Monday, January 18, 2021

Republicans' Election Lies Are Causing Political Violence

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2021 at 2:41 PM

Qui tacet consentit. The ancient legal adage expresses a deep wisdom about the nature of law and politics: silence is consent. Remaining silent in response to an assertion is to accept that assertion

This is why the absurd lie that the Presidential election was stolen has become so powerfully established among Republican voters. Half of Republicans polled indicate they believe the election was stolen. Many on the right sincerely believe the big lie and are actively supporting political terror and sedition out of ignorance and socially-biased reasoning. That is terrible, but eminently fixable if Republican act responsibly.

The lie that this presidential election was stolen is the foundation and justification for the political violence we are experiencing. More violence and more death will result unless this lie is stopped.

Republicans daily and hypocritically call for unity, decry division, and deplore the violence, but refuse to denounce and debunk the lie that is causing all of it.

Merely deploring the violence inspired by the lie is not enough; the lie must be stopped and denounced. Yet many Republicans, including leaders here in Arizona such as Governor Ducey, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, and Senate President Karen Fann, have remained quiet about the lies. Republicans' failure to denounce the lies publicly, explicitly, and loudly are aiding and abetting the very terrorist violence they hypocritically deplore.

The Republicans of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors have been the most public and unequivocal in denouncing and debunking the lies. They deserve our praise and gratitude. Though Speaker Bowers did refuse to call a special session for the illegal purpose of overturning Arizona's Electoral Votes for President, he doesn't get too much credit for quietly refusing to break the law and disenfranchise Arizona's electorate.

Many Republican leaders who know the election lie to be baseless have remained silent out of fear, and it must end.

Some Republicans are afraid to stand up to the lies because they fear violence from their own base. Not an irrational fear given the death threats and vitriol directed at those who do speak up for truth, but all the more reason they must do it.

Republicans rightly venerate and praise those who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom in our military. But now those same Republican civilians have a chance to stand on the front line of freedom and hazard all for the preservation of our democracy and security.

Republican leaders have the chance to be warriors for truth. All they need do is denounce the lie that is tearing apart their own party and undermining American democracy in a fundamentally more dangerous and permanent way that any foreign adversary ever could. Yet too many refuse to do so.

British actor David Niven, who volunteered for active combat duty in the darkest days of World War II, related an encounter with Churchill. Churchill said to him, "Young man, you did a fine thing to give up your film career to fight for your country. Mark you, had you not done so − it would have been despicable."

It will be a brave and honorable thing worthy of praise for influential Republicans to stand up for truth in the face of the very lies and misinformation which have become a source of identity and unity in their own faction, and not to do so is despicable cowardice and craven self-interest.

Too many Republican Party's leaders know that the stolen election allegation is a lie, and yet remain silent. That is contemptible and must stop.

But how to describe those Republican leaders who are actively promoting and repeating and defending that lie? They are engaged in and inciting sedition against our democracy. That is beyond contemptible. The punishment should be ostracism and civic death. They should be driven from any position of public trust or influence.

We at live and work in Arizona, and our audience is primarily Arizonans, so we have a responsibility to shine the light of truth on Arizona's politics. Some Republican leaders here in Arizona are exploiting and promoting the lie to inspire more violence and intimidate their rivals and opponents. They are promoting the lie to enhance their own power and undermine our democratic tradition.

Let's name the names (not an exhaustive list, just the worst, most blatant offenders, their names below are linked to clear evidence of their promotion of the election lies):

These leaders are seditionists and traitors. They are enemies of democracy, and thus of all Americans. They are all directly telling the lies about the election that are stoking and justifying violence.

Their careers in any political leadership capacity must be ended by Arizonans who value democracy. Arizona's responsible political leaders must not only denounce the election lie, but punish and denounce those who promote it. Governor Ducey, Speaker Bowers, and President Fann must affirmatively act to debunk the lie and discipline those who are amplifying and exploiting the lie.

But the press must also actually press every Republican in public life to denounce and repudiate the election lie. No policy or event matters more right now.

No Republican leader should be allowed to appear in public or address the public without a demand by the press to first denounce the election lie, as a prerequisite. Failure to do so should be the only story about that appearance, address, or event that matters. The press cannot allow it to become the new normal in our democracy to go about politics as usual while abetting those lies that are killing democracy, and killing Americans.

There must now be a clear division in our politics, not between left and right, but between those who stand for truth and those who use lies to maintain their power, mislead our citizens, and destroy the foundations of our Republic.

We need to know clearly who stands with the lie, so they may be destroyed before they destroy democracy. Democrats, and all American patriots, want unity and peace, but we will only stand together with those who stand beside the truth.

About The Author

Bryan, Michael

Michael is a retired attorney living in Tucson with his wife Lauren. Michael founded as the Howard Dean presidential campaign blog for Arizona in 2003, and has been blogging ever since. In 2008, Michael remade BlogForArizona into a collaborative project. Michael now is but one of the contributors...
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