Over on my Salem Political Snark blog, yesterday I wrote "Speak out about Trump's attempt to steal the election."
Almost certainly Trump won't succeed in this. His defeat was so large, extending over five states that he won in 2016 and lost in 2020 (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia), there's no way lawsuits and recounts are going to overturn Biden's win.
Still, it's important for everyone who cares about democracy to speak out against this attempt to thwart the will of voters, even if it has little chance of coming to pass. I shared some excerpts from a September 2020 piece by Marc Elias, "What Did You Do When Democracy Was at Stake?"
This is what Elias had to say about speaking out.
To combat this threat to our democracy, it is not enough for us to file lawsuits. It is not enough for the media to report the news. And it is not enough for citizens to shake their heads at the damage he is doing.
We must display civic courage and speak out.
Justice Scalia wrote that “requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed.”
We must all commit to civic courage where it is the least comfortable—in the town square, in front of our neighbors and families, in our workplaces and in our daily lives. We must each, as individuals, stand up and speak out about the importance of our democratic institutions and fundamental rights.
If someone says, "The only reason Biden won was Democratic voter fraud," it's important to say to them, "You're wrong. No voter fraud has been found in any state. Biden won a free and fair election."
Probably you won't change their mind. But you might.
What's certain is that you have stood up for the truth by speaking out about a falsehood. And this is as important to do in areas other than politics. If someone says, "Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions aren't causing global warming," the proper response is, "You're wrong. Global warming is happening because of carbon pollution by humanity."
There are many values worth honoring. Truth is one of the most important, because without truth, it is difficult to truly love, help others, be courageous, or do the other things that make life worth living.
I started this blog in 2004 in large part because I wanted to speak out against religious untruths. I'd call them "lies," but since some people sincerely believe the falsehoods promulgated by religions, often it makes sense to say That isn't true rather than You're lying.
If someone says, "I know that God exists," ask "How can you be sure?" Press for details. See if they can point to demonstrable evidence that God is real. Don't be content with bland statements like "I feel Him with me."
I'm not saying that you should go out of your way to puncture someone's religious belief bubble. People have all kinds of reasons for believing in God or some other supernatural entity. If they keep their faith private, no problem. Each to their own.
But when claims about the nature of reality are made, truth claims, then lovers of truth have to speak out in defense of their beloved. Untruths need to be called out. If a religious believer simply says, "I believe in God because this makes me feel good," great. There's nothing wrong and a lot that is right about feeling good.
That's akin to a Trump supporter saying, "I don't want to accept that Biden won because this hurts." OK. That's honest. We all turn a blind eye to some things that are unwelcome or uncomfortable to us. And many aspects of life lie outside of the bounds of objective truth.
Art, music, philosophy, friendship, charity, the list goes on and on.
The way I see it, this makes defending truth, where it exists, even more important -- since the comparative rarity of objective truth points to its preciousness. Biden has defeated Trump. That's the truth. Trump doesn't want to admit this.
Yet almost all leading Republicans are afraid to speak the truth to Trump. They fear his tweetful wrath. They fear for their own re-election if they go against Trump's fantasies. So they stay silent, or tell reporters, "I acknowledge that Biden won, but I can't say this openly on the record."
That's cowardice. Truth is more important than any person. Sure, we have to use common sense. To cite a common example, if you were hiding Jews in your house in Nazi Germany, speaking the truth if the Gestapo knock on your door isn't the thing to do.
But usually, speaking out about the truth is the thing to do. The sooner Trump comes to grips with the fact that he has lost, the better our country will be. Every Republican who stays silent about the election outcome is hurting our democracy.