Don't Box Me In

I’ve spent a bit of time talking about elections, and my concerns about the stunts that are increasingly becoming common on the Democratic side towards manipulating — if not openly rigging — the results. The ACORN games with voter registrations, the recounting stunts, the voter frauds — it all gets me angry.

And, as in so many cases, at the root of my anger is fear.

Oh, I’m not afraid of the occasional stolen election. We’re a big country, and we can survive the occasional triumph of corruption. We’re innately a self-correcting nation; such things have a way of working themselves out, over time.

No, what I’m afraid of in these cases is my own side. It’s the right that has me truly nervous when it comes to election fraud.

There’s an old saying that American freedom stands upon three boxes: the soap box, the ballot box, and the ammunition box.

That’s a metaphorical way of describing three essential freedoms that are the guardians of liberty: the right to free speech, the right to free and fair elections, and the right to keep and bear arms.

To many on the right, those freedoms are under attack, and have been for years, by the left.

Free speech? Tell that to those who’ve run afoul of “politically incorrect” speech, such as Michael Richards or Mel Gibson. Tell that to those in college who are shackled by “speech codes” and rules against “hate speech” and whatnot.

Or look at talk radio. A lot of fans of talk radio like to say how their favorite hosts “tell it like it is” or “speak for me” or some such. And look at how the organized left is going after Glenn Beck. They’re doing pretty much all they can to get him off the air — applying pressure to his bosses, organizing boycotts of his sponsors, even getting some members of Congress to put pressure on his advertisers. A couple of years ago, every single Democrat in the Senate signed a letter to Rush Limbaugh’s bosses attacking him over a BS point.

That these efforts fail are irrelevant. That they are being attempted — and might succeed — is the frightening part. So there goes the sanctity of the soap box.

Also, for years, the right to keep and bear arms has been under attack. The stupid “assault weapons ban” was probably one of the dumber laws ever passed — it was best described as “the scary-looking guns ban.” Firearms were outlawed based not on their misuse by criminals or killing potential, but purely cosmetic elements that had no bearing on helping kill innocents.

President Obama himself has signaled that he’s no 2nd Amendment champion. He’s backed arguments that the 2nd Amendment is a “collective right,” and not an individual right (making it the only place in the Constitution where “the people” does not refer to individuals), and his party has earned the title of “gun-grabbers.”

So there goes the sanctity of the ammunition box.

What’s left? The ballot box. And that’s what is being attacked, every election.

Three foundations of American freedom. Three boxes, each the guarantor of that freedom. All three, under attack.

I certainly don’t think it’s the intent of the left, to erode the faith so many Americans have in those three foundations, but that’s the consequence of their actions. And that’s frightening.

Two of those boxes represent our faith in our system. As long as we can speak freely and as long as our elections are free and fair, we can trust that America’s tendency towards self-correction will take care of things. We can accept that our system will give us occasional wins and losses, but in the long run things will be OK.

Take away our faith in those boxes, and there goes our investment in our system. (Note that I said “our faith.” In matters such as this, perception trumps reality, because we react to what we believe, not necessarily what is. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.) And when that faith and investment is gone, then it’s time to break open that third box and restore the first two.

And as is often noted by the right whenever the left starts talking about violent revolution, we’re the side with the most guns.

Now that’s not a threat. I don’t own any guns myself. Never have, don’t think I ever will. But I see a lot of people on “my” side, and I think I understand them fairly well. And that’s what I’m hearing.

Here’s an example — Wizbang commenter Brian Richard Allen. (Sorry, Brian, but you pretty much prompted this entire piece.) I’m sure he’s a fine guy, and I appreciate that he most often backs me up, but he’s a pretty good exemplar of the far right wing — and I have no problems with imagining him taking up arms when he decides that the left has gone too far in assaulting the integrity of the ballot box.

I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to see that. (For one, as I said, Brian’s been a longtime reader/commenter/supporter, and we can’t really afford to have him or others like him locked up or killed.) So I do what I can to minimize the provocations that get through unchallenged. One of the factors that pushes me to blog about the matters I do is the thought in the back of my mind: “if I don’t get out in front of this, if I don’t express my outrage and speak out against these things, if I don’t give voice to the anger, then the folks who get really angry might decide that words aren’t enough.”

Or, as I said in an earlier piece, we “moderates” are the ones standing between the liberals and the extremists on our side. We’re the ones keeping them in check.

Brian, I don’t want you to feel like the case study in this matter, so I’m going to ask the other readers who consider themselves staunch conservatives a couple of questions.

First, when I write pieces like the “three boxes” analysis above, do you find yourself nodding and saying “yeah, that’s right. That’s just what I feel?”

Second, when you read articles that evoke that response, do you find yourself relaxing a little, feeling a touch more secure that you’re not alone in feeling and believing those things?

That’s not my ego speaking. That’s literally years and years of blogging and collecting comments (over 92,000 at last count), and picking up on certain themes.

And that’s part of why I keep doing this.

And that’s why I get so angry every time I hear about yet another story of Democrats screwing around with free and fair elections. On top of everything else, it’s just stupid — the potential gains (a single election) simply don’t compare to the potential losses (scandal, jail, and possible violent backlash).

So cut the shit. Rein in your nutcases (ACORN, New Black Panthers, Organizing For America, SEIU, and all the rest) before “my” side decides to do the cleaning up themselves.

Because it won’t be pretty.

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During the planning (well, thinking about) stage of this article, I broached the general topic with commenter (and more) JamesH. He pointed out that what I was saying bore more than a little resemblance to Malcolm X’s famous “The Bullet Or The Ballot” speech, and damn if he wasn’t right. Some truths are universal.

It’s also worth noting that in that speech, Malcolm X holds special scorn for the Democratic party…

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Monday Morning Argument