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THOMPSON: Democracy is alive in America

 


OPINION


Enough voters showed up three weeks ago to ensure American Democracy for at least another two years. Patriotic Americans - mostly Democrats and Independents - did their part and now it’s time for Congress to do its part.

The Electoral Count Act - a 135-year-old ambiguous law - gave Donald Trump and 147 Republican co-conspirators in Congress all they needed to claim they could overturn the will of the voters in 2020. That exploitation - based on the Act’s vague, often esoteric language - led directly to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection…and had it been successful, fascism would have found America.

The current Congress needs to clarify the wording of the Electoral Count Act before the legislative session ends on Ja. 3. Why? Because Republicans - being Republicans - will have a razor-thin margin of control of the House of Representatives next year…and would block any changes. Once again, the stage would be set for them to fraudulently claim the presidential election in 2024 was stolen.

Maybe Republicans could launch another insurrection. As Spanish philosopher George Santayana cautioned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I agree more with humorist Mark Twain, who said: “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.”

Actually, the House passed a Bill cleaning up some of the Electoral Count Act language last Summer, and the Senate has introduced a separate Bill…but the two could - and should - be reconciled and passed. Either Bill or a compromise law would prevent Trump and his co-conspirator Republicans from overturning a valid election and corrupting the will of the people.

If you remember, all it took after the 2020 election was one Senator and one House member to object to the Electoral College Vote. Further, Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced meritless objections simply to slow the process.

New legislation would require one-fifth of the members of both the House and Senate to go on the record before an objection could be lodged against the Electoral College votes. Any grounds for objections would be spelled out precisely...with little left to interpretation.

Also, the reform bills would clarify the vice president’s role in counting Electoral College votes …a strictly ministerial job…unlike Trump’s assertion that Vice President Mike Pence had authority to either throw out electoral votes or accept a slate different from the one a state certified.

And lest forgotten, 220 Republicans that ran for various state and federal positions this past election doubted the 2020 election results…30 outright denied the results. The good news is 120 were defeated…the bad news is 100 are now House Representatives, Attorneys General, one Secretary of State and state legislators.

Only in completely “Red” states like Indiana and Ohio did extremist Republicans win…Diego Morales as Secretary of State in Indiana and J.D. Vance as Senator in Ohio. Increasingly, America’s heartland is the breeding ground for extremist Republicans…which speaks volumes about not just the quality of candidates…but about voters…people who live in those states.

The new bills force state and local officials to count votes according to the state laws in place on Election Day…and doesn’t allow them to change the results after the fact simply because their Party didn’t win. Disputes over votes are settled exclusively by courts, where judges or panels of judges have the final say.

America can’t leave open any loopholes in the way it governs anymore…there are too many Republicans who simply want to destroy American Democracy.

While they’re at it, Democrats should eliminate the debt ceiling…it is beyond stupid to vote to fund the government after that government has already passed legislation that considered the necessary funding for those laws.

Don’t think that Republicans won’t withhold consent though - threatening already passed legislation - that could lead to a global financial crisis. They did it in 2011…costing taxpayers $1.3 billion because of increasing interest rates…and delaying recovery from the 2008 Wall Street debacle. A pity America’s Republican voters are either ignorant of such malfeasance…or simply don’t mind wasting dollars to foil Democrats.

Finally, don’t wait for Republicans to do anything about immigration other than falsely complain that illegals are raping and killing white Americans. Dems should use their clout to at least improve the process by which asylum seekers enter the country…let those truly persecuted in…and keep those falsely claiming persecution out.

Spend the money to get a thousand more Asylum Officers to interview applicants…and give them the resources they need because you can’t say border security is critical in one breath…and say it’s too expensive in the next.

America has rarely been more divided - the Civil War notably - and like then…whether you love or hate the nation’s direction most likely determines your political sway…and vice versa.

Democracy is alive in America. It’s time for Congress to take steps that will make future threats by Republicans against Democracy and the aspirational America glowingly cited in the Constitution and Bill of Rights…an impossibility.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.


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