If Elections Aren’t Free, Nothing Else Matters

I used to think calling presidents and congressmen and other elected officials our “leaders” was pretty stupid. They are not our leaders; they are our representatives. Their jobs are not about telling us what to do, but about telling other people what we think. They’re not our bosses, they’re our union reps, so to speak. 

But I’ve changed my mind. “Leaders” is more apt.

A lot of big and important news items are being discussed around the breakfast tables of America; on any given day, American Greatness publishes stories about most of them. But in the end, none of them matters more than the fight for free elections. You can argue Afghanistan and immigration and education and Antifa until you’re blue in the face—nothing will come of it, if your vote doesn’t count. 

It boils down to this: either we control the government, or the government controls us. There’s no third option. Either we dictate government behavior, or the government dictates our behavior. 

Right now, the government’s behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with the dictates of the people. For instance, not a single American outside the government zero—whether Right or Left—wants American citizens (or American service dogs) left behind in Afghanistan. Zero percent of Americans want to work four months of the year to pay their taxes, only to have $90 billion worth of weapons (weapons we ourselves are not allowed to possess) left to an enemy we’ve spent 20 years, thousands of lives and trillions of dollars fighting—with nothing whatsoever to show for it. Zero percent wanted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline built. Zero percent wanted gas prices to double. Zero percent wanted uncontrolled inflation. Zero percent want their emails and texts read by government bureaucrats.

But that’s what we’re getting—because we don’t control the government anymore. We didn’t elect it, and without free elections, we won’t be able to fire it. So we can talk about government policy as much as we want; it just doesn’t matter. We are not being represented; we are being led. A country in which the people are dictated to by the government is called a “dictatorship.”

Can our lost freedoms be regained? They can. They have been regained in the past. It’s still possible that, as the damning evidence of fraud mounts, some judge will grow the spine required to let that evidence be heard in court. Maybe it’ll start a chain reaction; a rebirth of freedom. If it doesn’t, we need some way other than elections to make sure the government listens to us. Do you remember Hooverville?

Actually, in the 1930s, there were Hoovervilles all over the country; camps of out-of-work men and their families, destitute because the Fed’s (unbelievably stupid) policy of shrinking the money supply had caused bank runs across the country and plunged the United States into the Great Depression. The most famous of these was the 1932 Washington Hooverville, occupied by the so-called “Bonus Army.” About 50,000 Americans—veterans of World War I, and their wives and children—marched on Washington, camped in front of Congress, and demanded early payment of the cash bonuses they had earned in the war, which they desperately needed and for which they could not wait until the scheduled payment year of 1945. 

As the Bonus Army encampment grew in numbers and popularity, the actual Army was deployed to keep order. President Hoover, the ’ville’s namesake, ordered the responsible general, Douglas MacArthur (you may have heard of him), not to approach or attack the Bonus Army. MacArthur disagreed with the order and decided to ignore it. When his troops marched toward the bonus army, the Bonusers cheered, thinking it was a show of support from fellow vets. That notion was dispelled when bayonets were fixed, and a cavalry charge was ordered, backed up by tanks and reinforced by arsenic vomiting gas. Several men, women, and children were killed; at least one woman miscarried, and these destitute veterans were forced to watch as their worldly possessions were burned along with their makeshift homes.

But the Bonus Army came back again, and after four years of humiliation,  our “leaders” voted to pay the bonuses early. They had to override a veto from the new president, Franklin Roosevelt, to do it, but they did it anyway. Gandhi would have been proud. (Maybe he was; he was in his mid-60s at the time, and the Bonus Army march on Washington had begun two years after his Salt March.)

These days, as we know, neither the U.S. Congress nor the U.S. Army is interested in letting Americans into their capital city. And whereas the Bonus Army was unemployed—that was the point—Americans worried about election fraud tend to have jobs, and consequently, less time for camping. But if the courts fail; if the “conservatives” in Congress fail, if we continue down the path of predetermined “election results,” another peaceful march on Washington might be a good idea. 

Another Hooverville might be in order. It can’t have a long or confusing list of demands. Like the original, it has to have exactly one, and one that can be easily understood by everyone. The new Hooverville must demand that Congress approve, and send to the states for ratification, the following constitutional amendment:

All elections, for any office, referendum or ballot question, at any level of local, state or federal government, will meet these standards: All votes, for any given election, will be cast on a single day. There will be no ballot drop-off boxes. No ballots will be issued prior to election day. No ballots will be issued anywhere other than a polling place. No ballots will be removed from a polling place. No voting will happen anywhere beside a private voting booth. There will be no mailed-out or mailed-in ballots.

 All voters will present a government-issued ID. All voters must be registered at least three months prior to an election. All voter rolls will be published three months prior to an election, and any entry can be challenged by any citizen. Voter rolls will be purged of deceased, noncitizen, non-constituent and nonexistent voters. There will be no absentee ballots. If troops are deployed overseas, voting places will be set up for them, which will conform to all other provisions of this amendment; troops’ votes will be counted in situ and be reported to the troops’ various home constituencies. 

All ballots will be paper. All ballots will be marked physically, by the voter. No person other than the voter will be allowed in a voting booth, other than a minor child, or the caregiver of someone who has no use of his hands. Filled out ballots must be kept entirely private until inserted, by the voter, into a ballot box. All votes will be counted by hand, in the physical presence of any and as many observers as wish to observe. All ballot boxes will be kept under video surveillance at all times. This video will be recorded, saved and made accessible to everyone, and will be streamed in real-time, from a time prior to an election, where the boxes are shown to be empty before being sealed, until a time when the boxes are unsealed for counting. 

With no pause or interruption in coverage from the opening of the ballot boxes, all ballot counting will likewise be video-recorded and live-streamed, in sufficiently high resolution for viewers to make their own independent count of the votes. Other than the cameras filming it, the voting process will include no electronic devices of any sort.

This must be an amendment with no room for loopholes. There are and have always been people who intend to vote who, for whatever reason, do not. Maybe you have a car accident on the way to the polls. The very small number of people who, because of medical issues, cannot reach a polling place on election day will fall into this category. It sounds unfair, but it’s the only way to keep phony mail-in ballots out of the system. And having to vote in person is, I should point out, a much lighter restriction on a fundamental right than those that currently exist on, say, speech, religion, assembly, retention of private property, gun ownership, etc. Is this a greater caveat than, say, eminent domain? (Which shouldn’t exist.) Any crack through which voter fraud can enter an election will suffice. So no mail-in ballots of any sort.

This should be the basic law of every democracy, every republic. This is not a big request; it’s a tiny one, that our “leaders” will fight tooth and nail not to grant. But if we refuse to take no for an answer, we can make America a free country again.

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