Democracy Prevails

Democracy Prevails

A week ago, Wednesday, Jan. 6, was a day of trauma for our country. We watched in horror as an angry mob broke through barriers and went on a rampage through the halls of our nation’s capitol building, attempting to disrupt Congress’s certification of the results of the presidential election.

Even though we have what is considered the world’s foremost democracy that is a beacon for other countries to follow, democracies, by their very nature, are fragile. A democracy depends on the faith and good will of its people. Our democracy is imperiled when people lose faith in our democratic institutions

The challenge to the results of the presidential election by our incumbent president caused a great many people to lose faith in our most cherished democratic institution of holding free and fair elections. The ill will that has resulted has not abated, in spite of the numerous legal challenges to the election that have been found to be lacking in merit.

In the hours after the chaos in the capital had been brought under control, our Congressman Ben Cline and 146 other Republican members of Congress voted against certifying the Electoral College’s vote tally. They objected to the election results from several swing states that Joe Biden certainly won. Some 60 legal challenges to those results, decided by judges appointed by Republicans and Democrats, were uniformly rejected. The head of the federal agency tasked with election security, Christopher Krebs, characterized the 2020 election as “the most secure in history.”

So, what could have been the motive of those GOP members of Congress? Bottom line – overturning the legitimate elections held in those states, and by design, fraudulently returning Donald Trump to a second term as president.

But, Trump did not win the 2020 election. He didn’t come close. Ironically, the Biden-Harris ticket got the same margin of Electoral College victory as the Trump-Pence ticket did in 2016.

So, faced with a devastating loss, the Trump campaign decided to just gin up a narrative that the election was “stolen.” They tried to claim all sorts of election irregularities – except all the irregularities they claimed had no basis in fact.

The American Bar Association’s ethics rules, particularly Rule 3.1, states in part, “A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.” Basically, this says that statements by a lawyer must have a basis in fact, must not be frivolous, and must make a good faith argument. Does this apply only when an attorney is in court? We’re don’t claim to be experts in legal ethics, but it would seem that casting a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives based upon known untruths comes pretty close to being unethical. It’s certainly political malpractice.

A wing of the GOP has sunk to the level of venality in defense of a dishonest leader that must have such notable Republicans as Caldwell Butler, John Dalton and Ronald Reagan spinning in their graves. The fact that a percentage of the electorate believes that the 2020 election was stolen means little when it’s obvious that that belief stems from a concerted campaign of misinformation.

This country needs a viable conservative party to stand for limited government, fiscal and personal responsibility, and an America that takes its role in world affairs seriously. We hope there are Republicans out there that will move their party in that direction. Perhaps they will decide to split off and form a new party, just as the GOP grew out of the ruin of the Whig party in the 1850s.

We can take heart in the fact that the angry mob failed in its efforts to overturn the results of the election. Once the halls of Congress were cleared of the perpetrators of the assault on our capitol, our elected representatives resumed their certification of the electoral results. Biden was certified the winner, albeit with objections from a majority of House Republicans. In the end, democracy prevailed.

We are a nation of laws. There are legal avenues that were pursued when the allegations of voter fraud were made. The courts have ruled. The people have spoken. Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States and will be duly sworn in a week from today, Wednesday, Jan. 20.

It is our hope that everyone can come together and accept the results and wish the president-elect and his incoming administration success as they confront our country’s numerous difficulties. Republicans and Democrats alike must join forces to present a united front as we try to overcome these problems.

The News-Gazette

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