I generally try to stay out of politics, especially online, but I guess the stress of the last year is getting to me…and I have accepted the challenge from Summer Kinard (the editor of Park End Books and Darkness is as Light) to blog more frequently in the New Year. So, since I had already written this letter to our illustrious senator John Neely Kennedy, I now share it with you, and check off “blog this week” from my to-do list.
If you’re wondering what I’m responding to, the statement Kennedy, Ted Cruz, and others posted can be read here.
Dear Senator Kennedy,
I am writing to you as one of your constituents from Lafayette. I was initially happy that you won election to be our senator, as I had heard you on Jim Engster’s show several times and found your ideas to be reasonable and generally in line with my own. Since your election, however, I have been repeatedly disappointed in your continual pandering to the whims of President Trump and the far right wing of the Republican party, sometimes even to the detriment of your own constituency.
Up to this point, I have considered this the sort of “playing politics” that we can’t seem to escape in today’s political climate. While I wasn’t happy about some of your statements and votes, I have not felt compelled to contact you until today.
This morning it came to my attention that you intend to vote to reject the electors of states whose elections were decided by narrow margins. I think this is a terrible idea, and there are several reasons why. I will follow the format of your public statement to elucidate them.
First, your concern seems to be not that there actually was election fraud, but that many people BELIEVE there may have been election fraud. While I agree that it is vital in a democracy (or a republic) for the people to have faith in the public institutions, and the elections process in particular, I find it disingenuous for the very people who have stoked, if not created, this distrust with their own statements to now say that distrust is so rampant that we should not trust our elections. If you want people to have faith in the elections, please convince your fellow party members to stop lamenting (without evidence) how fraudulent they are.
Secondly, in the statement you suggest that if the Supreme Court had heard the two cases that were brought to it, this whole problem might somehow have been solved. The Supreme Court is not required to hear all cases brought to it; it is its prerogative to decline to hear a case that it finds to have been satisfactorily dealt with in the lower courts. It is telling that out of the dozens of voter fraud cases which were lodged after this election, only two even were worthy to be considered for a hearing by the Supreme Court. To claim that the election ought not to be certified because Republican lawyers brought a slew of unsubstantiated claims of fraud and the Supreme Court declined to waste their time any of them is ludicrous.
If your true motive is to shore up faith in our elections, it is unclear to me why Senator McConnell has not brought to the floor a request for a special commission prior to now. Why wait until two weeks before the inauguration, when he has had two months since the election to address this problem?
If you’ve read this far, Senator Kennedy, I commend you and thank you for taking the thoughts of your constituents seriously. I’d like to take just a moment more to express to you why I think that it is so vitally important that you vote to accept the electors of all the states on January 6.
As you are well aware, we are in an extremely divisive political climate. We have had an election; all the evidence suggests that it was as free and fair as could be hoped. Undoubtedly, if there were actual evidence of the sort of wide-spread voter fraud that the Trump administration, for one, claims, they would have brought it out long before now. Yet this has simply not happened. Thus based on the evidence, to continue to claim that the elections were “rigged” is not only a lie, but is the very basis for the lack of faith in elections that you and your co-authors lament.
It is in your power, and the power of your Republican colleagues, to change the narrative. I understand that voting to reject the electors will play well with much of the staunchly conservative base here in Louisiana; I implore you to step above petty politics and look out for the good of the nation as a whole. Take a stand for the truth, Senator Kennedy. If there is no evidence, despite two months of searching by election officials and Republican supporters, why drag our elections through the mud any longer?
What our country needs to restore its faith in our elections is not more grandstanding, not more political theater, and not a 10-day commission. It is for men and women of good faith to tell the truth about the facts as they are, and to allow our political process to continue to work, as it has done for over two centuries now.
Thank you for your time, Senator Kennedy. May God bless you in your work on our behalf, and I wish you all the best in this new year.
Happy New Year, y’all.