How sad that “law and order” somehow has devolved into a catch phrase instead of an actual principle for American life and an ideal for American values. We heard numerous cries for law and order during last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. We heard our president proclaim himself the “law and order president” while undermining the rights of states to manage their own affairs and respond to those protests as their elected leaders saw fit. Now we are hearing too many of our fellow citizens cry out to overturn a certified election, and we are watching too many elected officials work to subvert the orderly process of our bipartisan elections process.
What has happened to our national commitment to constitutional law and the societal order that the rule of law helps create among us?
If there were legitimate legal challenges to November’s election, they would have come out in the numerous court cases that have been filed (more than 60). But no: lawyers — who may well lie to the media — know better than to lie in court, and judges who honor the rule of law and have sworn to uphold the Constitution rightly refuse to pervert justice from the bench. Our justice system confirms the election was legitimate; law and order prevails in our nation.
If there were legitimate claims of voter fraud in this past election, they would have been uncovered in our uniquely open elections processes that have been established in the various states. Bipartisan officials in counties and states across this nation conducted a fair and free election in the midst of a raging epidemic. They put themselves at risk and bent over backward to accommodate every one of us who wanted to cast our vote safely. Election officials counted our votes carefully and transparently, with bipartisan observers documenting our community leaders’ impartial commitment to make sure every voice is heard; every legitimate vote counted.
But now, instead of thanks, too many of these public servants have been vilified, accused (by people in their own political party) of illegalities. These unsubstantiated accusations against our elections process and our fellow citizens who manage the process are ludicrous, perverse and wicked. We all need to reject this toxic disinformation that is damaging our fundamental democratic processes.
I keep listening for more voices of integrity to speak out from the right. I strain my ears, aching to hear more authentic conservatives who actually believe in our system of laws; traditional Republicans who want to reclaim some of their party’s historic values. I am grateful to hear some appeals to reason, reality and responsibility (thank you, Sen. Mitt Romney), but this nation needs a mass chorus of these voices right now: a multitude of cries against anarchy and for a peaceful transition of power. We need a whole host of people demanding a return to bipartisan cooperation all across our land.
Law and order means every citizen gets to vote without threat or hindrance. It means all votes matter — even the votes I don’t agree with. It means the winner wins fairly and the loser concedes honestly — no matter which side wins and loses. And it means all of us, as responsible citizens, accept the outcome of our constitutional process and move on to engage the work that lies ahead of us.
If the rule of law means anything to us as a nation, then it must stand for fairness, equity and justice for all of us. More of this, please.