By Alex P. Vidal
“Democracy is not just an election, it is our daily life.”—Tsai Ing-wen
THE midterm elections on November 8, 2022 is one of the most important events for survival of democracy in the United States.
Campaigning indirectly for the embattled Democrats, President Joseph Biden Jr. appealed November 2 to his fellow Americans to save American democracy from lies, election deniers, and violence.
He began by zeroing in on the recent violence that occurred in the California residence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi where her husband, Paul, was hit on the head with a hammer by an intruder with history of being a believer of conspiracy theories.
“Just a few days ago, a little before 2:30 a.m. in the morning, a man smashed the back windows and broke into the home of the speaker of the House of Representatives, the third-highest-ranking official in America. He carried in his backpack zip ties, duct tape, rope and a hammer,” he said.
“As he told the police, he had come looking for Nancy Pelosi to take her hostage, to interrogate her, to threaten to break her kneecaps. But she wasn’t there. Her husband, my friend Paul Pelosi, was home alone. The assailant tried to take Paul hostage. He woke him up, and he wanted to tie him up. The assailant ended up using a hammer to smash Paul’s skull. Thankfully, by the grace of God, Paul survived.
“All this happened after the assault, and it just — it’s hard to even say. It’s hard to even say. After the assailant entered the home asking: “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” Those are the very same words used by the mob when they stormed the United States Capitol on January the 6th, when they broke windows, kicked in the doors, brutally attacked law enforcement, roamed the corridors hunting for officials and erected gallows to hang the former vice president, Mike Pence.”
Mr. Biden said, “It was an enraged mob that had been whipped up into a frenzy by a president repeating over and over again the Big Lie, that the election of 2020 had been stolen. It’s a lie that fueled the dangerous rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years.
“Even before January the 6th, we saw election officials and election workers in a number of states subject to menacing calls, physical threats, even threats to their very lives. In Georgia, for example, the Republican secretary of state and his family were subjected to death threats because he refused to break the law and give into the defeated president’s demand: Just find him 11,780 votes. Just find me 11,780 votes.”
Mr. Biden added: “Election workers, like Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, were harassed and threatened just because they had the courage to do their job and stand up for the truth, to stand up for our democracy. This institution, this intimidation, this violence against Democrats, Republicans and nonpartisan officials just doing their jobs, are the consequence of lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice, lies repeated over and over to generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol and even violence.”
He further said: “In this moment, we have to confront those lies with the truth. The very future of our nation depends on it. My fellow Americans, we’re facing a defining moment, an inflection point. We must with one overwhelming unified voice speak as a country and say there’s no place, no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America. Whether it’s directed at Democrats or Republicans. No place, period. No place ever.”
“I speak today near Capitol Hill, near the U.S. Capitol, the citadel of our democracy. I know there’s a lot at stake in these midterm elections, from our economy, to the safety of our streets, to our personal freedoms, to the future of health care and Social Security, Medicare. It’s all important. But we’ll have our differences, we’ll have our difference of opinion. And that’s what it’s supposed to be.”
The President said: “But there’s something else at stake, democracy itself. I’m not the only one who sees it. Recent polls have shown an overwhelming majority of Americans believe our democracy is at risk, that our democracy is under threat. They too see that democracy is on the ballot this year, and they’re deeply concerned about it.
“So today, I appeal to all Americans, regardless of party, to meet this moment of national and generational importance. We must vote knowing what’s at stake and not just the policy of the moment, but institutions that have held us together as we’ve sought a more perfect union are also at stake. We must vote knowing who we have been, what we’re at risk of becoming.
“Look, my fellow Americans, the old expression, “Freedom is not free,” it requires constant vigilance. From the very beginning, nothing has been guaranteed about democracy in America. Every generation has had to defend it, protect it, preserve it, choose it. For that’s what democracy is. It’s a choice, a decision of the people, by the people and for the people. The issue couldn’t be clearer, in my view.
“We the people must decide whether we will have fair and free elections, and every vote counts. We the people must decide whether we’re going to sustain a republic, where reality’s accepted, the law is obeyed and your vote is truly sacred.
“We the people must decide whether the rule of law will prevail or whether we will allow the dark forces and thirst for power put ahead of the principles that have long guided us.
“You know, American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president of the United States refused to accept the results of the 2020 election. If he refuses to accept the will of the people, if he refuses to accept the fact that he lost, he’s abused his power and put the loyalty to himself before loyalty to the Constitution. And he’s made a big lie an article of faith in the MAGA Republican Party, the minority of that party.
“The great irony about the 2020 election is that it’s the most attacked election in our history. And, yet, there’s no election in our history that we can be more certain of its results. Every legal challenge that could have been brought was brought. Every recount that could have been undertaken was undertaken. Every recount confirmed the results. Wherever fact or evidence had been demanded, the Big Lie has been proven to be just that, a big lie. Every single time.”
Mr. Biden concluded: “My fellow Americans, we’ll meet this moment. We just need to remember who we are. We are the United States of America. There’s nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together. May God bless you all. May God protect our troops. May God bless those standing guard over our democracy. Thank you, and godspeed.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)