In recent months, Republican legislators in Raleigh continue to produce new and awful wonders to behold, from SB20, the “forced birth bill,” and before that, anti-trans regulation. We will see more of the latter in the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, where Republican legislators are scoring culture war points with their base by attacking trans kids. And there’s the state budget that starves public education in two ways, by further reducing taxes, thereby reducing revenue for education, and by giving vouchers to wealthy families to send their children to private, unregulated Christian academies.

Of special significance for us is the forthcoming elections bill, ominously titled, “An Act to Make Various Changes to Election Law.” We’ll know more in the next few days, but the sixteen-page bill will surely contain additional burdens on voters and local County Boards of Election, all in the name of “Election Integrity.” As per this story in WRAL, Cleta Mitchell, nationally-known Trump supporter and election denier, has been consulting with Republicans on this legislation.

Jim Womack, who leads the North Carolina chapter of Mitchell’s group, Elections Integrity Network, uttered this memorable phrase, defending his project: “Even if there’s not any evidence of it, there’s certainly a lot of smoke coming off the 2020 elections.”

“Not any evidence.” There it is, right there. There’s no fire, but there’s plenty of smoke, and the smoke is coming off the Republicans, not from any systematic problem with election integrity. The solution to this problem is not to further burden voters and poll workers with needless regulations. This legislation is like giving chemotherapy to someone who doesn’t have cancer. The solution is to stop saying that the patient is ill.

Indeed, if we look for illness, one place to look is at the Republicans themselves. The picture in the header, is the mountain “home” of Mark Meadows and Debbie Meadows. This place, located at 495 McConnell Rd., in Scaly Mountain, NC, is the dwelling that Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff in 2020-21, declared as his legal voting address so he and his wife could vote absentee in North Carolina in 2020. It goes without saying that Mark Meadows and Debbie Meadows did not live here. Keep this picture in mind if ever you need a quick visual representation of “integrity” when it comes to Republican claims about elections fraud. Meadows, by the way, is a senior partner at the Elections Integrity Network. Scaly indeed!

If you let it, this stuff can drive you crazy. Still, it is important to clearly name and be aware of such things, though not to be infuriated or incapacitated by them. Know them, remember them, store them away for future reference if needed, and then ask, “Ok, what am I going to do about it?”


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