Elections, Hope, and Revolution

Free and fair elections are a vaccine against revolution.

One of the more startling aspects of the last few decades has been finding out just how much Americans will put up with.

In 1980 would anyone have expected that Americans would willingly - sullenly, but willingly - tolerate watching their loved ones be molested and manhandled at airports?  But they do.  Everyone hates the TSA but nobody, not even politicians, is willing to do anything about it.

In 1980, would it have been possible to seriously put forward George Orwell's book 1984 as being an accurate description of the forthcoming American police state?  No, 1984 was a description of the "evil empire" of Communist Russia, which fell less than ten years later.

Yet, while the tortures and direct oppression Orwell described are not commonly found within the borders of the United States, or at least not in the view of the MSM, the apparatus of overwhelming official surveillance most certainly is.  It looks like the NSA might actually have more visibility into the lives of each and every American citizen than Big Brother did into his Oceanian subjects, simply because the available technology is so much better.

We could go on and talk about tax rates - our Founders revolted over tax rates around 15%, whereas those Americans who do pay taxes frequently pay two to three times that when you include all taxes and all levels of government.  We could talk about freedom of religion - could Americans of even twenty years ago imagine a Federal government that is in court against the Little Sisters of the Poor - Catholic nuns who devote their lives to taking care of the poor and disabled - to force them to allow abortions to be provided on their behalf?

We could talk about many things, but what's the point?  Some days it looks as if there is nothing that would actually bring the bulk of the American people into the streets to demand wholesale replacement of their rulers, as we have seen almost everywhere else in the world.  Are we really that fat, dumb, and happy?

Yes we are, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.  The genius of our Founders gave us a powerful antidote to any temptation to armed revolution: elections.

Free, Fair, and Peaceful

But, you may say, lots of places have elections, and they still have revolutions.  That's true, but virtually everywhere there has been mass protests leading to the overthrow of the government, the most recent election was commonly viewed as rigged, or the duly elected officials tried to change the rules they'd been elected under.

For example, Ukraine is currently undergoing a revolution against a duly-elected leader, Viktor Yanukovych.  President Yanukovych was indeed elected in 2010 in a more or less free and fair vote.  However, shortly after he took office, a court struck down several constitutional amendments dating from 2004 that severely limited presidential power.  In effect, Yanukovych was elected to a relatively weak presidency but through questionable jurisprudence wound up in an imperial presidency.

In business, that would be called a bait-and-switch: yes he was elected, but not to the powers he ended up with.  It's notable that just about the first thing the Ukrainian parliament did after Yanukovych's removal by popular action was to reinstate the 2004 amendments limiting and separating powers.

In America, conservatives often accuse Obama of stealing powers that are not his, and behaving like a dictator.  Certainly he has this tendency, and he's definitely broken new ground in presidential unilateralism, but he hasn't formally changed the rules.  The rules themselves are still there.

What's more, there is no sane reason to believe that Obama won't leave office on schedule in January 2017.  For all that the frothing pundits of the left thought Mr. Bush was going to somehow become a dictator, he peaceably handed over the reigns of power to Mr. Obama on time in 2009.  Mr. Obama will almost certainly do the same.

Which makes a big difference when it comes to fomenting revolution: If we as Americans are unhappy with our current government, we need wait no longer than 2017 to have a wholesale change.  We can entirely change the House of Representatives this very year, and a big chunk of the Senate; then at the 2016 elections we can change another chunk of the Senate and get a new president.  All we have to do is offer voters something better than they have, or more accurately, the hope of something better.

Now, you may think that's unlikely, and you're probably right.  But if conservatives cannot even motivate people to check the right box on a piece of paper, how on God's green earth do you imagine we can inspire anyone to risk "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor"?  Simple: We can't.

In large part, that's precisely because our generally trustworthy elections, in theory, offer a painless way out.  Don't like something?  Run for office, or support someone who agrees with you.  To someone who is generally apathetic anyway, the choice between that and Valley Forge isn't a hard one.

Trust and the Social Contract

Which is why we are so profoundly worried at the various forms of vote fraud.  It does seem to us that the Left has the ability to steal a couple of percentage points in a close election.

Certainly the near-monopoly of the media held by the Left gets than another chunk of votes from the "low-information-voters," as does a decade or two of propagandizing by our increasingly leftist coterie of educators.  But in a sense that's fair: what is propagandizing, but persuading people to your point of view?  As long as people freely make their own choices, be they based on the baldest of lies, we're still a free country and have no persuasive moral justification for revolution.

Flat-out election stealing is another matter, but thus far the Democrats have wisely avoided this.  Say what you will about Mr. Obama's election, but it wasn't "bought" in the corrupt party-machine sense.  A clear majority of Americans went into the polls and freely pulled the lever for him - yes, they made an ill-informed decision based on lies promulgated by far-left partisans who dominate our national media, but that isn't corruption on Mr. Obama's part.

However, conservatives are beginning to realize that the game is rigged in more subtle ways as well.  Despite constant calls of "racism," it's difficult not to notice that minorities overwhelmingly vote Democrat - and as we've seen before, this is largely because they recently came from countries that are much more socialist than we are.

Democrats couldn't persuade Americans to vote for socialism, so they imported a new batch of third-world voters who would!  Is it fair to say the Democrats have "won over" Americans when large numbers of their voters are people whom polls of Americans overwhelmingly show that most Americans didn't want allowed in here in the first place?

Imagine if a half-dozen thugs broke into your house and demanded a vote on who owned the house.  They could hold a perfectly free and fair election where you were completely able to vote against them, and you'd still lose because there were more of them than of you (unless you have an unusually large family).  The problem isn't that you lost the election or that you aren't democratic - it's that they didn't belong there at all.

Yet if you'd let them live there for years, it would become progressively harder to deny them a say on the operation and eventually even the ownership of the house, and that's what we as Americans have allowed with illegal immigration.

A New America

The Left revels in multiculturalism and the forthcoming "minority-majority" America.  The trouble is that such an America will be "American" in geography only.  This isn't because you have to be white to be American, but simply because the political beliefs of the vast majority of the newcomers are demonstrably and profoundly different from what the historical political preferences of Americans have been.  Instead of America we will be... something else.

You never voted for that, nor did I.  Elections have been happening for years, bang on schedule, and with a relative minimum of fraud.  Yet somehow we will shortly find ourselves in an entirely different country where traditional conservative American beliefs not only won't be in control, they probably won't even be allowed.

Yet, in all likelihood, the elections will still continue, regular like clockwork.  If they're smart, the Left will bend over backward to make sure they stay visibly free and fair, even as they pack the vote by legal means.  And even though political revolution against socialist tyranny will have become impossible, violent revolution will never come.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
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