History shows a mob is nothing new
The Constitutional Framers were gravely fearful of a mob takeover. They had already witnessed it up close and knew of its contagious energy and the chaos it delivers. They knew, reading from history, that a mob response develops well from a direct democracy. John Adams, our second U.S. President and one of the framers said:
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
Thus, the framers formed a representative democracy to calm the masses, give credence to minority points-of-view, and to avoid its self-destruction.
We witnessed a mob in Washington, D.C.
The whole world witnessed a mob storm our nation’s capital just a few days ago. It was shocking, unbelievable, and horrifying. Most of the nation watched perplexed, not recognizing what it all meant. How could this happen?
The true story will unfold over the coming days as more facts surface. Facts, though, do not always directly point to cause. Many theories will be provided and it’s good we consider them all.
A mob insurrection is a selfish act
The mob reaction is a selfish act. The participants proclaimed their need to protect their personal liberties. Such indignation and belligerence inform onlookers of how much the mob bought into a self-centered mantra. They put the “ME” in A ME RICA.
The mob was apparently composed of agitated Trump supporters, angry voters (thinking the election was stolen), and violence perpetrators. They also seem to have had inside assistance, which adds a shocking twist to the story.
Ali Salmon, in The New Yorker, January 14th edition, finds humor amidst the travesty with his recent cartoon:
Some may regard the cartoon as being in poor taste because it is so soon after the event. Indeed, it is anticipated that more mob uprisings (note the plural) may erupt as an offshoot across the nation within hours of this posting.
Sorry, those who feel this way are missing the point that mob insurrections are not new. They have been with us for millennia, giving credence to the cartoon’s medieval setting. Insurrectionists have been a part of our society for decades, not days, not weeks, not months – decades! The anger has been fomenting for a long, long time. We should not be surprised.
The mob emerges because we don’t listen
One perspective, sorting through the obvious mayhem and sensationalized news, is that this kind of eruption happens because we don’t listen – at least not well. Many feel they are not heard. The silence they experience, along with the discounting of feelings and perspectives, ignites an angry audience and prompts a swift storming of our sacred institution. The mob’s response may be horrific but is also within the realm of possibilities. True, it’s a drastic emotional response, but it’s also a cry to be heard, validated, and understood.
What should be our response? One is to be reminded of our respective roles in the moment. What is our attitude? What emotions do we nurture?
Toni Morrison, the award-winning novelist, informed us:
There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
Doing language infers that we also listen. Americans fail miserably in this regard. The mob insurrectionists are not alone in being A ME ricans. When our mantra tells us that “winning is everything,” we shut out those around us. We steal their space. We silence their voice and close the door on their concerns and passions. And, the lessons of history, civics, and societal respect become lost for all of us. Mayhem erupts!
False information ignited the mob
Much has been reported on the recent election revolving around the false notion that the election was rigged and fraudulent. The perception is that maybe tens of thousands of ballots were either stolen, uncounted, or whatever to help flip the election in favor of Biden. It would be a travesty if it were true – it’s not.
The notion lit a fuse to a tinder box that inflamed the mob!
We have become used to ignoring each other
Yet, every presidential election finds us tossing aside tens of millions of ballots. Tens of millions of ballots never make it to the Electoral College because the Winner-Takes-All (WTA) approach. Almost 69 million ballots were ignored in this past election for that reason, for example. That’s almost as many ballots that were counted for Trump!
It begs a question: Where is the outrage? Why is there not a mob or two or three that storm the streets and cry, “Foul!” Never mind acts of violence; where is the indignation, hurt, and sense of loss? Have we become numb to the infraction simply because it has gone on so long? Is it because we don’t see it and it’s not reported? Is it because we don’t care?
Equal Voice Voting (EVV) can change that. EVV promises that All Votes Matter! More, it gives Electoral College representation to more voters, not fewer. It’s a promise that cannot be provided by the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). Further, EVV can be realized in any state without a U.S. Constitutional amendment while it respects the sovereignty of states and retains the checks and balances intended of our Constitutional Framers.
We need to listen more than we do. To do that means we must pay attention more than we do. It means our country is US – and that we care.
Please share this blog with others!
By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team