If We Want Self-Rule, We’re Going to Have to Do It Ourselves

The inability of Fox News and the Republican Party to deliver a victory to us as we consume our politics in the comfort of our own homes scandalizes us.

The only reason any of us on the Right has any concept of the discrepancies between the reality of the vote count and the narrative that Fox News and other media outlets are presenting is due to a small army of hardworking independent journalists active mostly on Twitter and in alternative media. These political animals refuse to accept the official narrative, and are venturing into the political sphere to find out for themselves what is going on. This is what self-rule looks like. 

Those of us who are scandalized by this election need to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions: what are we doing to help new media outlets and independent journalists who are doing the hard work for us? 

In the months leading up to this election, did we familiarize ourselves with the voting and election laws in our states, and especially with the changes that were happening as the Democrats sued to make voting laws more conducive to their efforts? We had plenty of warning. Going forward, what can we do in our own cities and states to reform voting laws and work to change the Left’s stranglehold over the election process in key cities?

Politics as a spectator sport is not going to get it done. Part of the awakening happening on the Right is a slow realization that lack of participation, lack of any real political action, will result in an eventual loss of our institutions and freedoms. 

Regardless of legality, what is happening right now in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Phoenix is real political action. Papering up the windows so that your opponent cannot watch as you count ballots is political action. These shenanigans in the field cannot be countered by national think tanks, theoretically friendly news channels, or even national party leaders. This kind of political warfare can only be fought by political action on our side: volunteering at voting locations, volunteering to observe and keep the process clean, and fielding forceful and decent candidates at the state and city level in order to have official eyes on this process.

Consuming politics in the same way we root for our favorite sports teams is comfortable. Watching Fox News or listening to talk radio is enjoyable, and it feels like political action. We flatter ourselves that we are an informed, self-governing people because we keep track of politics with traditional media outlets. The past week has—or should have—removed this comfortable illusion. 

In the end, we have merely been consumers of these goods, pretending that our consumption is “making a difference.” We give money to lots of conservative causes—how many of them have any power to do anything to ensure the legality of this election? 

Real political action takes time and sacrifice. Self-rule—self government—is much more difficult than spectator politics. It’s especially difficult for working people with families or small businesses to run. 

The Left is at a natural advantage in retail politics, because their political philosophy attracts childless drones with extra money and time on their hands to run for city council or volunteer at the polls. The political philosophy of the Right produces toddlers and profit and loss statements. In addition to this natural disadvantage, the Left is also flush with cash from corporations, billionaires, foreign governments, and special interests. The reality is that the Left can afford to pay its political actors. The Right—the real party of the working class—is dependent upon volunteers.

Disappointment with Fox News and with the validity of this election process, and disillusionment with the American political system is right and just. We should feel disillusioned. But shock and scandal at the impotence of our news channel, our political party is, in reality, disillusionment with ourselves. We are a self-governing people and we feel like we have no say in our government. Whose fault is that?

This election year has taught us that politics has the power to change everything in our lives: whether we can make money, whether we are allowed to do business, whether and in what way our children can be educated, whether we can gather with our families in our own homes, whether we can eat in restaurants or go on vacation. “Election Week” brings with it a new sense of helplessness. Are our elections honest? Do we really have a say in our government? How can our political movement survive with every large media organization, labor union, political machine, and monied corporate interest working against us? 

The answer to these questions is political action. Not political consumption, where we watch eagerly and root for our team to win. Not street politics and riots, where we have public tantrums because we feel that the laws and customs of this country are against us but we are too impatient or impotent to do the difficult work of marching back through our institutions and passing laws, electing candidates, and effecting political change. 

We need real political action, where we volunteer and run for local office, where we do the work to identify honest independent journalists and citizen reporters and fund them and their work. Where we research voting laws and practices in our state before important elections and work to make them more conducive to self-government. We must show up at the polls—not just to vote, but also to work, observe, and oversee. 

We get out there and we do it. We don’t wait for a national figure and a national media and a national movement to do it for us as we watch. We do it.

About Lane Scott

Lane Scott is an assistant editor of American Greatness. She was a John M. Olin Foundation Fellow at the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University. She received her undergraduate degree from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California. Lane and her husband own a small farm in the California Gold Country where they live with their five young children.

Photo: AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

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