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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

Democracy On The Ropes

Once a week, give or take a day, I write a blog post. I try to keep my posts upbeat and sincere. But here’s a deeper truth: these days when I write about the goodness in my life, there is a strong pull, an undercurrent of concern and fear about what’s happening to our country, and I can't ignore it.

Our nation is so divided that it doesn’t matter which side you talk to because there is so much anger and fear to go around. What keeps me up at night is that I am afraid for our democracy.

We’ve always had two political parties, two points of view. They provided balance to each other, and back in the day, they showed respect to one other. In the past several years it’s become acceptable to show disrespect, and even disdain for the other side. In fact now it’s considered a badge of strength to bully and insult those who don’t share your views.

In this ugly-hearted climate that surrounds us, what worries me is that all over the country we are setting into motion legislation that will make it more difficult for people to vote. That’s bad enough, though I do believe that we can find our way around things like gerrymandering and fewer polling places. But in Texas, where I live, new voting laws would make it easier for our elected leaders to overturn election results, making your vote or my vote not count at all.

This is playing out under the auspices that elections are being rigged. But that just doesn’t pan out if you don’t get to see documented evidence of such. To date, I’ve heard stories of ballots being thrown in the river, but have not seen actual photographs of that. In a world where we photograph everything, you’d think someone would have clicked a picture if that was the case. I’ve heard that bamboo fibers were culprits in the Arizona ballots, leading to an ill thought out conspiracy conclusion that those ballots were planted by China. Now I’m hearing that Italy has software that rigged our last election by changing Trump votes to Biden votes. But these are all just stories. If there is hard evidence of voting fraud, then where is that evidence and why haven’t we all seen it?

There was certainly ample opportunity to present evidence in dozens upon dozens of court cases claiming such, but all of those cases were dismissed, because you cannot have a viable court case without there being evidence as to your complaint. What feeds my anxiety is this idea that elected leaders in the Texas legislation are trying to make it easier to overturn election results that they don’t like, evidence be damned. Suspicion is enough. How is that democracy?

So yes, I love my life. I make it a point to share positivity in the world and be upbeat. I am grateful for my husband, our health, our home and my creativity. But I can’t get past this great and grave concern. What keeps me from dropping off into a deep sleep at night is that I worry that our democracy is on the ropes. I have always believed that every vote counts. Now I’m not so sure. To hear Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick tell it, all mail in ballots are part of the Democrat’s scheme to steal elections. Still where please, are the documented, photographed evidence of that – not just rumors, but the tangible real stuff that we can all see?

Once, I had a basic trust that elected officials from either side of the aisle would fight for democracy and the constitution first, and their own power second. Boy was I naive. Once I believed that every vote counted. What keeps me up at night, and anxious during the day is that I’m afraid that the integrity of our leaders when it comes to believing the same – that every vote counts – has been corrupted.

And if the right to vote and have all votes count falls away due to conspiracy, supposition, and lack of evidence, so then does our democracy.

What do you think? I invite your consideration and comments.

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