By Wayne William Cipriano
All this noise about the Russian interference in our last Presidential election has gotten my attention to the point that rather than stare blankly at the television screen waiting the start of Jeopardy, I’ve actually paid some attention to whatever tidbits of information that the blow-dried, facial-lifted news readers have been told to read to me.
As close as I can figure it, and you better check me on this, not one American vote for any Presidential candidate during the last election was changed by the Russians. That’s not to say that they didn’t want one candidate over the other, or didn’t try to effect the election or won’t, for that matter, try again next time, but they didn’t get it done last time.
As I said, I only know what I’ve been told by media reporters who do, I have to admit, have a higher accuracy quotient than weather forecasters, but that’s pretty much all you can say for them. The want to be first, right doesn’t play as important a part. And was there ever a time electronic media told us what’s what, regardless of what we wanted to be told? Fodder for a future column…
It seems there are two types of electoral interference being discussed. The type mentioned above we might classify as mechanical. By that I mean actually changing the true vote count by changing existing votes, adding or subtracting votes, and so on. The other type of election interference is less pernicious and far more difficult to prevent, if preventing is even Constitutionally permissible. That second type I’ll call propaganda, to coin a word.
A foreign government providing propaganda or even completely factual information for or against and American candidate may seem distasteful, even illegal, but within the real meaning of freedom of speech, press and expression such prevision is entirely acceptable. If the information is true we ought to hear it regardless of the source and take care to differentiate between the facts presented and the commentary and interpretation placed upon those facts by anyone – foreign govern-ment, local bartender or anyone else. Propaganda presents a task to us as rational voters: find out what part of the propaganda is true (almost always there is a small amount of truth buried within it somewhere) and what part is the idiotic blabbering almost always piled on that little nugget of truth. Unfortunately, we must rely on our education, our experience, our information sources to determine what is propaganda and what part of it, if any, is reliable. GIGO: garbage in, garbage out. If we have no significant education, no germane experience, no reliable information sources, and no person we trust to help us out here, we can easily be manipulated to believe some really stupid stuff. Remember Hillary’s child sex slave ring operating out of the back door of a pizza shop somewhere in New Jersey? Fortunately, most propagan-da is easily recognized for what it is by rational adults willing to examine the facts even when they do not support our preconceptions.
The other type of election interfer-ence, which I call mechanical, is extremely easily to defeat. All we have to do is use paper ballots counted by simple machines never connected to the internet and that are double checked by human groups each made up of representatives of each candidate.
Sure, the counting would take longer. We might even have to wait a day or God forbid, even two days to find out who our president would be. So what? Maybe our fellow citizens, noticing the time spent on tabulation might realize voting is important, might even get off their … sofas and vote in large numbers. Perhaps those in Alaska and Hawaii might even feel their votes actually mean something.
But for sure would be little potential for vote tampering if those votes were cast, counted, and announced in each voting venue, after the polls closed in Hawaii, overseen by party and candidate representatives.
If this “huge” problem of Russian election interference that saturates the news and seems to monopolize every Congressional committee is so easily believed by such low-tech responses, why not go ahead and solve it and then move on to deal with some of the other “huge” problems we face like removing Grizzly Bears from the endangered species list of some western National Park and other really important stuff like that?