|Where are we going? Is that light up ahead growing dim?|
A new standard operating procedure has emerged in the Republican Party: that of contesting results of what all know to have been legitimate political elections. If, that is, the Republican candidate fails to win.
If a Democrat is elected to Congress, for instance, state election results are challenged, even where the sitting Governor and election officials are themselves Republicans. Lawsuits are filed, recounts demanded. No evidence of fraud is necessary. It is enough for a Republican to lose a political race for the party to spring into action, claiming suspicion of fraud, where said suspicion comes most often from baseless rumors claimants have themselves disseminated. (We all know the originator of this vicious practice, so there is no need to mention his name.) Indeed, such challenges are planned in advance of elections, contingent upon the results.
Nor are partisan grievances confined to legal challenges. Ordinary voting citizens, stirred up by their party’s public statements and shenanigans, first mutter and then shout. Election officials receive threats, and across the country many of these honest, hard-working, experienced overseers of the democratic process are resigning. Some fear for their lives. Or fear a minor, innocent, technical error could result in crushing personal debt under new state laws. Others have simply had enough.
It’s hard not to see this loathesome practice as a long-range strategy aiming to put an end to free elections in the United States of America.
How anyone can remain loyal to a party behaving so reprehensibly and talk about its “principles” is way beyond me. My parents’ Republican party has turned away from principle, from conscience, from decency, and from the American way of life. If you couldn’t see it from the way the Speaker of the House treated President Obama, what do you say now, those of you who continue to call yourselves “conservative”? And please explain to me how undermining the democratic bedrock of our country – one citizen, one vote, all to be fairly counted – fits into any conservative agenda worthy of the name?
Moreover, hideous as this new political reality is, it doesn't stop at our shores. Would-be dictators and tyrants around the world are taking a tip from the new American playbook. Once again, we are leading the world -- this time, in a nightmare direction. Sometimes the light at the end of a tunnel is an oncoming, high-speed train.