BY GARY STRADLING
Thank you, people of Los Alamos county. The voice of the voters is and should be paramount.
It has been interesting and fun to run for a County Council seat.
I have really enjoyed the chance to interact with so many of you, to come to your homes, to meet you in the park, to observe your humanity, your variety of unique tastes and displays, your lovely homes, your families, and in other cases, your special needs and challenges. We are a diverse and wonderful community.
Confirmation bias is a natural part of being a candidate, because we pay particular attention to those who affirm our positions and our efforts. It is hard to count those who are silent. Those of you who were just being polite, thank you for being polite. Still I thought and I still think that sufficient housing was a critical issue for the county, and that I had a lot of support. Understanding the implications of our local election results will be an ongoing study. It appears that, in spite of me trying to focus on local issues, that national politics have dominated our county race. We had an amazing turnout for a midterm race.
As I said (quietly to family and close friends) from the beginning of my campaign, “Winning the election will be the second prize. It holds the heavy burden of delivering on a serious promise, and being harnessed into the difficult and time-consuming job of governance. Returning to retirement, with all of its pleasures and freedoms, is the top prize.” But I gave it all I have, without reserve, of time and effort, and communication skills. That was because I see your need and I wanted to help.
With regard to the repeated demands that I state a position on the 2020 election: I believe in the rule of law.
Resolving our issues through legal processes is essential to our continued success as a nation. We must have free and fair elections, and confidence in them. Everyone with a legal right and a desire to vote must have unimpeded access to cast their vote. All legitimate votes and only legitimate votes must be counted. All invested parties must be able to have confidence that the election outcome is fair.
A critical part of successful representative government is the prompt adjudication of questions. This has come up in many elections, over the centuries, from the beginning of representative government.
The failure of responsible officials to promptly, openly, and authoritatively examine the allegations surrounding the 2020 presidential election resulted in intensifying agitation up to January 6 and beyond.
I do not justify any who knowingly put forward spurious and intentionally-fabricated allegations of election fraud. But there is plenty of room for misunderstanding, confusion, and partisan enmity in this complicated polling process.
The many court cases that were dismissed for lack of standing, etc., without a public examination of the allegations, and a chance for cross examination, did not resolve these issues. Partisan media asserting falseness or trueness was inappropriate, since they do not have standing in the adjudication of the questions. Their role should be to only report the allegations. They only intensified the divide.
The president’s team, appealing to legal, though rare, ambiguous, and unprecedented constitutional processes to resolve the legally-unresolved questions of the elections, through appeals to state legislatures, was fraught with uncertainty that added confusion to the issue.
Bill Clinton, in the middle of his own presidential impeachment hearings, said to me, “Never give up. Never, never give up.”
So, I do not believe that then-President Trump was committing insurrection by appealing to these legal processes, however unprecedented. Most of those who came to the Capitol Mall on January 6, 2021 were there to show support for his legal efforts for a true and fair election. And really, don’t you think, if insurrection were the intent of those 10’s of thousands of demonstrators, they all could have brought more relevant tactical assault equipment than flags, thermoses, and folding chairs?! Those few who came with the intent to wreak havoc, who brought weapons, and who did illegal acts, should be tried and punished according to the law. We are a nation of laws. Staying within the law is our only hope.
I think that former-president Trump and the January 6 demonstrators were following Bill Clinton’s dictum: “Never, never give up.”
You and I have seen the January 6 House Panel, a highly partisan group who appear to be convinced that the January 6 activity was an insurrection, use all of the legal resources of the US Government to try to identify any illegalities, including acts of insurrection, on the part of then-President Trump. They are the same accusers who failed, over years of effort, to prove accusations of Trump collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. They clearly believe that he must have intended insurrection, but have not succeeded in showing it.
History is replete with cases of such judgmental bodies and their supporting organizations just making up evidence, resorting to torture, suborning witnesses, or adopting the Che Guevara philosophy: “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary.” Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s head of secret police, said, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” It has also been demonstrated that some people within the United States judicial and intelligence bureaucracies have acted with partisan bias against former President Trump. Still, for all of their passion and partisan malice, our rule of law has prevailed. May it continue to do so. Hurrah for America!
With regard to the 2020 election, I believe that the rule of law has finally prevailed. Authorized officials from the handful of relevant jurisdictions have only recently, in May of this year, finally published their detailed findings. They say that the accusations that were leveled have resulted in identification of some instances of election fraud, but not enough to change the results of the election of Joe Biden to the presidency. That authoritative statement is a critical part of the process.
The questions of the 2020 election do not stand alone, but are in company with a cacophony of similar questions from both parties, concerning national, state, and local elections. Our local papers just announced the conviction and sentencing of the wife of a local Espanola official for election tampering. Given the great importance of the election integrity issue, I call on our elected officials to stand back from partisan positions and unite in expediting resolution of election vulnerability questions at every level. I also call for professional and focused resolution of the well-documented cyber-vulnerabilities of electronic voting.
I was happy to participate in the election process certification in Los Alamos County before the primary election this year. I was satisfied that the process was acceptable. We must always have secure and confident elections that reflect the will of the electorate.