I suspect most people have by now gotten several communiques from folks who are concerned about fraud in the recent presidential election. I found many of these questions and citations troubling enough to sign a petition by MoveOn.org calling for a Congressional investigation.
We can’t know whether the charges are true without a full and fair investigation. I think the Carter Center would be more credible than Congress, but they replied to my email to that effect by saying their work was abroad, not in the U.S. So perhaps Congress will have to do. I hope more and more citizens and investigative journalists will step in, to press for such an investigation and ensure it is honest. But I don’t yet know if such hopes are warranted.
To me, the most sobering reality is already here: that there is no charge with respect to the integrity of American institutions that is out of the question. People have so little faith in the honor and integrity of our government, many are prepared to believe anything. This is a scandal and a shame. Undoubtedly, it owes something to people’s credulousness, the fondness for grand conspiracy theories (when so far as I can see, the people who are supposed to have conceived and implemented them are notoriously inept). But I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I think it’s possible that election fraud was perpetrated on a scale sufficient to change the election outcome. The primary blame for making this so believable must go to a government that has trumped all previous records for unethical conduct, a government, for example, that will shortly include an Attorney General who considers the Geneva Conventions outdated and expendable.
This crisis in democracy calls for serious, substantive response. So far, from the fourth estate, it has been anything but. It is dismaying to see respectable news outlets — \The New York Times\, NPR — rushing to dismiss calls for an investigation, without even bothering to marshall evidence. I wrote a letter to the \Times\ this morning, saying that their front-page coverage dismissing the charges “as wishful thinking was condescending and arrogant, as if all it took to cure our crisis in democracy was a pat on the head from the newspaper of record.”
The late scientist Stephen J. Gould said that “When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.” The seeds have sprouted. I pray the harvest will not be as bitter as some fear.
Under such circumstances, it’s good to remember that decency, humor, and companionship abound. Have a look at Sorry Everybody, at this writing nearly 250 pages of charming apologies to the world from the other 49 percent of us.