A Time For Vigilance

(Photo: DonkeyHotey/cc/flickr)

Perhaps vigilance and dissent, the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy, have never been more crucial than at this perilous juncture in American history. Such activism will require unity and dedication if we are to counter the real and serious threat to human rights and progressive values posed by the Trump Administration and a conservative Republican Congress. But in addition to taking to the streets and making our voices heard, we must learn from the past and look to the future to ensure that the mistakes which resulted in a Trump presidency are never repeated.

While many factors probably contributed to the unexpected victory of Donald Trump, much of the blame has been attributed to the alleged hacks by the Russians and the release of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) and Clinton campaign officials’ emails by Wikileaks. As a consequence, allegations have been made that our democracy has been sabotaged by a malicious foreign power, a serious charge for sure, perhaps even an existential threat that should concern every American. As there is absolutely no evidence, however, that the Russians or anyone else hacked voting machines or altered voting technology, perhaps “sabotage” is a dangerous exaggeration that has unleashed a bipartisan frenzy regarding America’s appropriate retaliatory response to this “act of war.” I think even “influencing the election,” though less provocative perhaps, still exaggerates the impact of the hacking and email release. How we describe these “leaks” is not just semantics. Language is important, as it affects, perhaps even determines, how we move forward. Such inflammatory rhetoric has real world consequences as it further degrades our relationship with Russia, increases tension, and ushers in a new era of cold war (or worse). Most importantly, creating fear and paranoia of Russian intent distracts from a legitimate, meaningful inquiry into how such an unqualified, arrogant, narcissist now occupies the White House.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on foreign cyber security threats, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper affirmed that the intelligence community has grown more “resolute” in its assessment that Russian intelligence was involved in the hacks aimed at the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. What is, however, of greater relevance to our current predicament and to the integrity of our electoral process is, unfortunately, hardly being discussed amidst the enthusiasm of bipartisan Russian fear mongering. That is, did the release of the emails affect the outcome of the election by turning voters against Hillary Clinton and giving the presidency to a Russian sycophant; and if so how?

Since, as we’ve been told, all the “deplorables” in this country were already committed to Donald Trump, if the information allegedly hacked by the Russians and released by Wikileaks truly impacted the election, allowed Trump to win the electoral college, then it must have been by influencing the “non deplorables,” the sane and reasonable Americans, not to vote for Hillary Clinton. Certainly this information, little if any of which has yet to be adequately refuted, would not have been available were it not for the Russians and Wikileaks, but what requires clarification is how providing relevant information to voters poses a threat to our democracy. Consequently, if the hacked emails did in fact influence the outcome of the election, Trump’s victory must be attributed not to Putin, the Russian hackers, Wikileaks, or to ignorance, racism, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia, but to the subsequent disgust and contempt of reasonable voters for the misconduct documented in the emails of the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Conduct that corrupted our electoral process and marginalized Bernie Sanders, thereby ensuring that Hillary Clinton receive her party’s nomination for president. Conduct that arguably cost the Democrats the election, and gave America and the world Donald Trump.

The Main Stream Media (MSM), the all important 4th estate, much of which supported the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, for all intents and purposes, ignored the election tampering brought to light by Wikileaks choosing rather to perpetuate the distraction of Russian interference. As an informed citizenry is, after all, necessary for a vibrant, well functioning democracy, American voters have a right to know ALL information relevant to determining for whom they will cast their ballot. The information released by Wikileaks, then, served to augment the enthusiastic reporting of the MSM of Trump’s many, many negatives. By informing the voting public about the election tampering, information that the MSM and our government lacked or refused to share, perhaps Putin, the Russians, if in fact they were behind the hacks, and Wikileaks in releasing it, deserve praise for strengthening rather than condemnation for sabotaging our democracy.

These observations in no way give Donald Trump credibility, undermine concern for the dire situation this country and the world faces as a consequence of his Presidency, or diminish the importance of demonstration and dissent. But as we struggle against the attacks on our civil liberties and progressive values by a Trump Administration, we must learn from past mistakes and ensure that this fiasco never be repeated. We must not be silenced or blinded to the corruption of those, no matter their party affiliation, race, or gender, who, in their lust for power, sabotage our democracy, undermine our electoral process, and, to distract from the criminality of their unscrupulous behavior, perpetuate a “wag the dog” scenario that brings this country and the world to the brink of nuclear war.

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  1. Guess Harold Call responding in the FB comments never made it to actually reading the article.
    He assumed it was an other Trump bashing article, almost can’t blame him for it. But going by assumptions is always risky, and commenting without reading I would also discourage.

  2. And I though the time for vigilance comes when an aluminum tube goes through much thicker steel column as a knife through the butter. Or, when an unexplainable jump of “man-made” crazy people committing various violent crimes (individually or in groups), perfectly coincides with attempts of some other (really crazy !) people to achieve their goals. Or, when the 4-th estate (MSM) turns into a pocket instrument for circus-style persuasions, with certified clowns and magicians on TV-screens/newspapers making viewers/readers not to believe their own eyes. Or, … the list is long. And yes, there’s a chance that tomorrow could be even worse than today. But if it happens, it’d be not because the vigilance was needed starting as of now.

  3. It isn’t just the physical infrastructure of our country that needs reconstruction. Our moral innerstructire is crumbling at the foundation, due to the incessant attacks over the past 100 years from Zionist interests.

  4. Such a reaction.

    When the Israeli’s have done the same 10 million times over, with much more serious implications, and are still at it. They have committed an “Act of War” where is the OUTRAGE, and action to stop it???

    We all know why!

  5. When or if The Pres decides to hand out some medals he ought award one to Debbie Wasserman Shultz for she, more than any other one person, is most responsible for Mr. Trumps victory.

  6. Activism and dissent should involve voting for someone else than Democrat or Republican. Especially on the governor/senator level. That could change perspective and narrative on the long run. As well as raise voices against wars and conscriptions on all levels.

    • Or a turnout with folks stating a lack of confidence in the leadership.

      Still, Trump might not be as bad as VT seem to fear. Weren’t you guys pretty relaxed about him running ? I recall several fairly positive articles on him !

  7. Historically the average citizen has been left out of the loop when it comes to verifying the validity of voter registration lists or the validity of election ballots throughout the nation. For example, just try to discover an accurate figure for the number of registered voters in your own district. You will find this is not a simple task. The computer age should be used to provide ordinary citizens or groups of them all the information necessary to independently verify the veracity of election ballots anywhere in the country . Some sort of coded system would be necessary to protect privacy although I would be in favor of total openness and abandon privacy. However due to the ease of fraud, all electronic computer ballots must be banned in favor of the old paper ballots. Copies of the paper ballots must be made with all kept permanently and made available to any members of the public to verify their veracity anytime later. If significant fraud is exposed this could be used to overturn any election results. Citizens would love the opportunity to check all these results for free, but it is obvious the powers that be fear this citizen power and have worked for decades or more to prevent it from happening.

    • Why is an accurate list of registered voters important? Because this would permit any citizen to check the voter rolls before the NEXT election for veracity instead of after an election has happened when pressure is on to accept the results right or wrong. If any member of the rolls can be documented to be fraudulent or wrong, the officials can be expected to remove them immediately. Also many voters are snowed by the basic way our elections work at a fundamental level. The large number of voters may confuse the issues. Our system is one of plurality rule, not majority rule. For example in most states if one registered voter shows up and votes for a candidate or tax increase and no one shows up to vote against, the candidate “wins” or the tax increase “passes”! This is not majority rule which would require a majority of the voters to approve either outcome. Often a majority of the voters do not even show up at the polls let alone elect anyone. This is insidious minority rule not majority rule. All abstentions are flushed down the toilet. This is totally wrong and corrupt. No one should be “elected” or ballot issue “passed” unless and until a majority say so period.

    • Imagine the local legislative body where you live from your city council to your county government to your state legislature. Suppose only one person showed up at any of these bodies and did business. How would you like that? Well this is exactly how our totally plurality rule elections are designed totally for the selfish benefit of seating a government regardless of how small the tiny minority was which “seated” it. Government does not like uncertainty regardless of how unrepresentative an election was. Well I say that is just too bad. Let government fall apart unless and until a majority decide to vote and make a decision. Until they do no decision is justified at all. Abstention is just as fundamental a right as voting for or against. Normally if enough voters abstain they can prevent an outcome in a legislative body. But our corrupt election laws by pass this outcome in order for the convenience of government. This is corrupt, wrong and should be illegal. No one should be elected and no tax increase “passed” unless and until a majority of the registered voters say so period.

  8. Why would millions of people who voted for Trump, allow those whom would have preferred the agenda to continue towards a real life of servitude, allow those like your good self to be allowed to change the system so that another Trump could never be elected. Can you hear what you are suggesting? Are you frightened in case Trump succeeds? The election of Trump has most certainly created concern amongst the boys on Veterans Today and they refuse to give a straight answer when questioned, they instead try to infer that they understand things which must remain secret, so you will have to take our word for it and come to hate Trump. I wont expect this comment to be posted as I am continually locked out they have come to hate criticism in all its forms on this site.

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