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Nowhere To Be Found

I do not pretend to know the truth about events that I did not actually witness. I look for answers, I do research, I watch the news and read, but in the end, it would be presumptuous to say I know the truth about stuff I have no personal connection to.
But bring up the issue of election fraud, and everybody’s an expert. Biden voters and social media censors are certain they know the truth, and that those who disagree are seditionists. A former Department of Defense prosecutor wants every business in America to stipulate that the 2020 election was “accurate”. Since no serious forensic investigations have ever been performed, you have to wonder, what makes them so certain nothing extraordinary happened?
I resent people who claim to know the “truth” about election fraud or any controversy, when they are in fact just reporting or passing along second hand accounts. In our legal system, judges allow witnesses that are willing to swear under oath and penalty of perjury that their testimony is true, to the best of their knowledge. Bearing witness means what you saw was essentially factual. But reporting, sharing or speculating is never allowed in court because it is not necessarily accurate. Similarly, news and social media reports and expert opinion should never be characterized as “truth”. Most of what all of us know about current events is technically “hearsay”.
In our digital information world, it is nearly impossible to distinguish what is real and what isn’t unless you see it with your own eyes. Even then, it is easy to be fooled by lighting, perspective, distance or illusion. Recent video technology allows for digital manipulation so it is almost impossible to detect “Deep Fake” video content. Most people vet information using a “smell test”: If it smells fishy, it probably is not accurate.
Would you agree that we all have to temper our knowledge with at least a spoonful of healthy skepticism? That most of what we store in our mental library probably isn’t 100% accurate?
“Fullness of knowledge always means some understanding of the depths of our ignorance; and that is always conducive to humility and reverence.”
—Robert Andrews Millikan
The recent election was a major turning point in American history. Not because of the differences in political perspectives, but for the first time in our history, millions of Americans don’t think the results pass the smell test. Right or wrong, that is how they reacted to the long delays in reporting results, to the sudden spikes in voter trends, to the vast numbers of “glitches” and misplaced ballots. We have had disputed elections before, but in this instance the expanded voting windows, unverified absentee and mail-in ballots and the use of internet connected voting machines invited a deep sense of insecurity. Everyone understands just how pernicious cyber-crime is, so of course many Americans voters feel threatened by removing the human element from the chain of ballot custody.
Since the Supreme Court decided it would not even review expert testimony or witness depositions taken under oath, we will probably never know the truth about what happened. Nobody will.
The “truth” is, doubts over election integrity have shaken the very foundations of our Republic. For millions of Americans, election integrity has been seriously wounded, while millions more think the process has never been healthier. Without the Supreme Court weighing the evidence, this malignant tumor won’t be going away anytime soon.
“The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence.”
— Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, dissenting opinion
In America, we rely on the Judicial Branch to seek the truth, but if we don’t bother looking for it, “truth” is nowhere to be found.

Rick Elkin is an artist, author and cultural commentator. His most recent book, “The Illusion of Knowledge: Why So Many Educated Americans Embrace Marxism” is available at RickElkin.com.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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