I really dislike weighing in on national politics. In today’s Believe-Whatever-the-Hell-You-Wanna-Believe landscape, it seems pointless.
Like debating whether purple is the best color.
But the tragic circus that has become of the usually routine process of ushering in a duly elected president of this country has gone too far. And now that a woman who claims to represent me, 3rd Congressional District Representative Lauren Boebert, has seemingly joined the growing ranks of the Flat Earth society I just can’t stand it any longer.
Trump lost. By a wide margin. Fair and square. Get over it.
Don’t take my word for it. Ask about 60 courts of law, including the Supreme one.
Ask U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
Ask all 10 living former Secretaries of Defense, including Dick Cheney.
Ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Ask all 50 elected Secretaries of State in the U.S., many of them Republican.
Ask the thousands upon thousands of county clerks and other election officials, who are the ones on the frontlines of administering this most fundamental and sacred tenet of democracy that is voting.
Claims of widespread fraud, manipulation and cheating in the presidential election have been levied before all of the aforementioned organizations and individuals by the Trump administration and its blindly adherent support group, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (remember him, Gunnison County?).
The rule of law, applied here, has been unequivocal: No such evidence exists. Joe Biden won a free and fair election for U.S. President.
Apparently for Boebert, the thousands who gathered at our nation’s capital on Wednesday turning violent in the name of “stop the steal” and millions of others, the rule of law doesn’t apply to this election, even when their leader threatened prosecution to election officials in Georgia if they didn’t “find” votes for him.
Now, I’m no historian. But doesn’t this make Richard Nixon’s little eavesdropping episode at Watergate seem like child’s play?
“The American people deserve a secure and fair election,” Boebert said in a press release. “Unfortunately, the 2020 election was neither of those things.”
Really? If a lie is repeated often enough — “We won this election” — does that make it real?
I went to our Gunnison County election officials this week to talk about these issues. Both County Clerk Kathy Simillion and head elections official Diane Folowell were happy to talk about the processes, safeguards and procedures that are ensured in Colorado’s voting system. But they were also quick to point out that they don’t speak for how things go in other states.
“I can answer for Gunnison County,” Simillion said. “Our results are accurate.”
“There are so many things you see on TV and read about from other states that just make me shake my head and say, ‘I don’t know how that would happen;” Folowell added.
Perhaps, as a preponderance of the evidence suggests, because they didn’t.
I ran through a dozen scenarios with these two election experts. The security of mail ballots and drop boxes. Ineligible voters. Dead voters. More votes being cast than the number of a precinct’s registered voters.
At least for here, and across Colorado, they had answers galore to counter every conspiracy theory I could muster.
“I love it when people ask me to explain the election system,” Folowell said, “because it’s so intricate and secure and transparent.”
Thankfully, not all Republicans subscribe to the Gospel According to Donald. In Colorado, U.S. Representative Ken Buck is bucking that trend.
“We have sworn an oath to promote the Constitution above our policy goals,” Buck wrote in a joint statement with other congressional Republicans, in which they made it known they did not plan to protest the Electoral College results.
I have a difficult time buying that any of the congressional leaders who made objections to Wednesday’s official presidential tally truly believe the books were cooked in this election and that the true outcome favored Trump. It’s all a show and a ploy for future political favor.
But at what cost?
Boebert, the gun-toting, saloon owning, GED-earning upstart from Rifle, can make any legislative proposals she wishes, and she won’t hear a word from me. Assault weapons for all. Oil drilling in the Black Canyon, you name it. But she can’t try to delegitimize the will of American voters and the foundation of democracy itself without me jumping into a swamp from which I prefer to steer clear.
It really all boils down to simple advice that every good mother tells her children: Play fair and don’t be a sore loser.
Sadly, that’s a lesson too many today, on both sides of the political aisle, seem to never have learned.
(Chris Dickey can be reached at 970.641.1414 or publisher@ gunnisontimes.com.)