What happens to a government when the consent of the governed breaks down? History has many instances of this some ending with peaceful transformation, others with successful revolution as in our own history and still others with military crackdowns as we currently see in Hong Kong.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in our nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, which was written as a series of reasons why the American colonists no longer accepted the rule of King George III. The opening two paragraphs of this seminal document used to be memorized by school children as part of their school exercises, a practice which was largely abandoned in the 1960s. So as a refresher, here is what Jefferson penned:
“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
Paying particular attention to the second paragraph, our nation’s founding was based upon the idea, “That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Right now, at this point in American history, many state governments are teetering on the edge of losing the consent of the governed with the economic lockdowns which have not only crippled our medical and economic systems, but are creating a quiet desperation among many of our people as they attempt to survive the isolation imposed by draconian stay home orders.
This past Memorial Day weekend, we witnessed rallies, church services and people gathering at beaches, boardwalks, rivers and other recreational gathering places, simple acts of defiance exemplified by the decision of many to not wear a mask.
Some governors and mayors continue to believe that they can ratchet up demands for acquiescence and the people will comply, and in some areas like New York City, which due to the blunders of their failed leaders, has experienced the brunt of the nation’s death toll, many of their people continue to obey. But across much of America, the government better get out of the way before they lose their legitimacy and the people just ignore their edicts en masse.
Once the consent of the governed has been lost, it is very difficult to regain. Fortunately, in the United States, we have a history of fair and free elections to serve as a pressure relief valve.
Elections are the ultimate gauge of the consent of the governed, and this is why all Americans should be very concerned about efforts by the totalitarian party to undo the one-person-one-vote principle through ending state voter identification requirements and mandating mail-in balloting. According to RealClearPolitics reporting, federal Election Assistance Commission data since 2012 shows “that nearly one in five of all absentee ballots and ballots mailed to voters residing in states that do elections exclusively by mail” have gone missing.
This amounts to more than 28 million ballots.
Now critics of this analysis argue that many of these lost ballots were deliberately not cast by those who received them and certainly in some cases that is true. However, in last months virtually all mail-in election in Wisconsin, in just one mail processing center, three tubs of mailed-in ballots were discovered with no postmark, uncounted.
In 2018, Broward County, Florida police found a bin marked “provisional ballots” with unmarked ballots in the trunk of an Avis rental car. Apparently, the notoriously weak ballot security in this Democratic Party stronghold includes letting live ballots float around to be cast or not cast by anyone who might have possession of them.
Consent of the governed demands that the people believe that elections are honest. And in a time when states like California utilize a system for ballot collection which has been determined by other states to be fraught with fraud potential, the sense that we have free and fair elections has never been more under legitimate attack.
Law-abiding Americans are taking to the streets in mass civil disobedience to pandemic shutdown edicts in much of our nation. The shutdown has created unprecedented unemployment, increased suicides and the inhumanity of not being able to be with our loved ones during their most vulnerable last hours of life in the hospital.
The Senate should reject the left’s attempt to change our election systems at this critical moment, making them less secure than ever. One only needs to remember the year 2000, when George W. Bush won Florida and hence the election by under 600 votes out of more than 6 million cast to understand that we cannot have our elections decided by a single post office failing to deliver marked ballots, or worse by an entrepreneurial political party gathering and casting ballots for unsuspecting voters.
Our nation is at a tipping point, and if we lose the consensus that the consent of the governed is honestly represented at the ballot box, the results will be tragic with the end being the likely fall of the United States of America as we know it.
Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.
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