Focus on Facts Amid Smoke and Noise

Lost focus has devastating effects

It’s hard to keep one’s focus amid the smoke and noise of a fire or a mass shooting or a war. Survivors ask about what is happening and what are the facts. The confusion that emerges from such times are long-lasting, often resulting in episodes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and despair.

100719 Focus

Impeachment focus amid many players

This past couple of weeks has given this nation a full display of another kind of smoke and noise as the impeachment inquiry unfolds. As the wheel of characters above (Trump, Schiff, Giuliani, Pelosi, and Ukraine President Zelensky), as well as others added almost daily, swirl with accusations and defenses, we are left flustered. What has happened to our government – our nation?

The events began with a clear and unambiguous focus. Demirjian, Kane, and Weigel contributed an article in The Washington Post, noting:

Pelosi has made clear that the investigation will focus narrowly on the Ukraine matter, a scandal she says can be easily understood by the public.

Many cautioned that there is a need to focus on the facts. New York Republican Representative Elise Stefanik commented after the Maguire hearing in response to California’s Representative Adam Schiff’s parody of Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky:

We should focus on the facts. [She called Schiff’s words] …disturbing and outrageous.

Republican senators Grassley (Iowa), Kinzinger (Illinois), Romney (Utah), and Sasse (Nebraska), concerned over the events, faced rebuke from the far-right Republican pundits for not giving full-throated support of Trump. Conservative fringe social media accounts, radio hosts, and blogs chime in daily with alternative worldviews that decry and counter-accuse those blowing the constitutional whistle. Noise and obfuscation emanate from the White House on an almost hourly basis as Trump denies, then admits, and then double-downs on the pressure exerted to gain political advantage over Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, the Democrats scramble to submit subpoenas to gather more documentation and more testimonial weigh-in from witnesses. The net of suspects and persons of interest widens to include such as Secretary of State Pompeo, Vice President Pence, and others.

Focus can be restored over time

The challenge is to remain clear-eyed through it all. Our focus is required to sort through the false facts (mayhem really) while we maintain a sane grip on our sensibilities. It’s hard to do. Perhaps time is our best ally. Time will allow the best of journalistic disciplines to prevail. Truth will emerge over time because it always does.

There will be more to the story than what we witness today. This week will reveal more. This month will clarify much – may even further darken some other corners. A year will restore a lot of our focus if we, as a nation, persist and be patient, and work to preserve this nation and the U.S. Constitution.

NPV tempts us to lose focus

As you know, I usually try to draw parallels between the news of the day and how some element relates to how we elect our president. Sometimes that’s hard and stresses my creative ability to connect such dots. This time, however, the parallels are easy to draw as our presidential election process is considered.

The National Popular Vote (NPV) supporters (prompted by Common Cause) are akin to the Trump camp in that they rely heavily on twisting facts and obfuscating realties to sell their ridiculous, radical, and dangerous idea. Let’s look at few of the NPV claims:

NPV will fix the broken Electoral College!

Not true! If you pay attention to how NPV works, you’ll quickly see that NPV does NOT even touch the Electoral College. The Electoral College remains intact as it is while NPV marshals state popular votes into conformity based on national voting rather than state-by-state voting.

Further, the U.S. Constitution provides a remedy (a fix) should the nation’s citizenry want a change. It’s called a constitutional amendment. Since NPV supporters recognize that such a remedy is a high standard to meet, they provide a work-around. One, which should be noted, will be challenged in the Supreme Court should it ever be enacted.

NPV will make the presidential voting process more democratic!

Not true! We exercise a representative democracy in the United States. This means that our votes are meant to be proportionally translated into electoral votes on a state-by-state basis. NPV does not adhere to that approach. Rather, NPV promises that more votes will be at risk of non-representation than before. NPV actually erodes the democratic voting process.

NPV is fair.

Not true! One of the fairness concerns our Founding Fathers had when creating the Electoral College was that every state would have a proportional voting voice. NPV eliminates state borders, defying state sovereignty for all states included in its compact. Any state within the compact could easily cast all of its electoral votes to a candidate who does not win the plurality of votes in that state! This is not fair and it is not democratic.

We must focus on the truth

Our focus must be on truth. There is much smoke and noise to confuse us in both examples identified above. Some of the smoke and noise comes from greed. Some of the smoke and noise comes from corruption. All of it plays on our fears and willingness to simply follow, without question or curiosity, anyone who claims they have our best interests at heart.

As I mentioned earlier, time will bring out the truth in the impeachment inquiry. Our history and the constitutional law and the math supporting our voting results prove the fallacies of NPV.

Let’s not be fooled. Our nation depends on it.

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team

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