Editorial: Attack on democracy barely camouflaged

Column By John Young

I had so hoped that a menacingly masked poll watcher would be nearby where I went to cast my vote last week.

I wanted to explain democracy to him.

I felt so envious of the Arizona voters in Maricopa County incensed to see camouflage-clad clowns hanging around and watching them at their ballot drop boxes.

What an act. Jealously I watched the video from Arizona of Paramilitary Moe and Camo Curly doing their stooge thing.

At least one woman looked one of them in the eye and gave him the kind of talk I’d love to deliver:

“So, what’s that semi-auto sidearm for, guy?” I’d say. “Can’t take on the League of Women Voters without it? When do you call in Larry for backup?”

Curly and Moe wore tactical vests, Jan. 6 regalia for MAGA goons.

“Thanks for masking,” I’d tell him. “Who knows what microbes you’re carrying.”

Considering how many of the MAGA crowd denounced vaccines, contagions could be swimming in these people like schools of guppies.

Back during the 2016 election, as people arrived at the height of the pandemic to cast their votes at the courthouse in my town, a group of anti-mask Trumpites stood nearby and made remarks at people arriving with faces covered to protect against COVID.

One of these sad agitators edged up to a woman whose face was covered and heaved breath the voter’s way as she put her ballot in the drop box. What a germ he is.

As said, I was sorely disappointed that no jerks like Camo Curly and Paramilitary Moe were nearby when my turn came.

The ballot drop box — white with red and blue highlights — beckoned with American pride in stark contrast to their glowering eminence.

The super shadiness of these costumed role players – these overnight commandos — is emblematic of the entire MAGA movement.

What is their deal? What is their grievance? What is their objective? Who or what is their enemy?

Is it the 81 million Americans who knew Joe Biden was better for this nation than the conniving con man he replaced in the White House?

That was 7 million more than the Prince of MAGA.

Republicans claim – sans evidence – the 2020 election was marred by “massive fraud.” It takes one with the brains of tropical fish, however, to assert there were 7 million votes worth of fraud.

What happened in 2020 was not a steal or a fraud. It was an election, fair and valid. The people spoke. That’s democracy.

Among the loose accusations of the Maricopa minutemen and Republicans is of “mules” illegally harvesting votes.

This is the fruit of a sort of documentary titled “2000 Mules” which the MAGA crowd says exposes the supposed fraud behind the “steal.”

The mules, they say, were trucking countless illegal votes to varied drop boxes.

As Trump claimed, “The ballot box was stuffed, and stuffed like never before, and it’s all on video.”

The film shows a person in Georgia allegedly stuffing a ballot box with a stack of votes.

“What you are witnessing is a crime,” says the narrator.

Not quite. No more so than when I put my wife’s ballot in the drop box before I inserted my own.

Georgia investigated the film’s claim and found that it was a man casting the ballots of his wife and family.

Factcheck.org did an exhaustive analysis of “2000 Mules” and found its claims full of holes.

Lest we not forget: All of the “stop the steal” fiction is made to bolster a lie Trump concocted well before Americans voted.

That lie now is being used by red states to limit how many ballot drop boxes are allowed in individual communities, to abolish voting by mail, to limit early voting, to continue to ratchet up “ballot security” measures that make voting harder for the poor and elderly.

And to inspire scary, armed people to camp out near places where people exercise their right to vote.

I drove away from my drop box location disappointed that I had not seen them.

Then again, maybe they just weren’t visible in their camouflage — a special kind of camo not meant for valor but to stake out a parking lot.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email him at jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.