Rule of Law vs. Law and Order. Know the Difference!

A big part of what makes America great is our commitment and adherence to the Rule of Law, starting from our foundational U.S. Constitution to our court systems and down through our local laws and law enforcement. Our rule of law provides a stable environment in which individuals and their civil rights are protected, property rights are secured, and businesses can plan and thrive.

Other countries and cultures have systemic corruption in which bribery of government officials is rampant, or in which might-makes-right through militarized factions. In contrast, our country tends to disdain corruption. Though, shockingly, many Trump supporters are accepting of the fact that Trump defrauded Americans of their life savings through Trump University, violated laws by using the Trump Foundation for personal gain, and is otherwise abusing his office for personal gain.

Trump, however, ran as the Law and Order candidate (a provocative dog whistle) which is different from the Rule of Law. He stirred imaginations to believe that we have significantly increasing crime (we do not), that immigrants are the cause of crime (they are not), that black people live primarily in inner cities (they do not) which are crime infested (they are not), and that police are under attack through a rise in cop murders (they are not).

His response to these fanciful urgencies is authoritarian in nature; build a wall, stop and frisk Americans, stop immigration, use torture. The irony is twofold:

First, Trump’s focus on Law and Order will actually result in decreased law and order. People will stop partnering with police in community policing efforts because trust will be eroded and building a wall may increase crime and terrorism. Also, use of torture makes Americans less safe.

Second, Trump’s leadership rhetoric and Presidential actions are breaking down the Rule of Law in this country and thereby also making us less safe. Trump is threatening the Constitution, eroding people’s trust in mainstream media (Like Hitler’s tactic called Lugenpresse),  eroding our trust in our intelligence community. For this and other reasons that precipitated Trump’s election (like Trump lying about a sitting president’s birth qualification in an effort to wrongfully undermine his presidency), America has been downgraded to a “Flawed Democracy”. Americans no longer trust their institutions.

Meanwhile, rich people are preparing for the worst and scientists are moving the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.

Disruption is not sound public policy. It is chaos. The anarchists who disrupted Trump’s Inauguration ceremonies last week were nothing in comparison to Trump himself.

 

 

 

Voting: The Fix is in!

Republicans seem to know the old adage… make sure you’ve won the game before it has even started. How do they do this? They write the rules. In elections that means pre-work as follows:

  1. Gerrymandering congressional districts to ensure your party retains power. While this may favor either or both major parties, systemic efforts by Republicans for two decades have resulted in a skew toward Republican victories and wasting votes of Democrats.  See the map in this article about a Wisconsin gerrymandering case, which also offers a glimmer of hope about a breakthrough method for identifying and fighting partisan gerrymandering.  Also see the hopeful steps happening in North Carolina where a special election may be held after court-supervised redistricting can take place. Also see news of more organized Democratic leadership to combat this issue.
  2. Caging, purging and otherwise reducing voter registrations to make it hard for people to vote, particularly  minorities who more frequently vote Democratic, thus favoring Republican victories. See this well-written summary on North Carolina  restrictions on voting (though people are now fighting back in NC)
  3. Undercounting votes, particularly of minorities, by methods such as “Crosscheck” which ensure that votes that were cast are not actually counted. See article by long-time election investigator Greg Palast. His totals on purged votes show how the exit polls were right about Hillary winning in those critical swing states, but then the votes were not counted. This is another tactic used by Republicans.
  4. Using manipulable computer voting machines from Republican controlled and connected companies (like Diebold) which have proven unreliable and skewing toward Republican victories.  See my earlier post with a movie link and more details (see the movie!)

Why are they doing this? See the Stick Figure video about perpetuating power that I linked previously. Classic tactics, particularly if you are moving away from a democratic model toward dictatorship model.

What can we do?

  • Get Democrats registered well in advance, and then get them physically to the polls with organized rides. Reach out to help in other states by calling those Democratic headquarters. Mid-term elections are essentially around the corner.
  • Write letters to Congress, to the Editor, to whomever, about the need for bipartisan districting. How else can we keep politicians of any party from becoming too comfortable or too corrupt? They need to feel the pressure come election day to prove they’ve earned our vote.
  • Connect with Holder’s efforts for fair redistricting.
  • Dispute, every chance you get, Trump’s notion that there is widespread in-person voting fraud (the Chicago equivalent of vote early and often). Every expert agrees this is simply not true and that the few cases are so few as to be inconsequential. He is tweeting this not as a sore loser rant, but rather as a strategy to gain political support for more voter suppression laws.