** This is a copy of a Letter to the Editor I sent to The News-Gazette in Lexington, VA (Published 1/13/2021). In the last year, my viewpoints have not changed. I still feel betrayed by the person that was duly elected by this locality. While I did not vote for Rep Ben Cline, it is my fervent opinion that he owes me the same respect as those who voted for him. Having worked with Ben at the state level since he followed in Bob Goodlatte's steps, it is this lack of respect for opposing side that keeps questioning this younger Republican.
Twice in the last 20 years, Republicans were able to put their candidate in the White House without winning the popular vote. I suppose they thought they could easily challenge the 2020 election to again tip the results in their favor.
|January 6th Capitol Riot Image|
As the Senate leadership pushes for more federal control of national elections, January 6th is one of many reasons why the federal government should leave voting oversight to the states. Not only was Donald Trump able to use his influence as President to enlist the help of hundreds of average citizens (believing they were doing the right thing) who now have federal charges against them, but he also convinced more than a handful of elected officials and government employees to abandon their oath and side--not for the good of the country--put for his personal gain. Few know of the "delayed" stimulus checks that dropped into the accounts of new Social Security recipients on election day as if they were being bribed to vote in a set manner. Had it not been for state and local election boards who did their job according to the law, we might be in a very different place.
Certainly changes to the Electoral College are long overdue, but control of elections should remain the responsibility of the states Voting should be easily accessible but it should not be easy to do. A second layer of oversight will not make voting safer, but does have the potential to increase the opportunities of corruption.
Today is January 6, 2021. It is early. I am worried. By the end of the day, will the USA still be the largest democracy on Earth or will it be the latest power to topple due to the efforts of a single charismatic person who has a fondness for power?
As Americans, we do not understand how close we are to losing our place at the top. We have ignored a years-long, systematic challenge to our election process with one and only one purpose in mind - to put a dictator in office. I am ashamed to say that my representatives, State Del. Ronnie Campbell and Congressman Ben Cline, assisted this effort.
By definition, a dictator rises to power through unconventional or forced means and stays in power by keeping those who support him happy. Per Wikipedia, an estimated 50 countries are considered dictatorships. Leaders have titles such as President or Prime Minister. The countries have constitutions, elections, and regional and local governments - just like we do. The only difference is that, in some way, the one in power is able to control the outcome.
A month ago, NBC12 affiliate in Richmond reported that Cline (6th House) was one of 120 representatives that signed on to a Texas-based Supreme Court challenge. SCOTUS made quick business of the case by saying it “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections”.
On Jan. 5, WFXR.com reported that Campbell (Va 24th) had signed a letter to VP Mike Pence recommending the House throw out Virginia’s election results. Such a challenge would also have needed the support of a US Senator to move forward which it do not have.
Neither action appears to be valid under scrutiny. By supporting measures that have now been rejected by countless courts, the Electoral College and hopefully Congress itself, these two men have remained loyal to the party and its most conservative donors. At the same time, they have avoided the difficult decisions that are required of their office. Is that what we voted for? Is being a successful public servant nothing more than promising action that is not allowed by law then saying “I tried”?
I suppose time will tell.