country like America which has always been a melting pot of people of all sorts of religions, races, etc. Every country has a test for who is entitled to full rights as citizens; since America is a creation of an idea rather than a physical trait, it is critical that citizens understand the idea that created America. A nation that cannot control its borders – particularly one founded on an idea rather than an identity – cannot long remain a nation.
If one is honest, one must draw a distinction between speech and action, and between freedom of speech and incitement to violence, as well as between allegation and fact. However, the emotion-arousing hyperbolic spin of the mainstream news media does not encourage an environment of thoughtful contemplation on these distinctions. Reasonable people can disagree on which side started the inflammatory speech, and in the light of political violent actions, the chicken or egg speech argument is moot. To differentiate speech from action, one must put emotion aside and become reason-oriented. Freedom of speech is protected, freedom of action is not. Unless both sides can find common ground in the logical position that actions are the responsibility of the actors, there is no possibility of reconciliation between opposing viewpoints. The next step in reconciliation is to agree that violence does not belong in the American political process, nor do threats and intimidation. When we can agree on that, it opens the door to rational discussion of ideas and policies instead of the character assassination and hatred so evident today.
America was created to be a place where opposing ideas can compete on their merits at the ballot box, not on which side can intimidate the other into silence. So which side in this election year has committed acts of violence against the other?
Democrat victims of violence include U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in 2010 by a paranoid schizophrenic with no political affiliation, and a number of prominent Democrats and the CNN studios in New York City who were mailed or delivered non-functioning bombs by Cesar Sayoc, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and repeat offender.
Republican victims of violence include U.S. Rep Steve Scalise and 3 others who were shot by a Bernie Sanders supporter at a charity baseball practice, FL Attorney General Pam Bondi and her husband, Turning Point USA founders Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens, who were surrounded by ANTIFA mobs and spit on and doused with water, and Ted Cruz and his wife who were hounded by mobs at a restaurant and in an airport. Related to the SCOTUS confirmation hearings for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh were rape threats against a staffer for Sen. Susan Collins, a leftist teacher in Minnesota who tweeted a call for Kavanaugh to be assassinated, and a gory beheading video was sent to Sen Cory Gardner’s wife prior to the Senator’s Kavanaugh vote. Former NSA Advisor Susan Rice’s son was assaulted at a pro-Kavanaugh rally at Stanford University. GOP candidates in California and Minnesota were assault victims; the candidate in California nearly stabbed with a switchblade. GOP offices in Wyoming and North Carolina were firebombed. ANTIFA vandalized a GOP office in New York. Bike lock strikes to the head were perpetrated at a pro-freedom rally in Rhode Island by an ANTIFA member, and in Berkeley, California by a community college professor.
This list leaves out the groundless character assassination carried out by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee against now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which went on for two weeks.
Clearly there has been more violence and intimidation aimed at Republicans than at Democrats.
When Democrats were targeted, Republican leaders decried the acts, and brought the perpetrators into custody.
When Republicans were targeted, Democrat leaders called for more of the same. Hillary Clinton stated “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” Remember Hillary, preserving American values are something most Americans stand for and care about, even though the Marxist/Socialists in the Democratic Party want to destroy them. Yet Republicans have always attempted to treat Democrats as “the loyal opposition” and with civility. Clinton even stated that “if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.” In other words, the violence will continue until the Democrats win.
This political season, voters have a critical choice to make that will determine the future character of future political contests.
Should we vote for Democrats that routinely incite violence and intimidation against Republicans, violate the rules of civility, disrespect the equal treatment under law, trash the presumption of innocence, disregard truth, espouse programs that take wealth from those that earn it, create national disunity by focusing discussion on things that divide us, and advocate opening our national borders to those that would destroy both the idea and the institutions of America? To me, a vote for any Democrat looks like a vote for mob rule.
Or should we vote for Republicans that refuse to return the hatred with equal vehemence, who provide equal treatment for accuser and accused, base determination of guilt or innocence on presumption of innocence and declare truth only by proof, create an environment where individuals can profit from their own initiative, remind Americans how we’re all human under the skin, and preserve American exceptionalism? To me, voting for Republicans looks like a vote to save Americans’ liberties from Marxist/Socialist chaos.
It’s your decision. You hold the future of America in your hands. Consider carefully; if you make the wrong decision there may be no opportunity to save America from totalitarianism.2