NOVEMBER 26, 2020
People of my generation may have vague memories of a Gil Scott Heron song, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Its edgy lyrics warned listeners that their trusted media outlets wouldn’t be the ones to bring the news of radical social change to them. Behind the many distractions of silly shows like Green Acres and superficial press conferences with famous politicians, popular outrage would set a fire in the streets. Heron warned that if you only watched the network news, it would take you by surprise.
The litany of cultural pet peeves in Heron’s song inspired many adaptations to this song, like “Revolution Is Not an AOL Keyword,” published back when America Online was still the major force for social media, in the heady pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter days.
As we find with so many social and cultural movements, the left lost its own illustrious political heritage even as they recited the chants that should have rightfully belonged to them. Forty-six years after Gil Scott Heron’s song, now the left finds itself so distracted by the social media, media, and education establishments they dominate, that they’ve missed a revolution happening all across America. The irony is rich.
Yesterday (November 25, 2020), hearings took place in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Organized by a Republican state senator, these hearings served the purpose of airing evidence of massive election fraud in the state of Pennsylvania. Eyewitnesses, willing to swear to their testimony in affidavits and under penalty of perjury, brought forth chilling data that showed a pattern of election tampering. These consisted of election supervisors corralling vote inspectors in pens where they could not see the tabulation of ballots, violent threats and intimidation against voters who raised legal challenges to fraudulent tabulation practices, storage and transportation of hundreds of thousands of ballots with no chain of custody and unclear provenance, and computer algorithms that potentially fabricated or altered hundreds of thousands of ballots.
At stake is of course the presidency of the United States. Pennsylvania is one of six states where legal challenges to the results remain pending. Michigan and Arizona are being contested and will hold hearings similar to Pennsylvania. Recounts in Wisconsin and Georgia have provoked serious doubts that their vote tallies are real. Lastly, a court order in Nevada will permit the presentation of evidence about order of voter fraud there as well on December 3.
We must remember that the leftists’ causes célèbres such as women’s rights and racial justice all pivoted largely around the right of suffrage. Indeed, in this focus they share a common heritage with the founders of the United States, who made the issue of “no taxation without representation” a rallying call. Fighting for women and minorities meant, to a large degree, fighting for their right to vote in authentic elections free of ballot-stuffing, intimidation, ballot-burning, fraud, or disinformation. As much as the left likes to cast Trump supporters as white supremacist misogynists, the left is now siding with the forces that we know (since we have proof) sought to take away their vote. That leaves a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. I dare say the left cannot persevere as a political entity if they have abandoned the idea of universal suffrage.
Obvious to everyone is the fact that enough electoral votes could be taken away from Joe Biden to result in his not gaining 270 votes. If Trump ends up getting over 270 votes through some combination of these six states’ amended counts, he wins. If some states have their electoral tallies thrown out and nobody has over 270, then the vote goes to the House of Representatives under Article 2 of the Constitution. In the House, each state delegation gets one vote, and there are more Republican than Democratic delegations.
Until now, like the dupes to whom Gil Scott Heron addressed his revolutionary anthem in 1974, the left has been so distracted by triumphalist snark that they are largely ignorant of the strong case against Biden’s electoral victory. The hearings in Pennsylvania, which serve as prelude to airings of evidence in the other five states, have barely registered as real in liberals’ minds. They continue to believe, and aggressively argue, that there is no evidence of misconduct in the election and no chance that Biden’s victory will be reversed.
Nobody can trust polls these days, but to the extent that we have any polling data, the left’s position does not look good. Even with a blackout on information by mainstream media (including Fox News) and the social media giants, almost half the population suspects that Biden’s victory occurred through fraud. In a recent Newsmax poll, 65% of the nation supports Trump’s right to contest the election through recounts and audits. A third believes that there was “significant fraud”, and 47% of respondents believe it is possible that Biden’s victory was illegitimate. Polls find that only 3% of Trump voters believe Biden’s victory was entirely clean.
Biden’s own reaction to the controversies indicates where liberals are heading. A sensible person in Biden’s position would take stock of the landscape and show humility. If nothing else, it is dangerous to assume power with half the country believing that you may have cheated your way to the presidency. Practically speaking, Biden would need to assuage the anger of the millions who believe strongly that fraud occurred. Instead, Biden followed the cue of his allies in the media: He brushed aside doubts, declared the controversies settled, and implied that people who still doubted the returns from November 3 must be divisive, bitter, or mentally unsound.
The Biden reaction — blow it off and carry on — has turned the temperature up in the national mood. Were there truly no evidence, he should have shown humility and patience, letting the court cases and hearings play out before declaring victory. But the situation he faces is even worse: There is evidence. A rational review of the facts leads many sane people, including myself, to conclude that the election results as they stand are untrustworthy and need to be thrown out. Some people conclude that Trump actually won. Others might take a median position and say we can’t know who won. Either way, those who do not believe Biden amount to half of a population of 330 million people.
A mental revolution already took place, and it was televised. The catch is that liberals don’t know because they still believe their media outlets, Facebook, and Twitter, all of which made the collective decision to pretend that no evidence of fraud existed and no legitimate person could question Biden’s victory. Some revolutions happen in mental space and time, inside people’s hearts and minds. The point at which half the country rejects a political order and demonstrates defiance of it is a revolution.
The Biblical parable that strikes me at this moment is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. In this story, Jesus tells us that ten maidens had to carry lamps to a wedding banquet. Five of them were wise and knew to bring extra oil. Five were foolish and ran out of oil; when they went back to the market to get more, the wedding banquet started, so the foolish maidens ended up being locked out of the festivities. The wedding banquet is a metaphor for the coming of Christ. The foolish maidens are sent to Hell.
William Blake painted many Biblical scenes, normally adding a pacifist or anti-legalistic touch to all his vignettes. His painting of the wise and foolish virgins comes across as surprisingly judgmental, showing the foolish virgins flailing on their knees while the wise virgins, standing upright, gesture for them to be sent away to eternal damnation.
There are many ways to interpret this parable. One interpretation that fits our current discussion can be summarized as follows. Those who get too comfortable with their comfortable position and fail to concern themselves with a growing threat to their virtue will inevitably fall prey to their foolishness. In the case of the 2020 election, liberals rested too assured of their information blockade and ultimately believed they had truth because they had the power to crush anyone who disagreed with them. As a result, in perhaps the most impactful controversy over a presidential election–indeed, in what became a mental revolution–they utterly missed the point. They arrived at the party late and had empty lamps. They got it wrong.
The revolution was televised, and they weren’t tuned in.