Over the course of the past few years, and even in the past few weeks and days, I have heard people in elected positions and some in public policy and news media speaking of “protecting the institutions.” For the record, the institution I am most interested in protecting is the United States of America.
Many seem to be concerned with protecting the institutions of the US House and Senate as the calls have come to resist what some see as the seating of invalid or illegitimate electors in the presidential race and challenging results up to the last second of the on-going contest. I’ve heard Democrats and even establishment Republicans drone on about “the institutions” coming under assault and then asking colleagues, voters and the country to “move on.”
No. Just, no.
Moving on and accepting results that many think are nefarious, erroneous or wrong for the sake of protecting an institution is a façade. It’s asking people to accept something they don’t believe under the rubric of protecting institutions that haven’t bothered to sufficiently perform well in the light of day. As an aside, it’s very hard to want to revere any institution that sends hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign countries in a supposed coronavirus relief effort, but that’s a topic for another essay.
If any body or organ of government wants their institution protected, then THAT body or organ must conduct business in the light of day. Take actions in an open and transparent fashion. When citizens have grievances, listen to them and do all that is possible to allay their concerns. In the context of the Presidential election, many States have failed to be forthcoming and are telling citizens to “just accept it.”
Thankfully, we didn’t have such a problem in Louisiana and I am proud of our state’s efforts to conduct an apparently clean election. Our strong Congressional delegation should stand firm against what is wrong and stand for what is right in the context of seating illegitimate or questionable electors.
No one is obliged to accept something they think is a lie. In the case of the recently concluded election, many hundreds of affidavits have been signed alleging suspicious, illegal or untoward activities. Many investigations have been thwarted on procedural grounds. Courts have summarily refused to hear the aggrieved citizens and organizations who have brought legal action. You can’t build or maintain trust in any institution in such a fashion. The courts pushed away the citizens and their grievances; the Congress should now stand up and stand against things that are questionable on their face.
An institution that operates in openness, clarity and transparency gets the benefit of the doubt. Those that don’t, simply don’t get that benefit.
The institution I am most interested in protecting is the United States of America. I am interested in the rule of law and the adherence to the US Constitution. I want to protect a representative republic that conducts elections legally that ALL can see as free and fair.
Charles “Chuck” Owen is a Louisiana State Representative from District 30.