Thursday, March 30, 2023

OPINION: Honesty matters

by EVAN KOCH/More Perfect Union
| December 28, 2022 1:00 AM

Readers of the Press could be forgiven if they ignored or dismissed a recent opinion piece by a writer who claimed that the violent Jan. 6 insurrectionists were merely “patriotic Americans with serious concerns about the integrity of the election calling for an investigation.”

After all, it was only that writer’s opinion, and the election was not overturned.

And after all, courts determined that no evidence supports the claim of election fraud sufficient to overturn the 2020 election.

That means the stolen election theory is a lie, a lie devised to deceive people about the 2020 election. A lie meant to diminish confidence in the vote count, a lie that incited a riot that resulted in the deaths of several people including a few police officers.

It is unfortunate that anyone continues to peddle the stolen election lie, and that some readers evidently continue to buy it.

But to ignore or to dismiss the stolen election lie is not just short sighted. It’s dangerous. The stolen election lie threatens voter confidence in our elections. And voter confidence in elections is a basic building block of democracy.

That’s one reason why the stolen election lie is capitalized and called the BIG LIE.

The BIG LIE might not destroy democracy all by itself, but if it’s repeated often enough, the BIG LIE becomes normalized and people accept it as true. That gives the liars permission to expand on it and to spread new lies without being concerned for their ethical implications. It is a treacherous and slippery slope.

Consider Marjorie Taylor Green, who the KCGOP invited to deliver the keynote address at their 2023 Lincoln Day Dinner.

A few keystrokes on the computer produces long lists from reputable sources of her lies and distortions. The lists include lies about white supremacists, election insecurity, the First Amendment, LGBTQ+ people, and race based violence. Sen. Mitch McConnell says Marjorie Taylor Green's lies are a “cancer” on the Republican Party.

Why then would Marjorie Taylor-Green be invited to speak in Coeur d’Alene on a day that honors Abraham Lincoln, the president who saved our divided nation from slave-holding insurrectionists?

The people who invited her must think that Kootenai County citizens don’t care about honesty, or that we are not smart enough to see through Marjorie Taylor Green’s lies.

Perhaps the people who invited Marjorie Taylor Green to Coeur d’Alene want to further divide and damage our democracy. Whatever the reason, these people feel free to hire a liar.

In fact, this is not the first time they hired a liar to address the Lincoln Day Dinner. Just last year they invited Dinesh D’Souza, who produced a film that accused Democrats of paying “mules” to collect and deposit illegal ballots in swing states to alter the 2020 election. There was absolutely no evidence to support this ridiculous theory.

When Ms. Taylor Green comes to town, we should force her to substantiate every assertion she makes.

Instead of taking her words at face value, we (the concerned citizens, the noble businesses and professions and the media) should all demand that Ms. Taylor Green provide evidence to support her odious opinions.

Words have consequences, they hurt people, and they deceive others and incite them to violence. As a member of Congress Marjorie Taylor Green should speak honestly about ways for us to build a peaceful and more perfect union.

If we find that Ms. Taylor Green’s claims are hateful and not worth taking seriously, Kootenai County should call her out. If we determine that she cannot support her views with facts or evidence, we should condemn and reject Marjorie Taylor Green altogether.

It’s not OK for Kootenai County citizens to stand by and be hoodwinked by the people who invite and welcome liars like Marjorie Taylor Green.

As we mark the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2020, insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, we can only hope that people will debate respectfully and reject dishonesty. And that the truth will prevail.

Because honesty matters.

Evan Koch is chairman of the Kootenai County Democrats.

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