Ignorance Caused the Breach of our Capitol

Ignoring truth is not a defense

Merriam Webster’s definition of ignorance tells us it’s a lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.

By now, you cannot claim ignorance of what happened last Wednesday as the whole world watched an attempted coup on our national capitol by a mob of insurrectionists. It was a violation of our sanctuary of democracy. Whether you lack knowledge thereof or the education to know, or unaware enough to feel comfortable with the label, you are showing your ignorance.

Our nation was attacked! It was not a show of democracy. It was not, in any sense, a protest. It was deliberate, orchestrated, mean-spirited, destructive, and deadly. Let’s call it what it was. It was a full display of ignorance.

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Ignorance can destroy our democracy

How did it get to be so bad? How did we come to have anarchy in the very midst of our precious, some say sacred, congressional halls? How could one of our most democratic and Constitutional rituals be so disrupted?

As you kick the word “ignorance” around and trip over that “awareness” descriptor, you may realize that the word is taken from a willingness to “ignore.” We, and especially our leaders, ignore our democracy at our own peril. Democracy is fragile and well worth our time and effort to protect it. It certainly is worth our undivided attention.

“Undivided” is the key word. All of us – left and right – must work to establish and preserve and savor our democracy. It was and is established to serve all of us.

Political leaders have awakened to the onslaught

Isaac Chatner interviewed my state’s senator in The New York Times in his article, Senator Jeff Merkley on the Storming of the Capitol:

There is definitely a sense among Democrats that our Republican colleagues have broadly failed the test of leadership, of standing up to President Trump over the last four years when he lied time and time again, and when those lies became more dangerous in the context of this election, as he claimed that the election was not valid, that there was systemic fraud, that he had won himself. By their silence, they conveyed that there was legitimacy in the President’s complaint—legitimacy they knew didn’t exist.

Bad consequences occur when we don’t pay attention!

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting implementation manager – a Republican, warned a month ago that someone’s going to get shot. It was a warning and a plea for peace. “It has to stop!” he said. It was a voiced concern for safety and protection. It should not have been ignored.

Ignorance is not a defense

Ignorance is not simply happenstance, a product of our intelligence. It emerges because we fail to care, a failure of curiosity. Collectively, it’s much easier to abdicate our personal responsibilities to those who represent us: our political leaders. We are a representative democracy, after all.

Remember, though, that our politicians reflect who we are. If we ignore the truth, expecting them to react accordingly, they often will. Our role, individually and collectively, is to not entertain lies, to not be distracted by conspiracies, and to give no credence to subterfuge designed to destroy what we hold dear.

Our democracy deserves protection. We have the world’s largest military to defend us every day. Our police defend us domestically. Still, our sensibilities were shattered when our capitol was exposed, broken into, and damaged. Where was its protection?

More fundamental than all of this is the preservation and protection our democratic institutions require. They, too, require protection – not an internal ripping apart because we are disappointed because of our ignorance.

The Electoral College and U.S. Constitution deserve our defense

One of our institutions, the U.S. Constitution, provides us with the Electoral College. Much has been said, hyperbolically, how it no longer serves us well. That perspective is born out of ignorance. Actually, the Electoral College is a stellar voting mechanism that we abhorrently abuse. Thus, we get the voting results that fail to reflect how the nation really votes.

The National Popular Voting Interstate Compact (NPVIC) reaches for a remedy. Much like the terrorists that attacked our capitol, the NPVIC advocates expect us and our political leaders to destroy what our Constitutional Framers gave us. Should NPVIC ever come to fruition it will:

  1. Defy the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Ignore the sovereignty of our states.
  3. Risk disenfranchising more voters than we already do (almost 69 million ballots never made into the Electoral College mechanism in the recent presidential election).

Our Institutions Matter!

Blame is easy to levy on both sides of the political aisle. While many are sincere in honoring and protecting the Constitution, our political leaders sometimes show their ignorance in the process. For example, Senator Merkley (quoted above) is a proponent of NPVIC though he has been presented with facts about its failing. His willful ignorance in this regard can cause harm. He may be well intentioned but the NVPIC lie distracts him. He’s not alone. Many Democrats think the same.

Equal Voice Voting (EVV) can protect our democracy. It can do so by:

  1. Honoring the Electoral College and the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Respecting the sovereignty of our states.
  3. Making All Votes Matter!

We should not expect our politicians to do all the work of our democracy. The work begins with US: We the People. We must be aware and informed and we must care. Our collective ignorance cannot be our excuse.

Our democracy is fragile. It can be taken away. Our inattention, our ignorance, can cause another breach – one that destroys us from within. Let’s not let current events sway us into believing that we can ignore the past, tear apart our institutions, and find better solutions amidst the rubble and carnage left behind.

As President-Elect Biden declares: This is not who we are!

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team

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