It is true that elections have consequences, but apart from those immediate actions within any elected term, there are reverberations which can be transformative well beyond one’s time in office and serve to reinforce, or undermine, American order. But why does order matter?
When one speaks of order in the United States, it does not merely apply to safe streets and active countering of crime. It also applies to a continuity of system, of stable institutions, and of functioning processes.
If we trace the path of American history, there are a series of such consequential elections, the effects of which have remained with us to the present day. Consider the effects on American order even just as they relate to elections.
George Washington’s elevation to office demonstrated that the American electoral system was not only brilliant, but workable. His decision to voluntarily leave the presidency after two terms in office was reflective of the only other shining example in history in which a human being voluntarily surrendered such power — that of Cincinnatus, the Roman farmer who, during a crisis, was made dictator, and subsequently and voluntarily returned to his fields after the crisis had passed.
The defeat of the incumbent John Adams to Thomas Jefferson in 1800 was also crucial because it proved peaceful transfers of power in even an impassioned environment were possible — and became the model for subsequent election decisions and the American order.
Since Washington, power has been peacefully transferred 44 times. This is no small accomplishment, and is nothing to take for granted especially given what we know of human nature and human history across the globe. Until Franklin Delano Roosevelt, no other American president pursued a fourth, let alone a third term in office, respecting the two-term precedent and tradition inaugurated by Washington. Roosevelt’s tenure subsequently led to a Constitutional amendment to limit the time an American could serve as president to two terms.
The stability of the American political system is one of its most treasured, and tenuous, elements. Like the early years of our republic, Americans again face a moment of decision in which the fate of law and order will be in the balance.
Over the past summer, protests-turned-riots led to widespread destruction, intimidation, and violence. Callous and irresponsible local elected leaders refused to support their police agencies and residents amid the turmoil for purely Jacobinian political purposes. Their abandonment of law and order resulted in crime spikes and increased violence that have continued into the present.
Across the nation, Americans have watched as their fellow countrymen and women lost their businesses, their neighborhoods, and their lives to radical leftists who have taken to the streets calling for an overthrow of the American order and established “autonomous zones.” Another radical leftist group is even now preparing to “shut down” the nation’s capital should Joe Biden lose on Election Day. Within the past week, a member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee and his father had a shotgun fired after their truck by a Biden supporter.
It took the Democrats months to come out against such violence, after those like Congressman Jerry Nadler dismissed the rise of groups like Antifa and their tactics as a “myth” and CNN reported on the “fiery, but mostly peaceful protest” in Kenosha.
If this wasn’t enough, the Hunter Biden laptop controversy underscores threats to accountability and freedom of speech. The laptop contains alleged documents and photographs revealing corrupt dealings between the Bidens and foreign governments. The automatic reaction of social media and technological giants to suppress the story included targeting the New York Post, which broke the story — and banning them from Twitter. Meanwhile, reports have emerged that the FBI has had the laptop in its possession since 2019 — which itself engenders any number of questions.
To this could be added any other number of stances taken by many on the left to undermine order: to eliminate the electoral college; to pack the Supreme Court; to form a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to, among other things, target those who supported President Trump; calls by a Democratic leader in Colorado to commit crimes and violence; and an apparent cash-for-ballots scheme in Minnesota — and the list of expedient, political maneuvers continues.
Our republic, however, is built on deeper, moral truths, which require law and order for the administering of justice wherein the rights of individuals, as well as their safety, are upheld. It is not only freedom which requires eternal vigilance, but justice as well.
President Trump, conservatives, and the Republican Party have renewed their dedication to those timeless American principles of freedom, law, order, and justice implemented and ennobled by the Founders — for all Americans. They should be supported in so doing. The decision that Americans make at the polls on Nov. 3 will invariably matter not just for the next four years, but well beyond.
Joe Vigliotti, a contributor to The Flip Side and a Taneytown city councilman, writes from Taneytown. His column appears every other Friday. Email him through his website at www.jvigliotti.com.