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Guest Opinion: If you don’t vote, don’t blame political leaders

By David Warren–
Joseph Goebbels, approximately 100 years ago, published “Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred. This is the secret of propaganda: Those who are to be persuaded by it should be completely immersed in the ideas of the propaganda, without ever noticing that they are being immersed in it. The essence of propaganda consists in winning people over to an idea so sincerely, so vitally, that in the end they succumb to it utterly and can never escape from it.”

The past week’s virulent event in San Francisco is but one example of what has unfortunately become too  commonplace. David Depape, as too many others preceding him, have acted upon the hateful rhetoric of politicians, so called “influencers,” and political commentators.

Day after day we are bombarded by individuals yelling from the airways and electronic media distressing messages using vicious rhetoric instead of civil discourse. The tools used by propagandists for dictators are suddenly becoming popular. Polling indicates that too many Americans fear that the Republic is in danger while simultaneously feeling helpless to correct the perceived menace to our freedom.

Do not believe that the danger is somewhere else. Because Kanye West’s anti-Semitic rants are not on our doorstep, Robert Jeffress, who is in Texas, said over the weekend that Christian nationalists had a right to “impose their values” on everyone else, and men armed with long guns are parked near ballot drop boxes in Arizona does not mean we as citizens can be complaisant to the threat these individuals pose to us in California.

In the parking lots of Citrus Heights, this author has directly faced religious bigotry on more than one occasion by having his Yarmulka knocked off his head by hateful individuals. In neighboring Orangevale, anti-Semitic flyers have been left on doorsteps. Locally, some candidates are attempting to restrict educators’ ability to teach our students.

On Nov. 8, we will be going to the polls to vote, if we have not already. The news, whether on television, radio or in written press keeps telling us what the pollsters say. Endorsements for candidates and ballot propositions scream that we must vote one way or the other. The stress of life, as described by one working student of “working all day, going to class and studying,” leaves me no time to vote, and “all of the ‘noise’” does not allow me to understand enough to vote.

Local candidates’ advertisements, instead of informing why we should vote for them, spew angry allegations concerning the opposing candidate. The sole and important matter, voting intelligently, is being lost in that noise.

Which of us knows why we should vote in support of instead of voting against a candidate or proposition? Which of you can name the candidate for your district in the municipal, school board, or water district elections?

Whether you vote for a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative, in favor of or against a ballot proposition, the important thing to remember is that for more than two hundred years the Republic has survived because of one important premise, we are all Americans first, united against our enemies, whether foreign or domestic.

The lies being told about the validity of the election process must be ignored. The assertion that America is a “Christian” country must be ignored in light of not only of the question “which Christian faith is the real Christian faith,” but also due to the diversity of religious beliefs in our community.

Don’t believe those that yell from the proverbial rooftops that the sky is falling and that in order to preserve America, we must destroy the very things which the State and United States Constitution guarantees. The simple fact is that our election process has worked for more than 200 years and we must have faith that it will continue to work for the next two hundred years.

Niccolo Machiavelli in 1521, in his treatise “Art of War,” in sum and substance wrote: “When you’re faced with a multitude of opponents arrayed together, a military leader should try to divide the forces of the enemy into weaker parts, primarily by making him suspicious of the men he trusted. Suspicion erodes unity.”

Isn’t that what the angry, both domestic and foreign, are trying to accomplish, dividing us one against another rather than uniting us against the common enemies of pestilence, war and disease.

Our societal ills have no easy solutions. Those candidates who proffer simple solutions for complex problems or blame some person, race, ethnic origin or religion are the very demagogues we need to fear. These individuals either negligently or intentionally have allowed, and in some instances encouraged, extremist individuals to demonstrate their hatred, sometimes violently.

I beg you to all remember Machiavelli’s fateful words, “Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.”

Help preserve our Republic by taking the time, no matter how busy one’s life seems to be, to vote in an informed manner to support your candidate or view concerning a ballot proposition. Do not blame anyone else for your dissatisfaction for our political malaise if you fail to exercise the rights you have that so many around the world do not possess.

David Warren

David Warren is a legislative advocate at the State Capitol with Taxpayers for Public Safety, and can be reached at

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