Is It a ‘Frivolous Effort to Disenfranchise Millions,’ or Do They Need a Remedial English Lesson?

By Tom Gilson Published on December 11, 2020

Some of you need a lesson in English. I’m talking to all of you who want to call the Texas-led election lawsuit “a frivolous effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans.”  You know who you are.

This is maddening. You shouldn’t be using words like these unless you know what they mean. I hate to play the schoolteacher, but if you need a lesson in definitions, you need a lesson, even if it has to be a remedial one.

“Evidence”

I’d start with the word “frivolous,” but some of you are going to say it really is frivolous because “there’s no evidence of fraud.” We can show loads and loads of evidence, but you’ll insist on saying it isn’t evidence because you can think of other ways to explain it all. Apparently you missed my lesson on the word “evidence” last month.

You do realize, don’t you, that courts admit evidence even if one side might have another explanation? Do you think there’s something unusual about that? If you want frivolous, try this one: “Your honor, I move that exhibit A be removed from evidence because I can think of other ways to interpret it.” You’d be slapped quick with a contempt citation for that one.

“Frivolous”

Back to “frivolous.” The word means “trivial, unimportant, bothersome.” I think you think it only means “bothersome,” or even “we wish it would just go away.” Some of you want to spin it as Trump playing his nasty distasteful games, being the sore loser, trying to steal the election. You think the best thing is to call him out for it, then ignore him. Let him go away. And good riddance!

Except it isn’t just Donald Trump. It’s Texas, too, and a third of the rest of the states. It’s tens of millions of voters. You can dismiss Trump all you want (I won’t bother trying to correct you on that), but what about the rest of us? Are you dismissing us, too? Do you hope we’ll go away, too? Is that what you’re saying?

Then there’s the integrity of the election itself. I’m on record saying it’s no longer about Trump or Biden, it’s about whether we’re still a democratic republic, whose leaders are chosen by the people. Is that frivolous, too? What if this election was stolen by corruption? What if millions of us want to be confident it wasn’t stolen? Don’t we have the right to pursue that question to its legal end? Doesn’t this country need that assurance? Some of us would rather this country not become another Venezuela. Is that frivolous, too?

And then there’s our very real concern that millions of us have been disenfranchised by corruption in a few big cities. How frivolous is that? But now we need to explain that other big word for you.

“Disenfranchised”

You’re saying this is one huge attempt to “disenfranchise millions of voters.” You’re thinking about how the Supreme Court might declare lots of votes invalid in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. That fits one definition of the word, but surely you know that’s not the only one.

Stuffing ballot boxes, double- and triple-counting votes to make sure your side wins — that’s all about making sure that only your votes count. It’s disenfranchising everyone else.

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So if the Court decides it has to invalidate some votes, even millions of them, that’s not disenfranchisement, it’s the Court’s best after-the-fact attempt to remedy disenfranchisement.

Is it a bad answer? Probably, but there’s only one good answer, honest elections on the first Tuesday in November, and it’s too late for that one now. If bad actors leave us nothing but bad answers to choose from, then we choose one and call it the best we can do.

So if it turns out that way, don’t blame Texas. Don’t blame the Supreme Court. Don’t even blame Donald Trump. Blame the people who broke the law. They’re responsible, not the ones trying to do things legally.

“Stealing the Election” — and “Honesty” and “Integrity”

That was a silly thing to say, though, wasn’t it? I know full well you’ll blame Trump. You’ll say he “stole the election.” Your people will take to the streets by the thousands, setting fires, smashing windows, looting, and killing, screaming Trump STOLE the election!”

I could try to explain this to you in advance, along with the rest of this English lesson. If the Supreme Court decides that Biden stole the election, that does not mean that Trump stole it. That’s not hard, is it?

Of course it isn’t. You know it as well as I do. But you’ll scream it anyway: “Trump STOLE the election!” It doesn’t have to be true; it just has to be something you can spin.

So what shall I do now? Shall I go on to re-teaching you the words “honesty” and “integrity”? No, your problem there isn’t with definitions. You just have to decide you care about such things, which is another lesson altogether. I sincerely hope you’re up to speed on it.

 

Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the recently released Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.

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