The Day the Electors Agreed to a Duel

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Photo courtesy @daoud_abismail

Annie Peterson | Civil Patriot

Error often is to be preferred to indecision.
Aaron Burr

On July 11, 1804 American papers ran the following headline: Aaron Burr Slays Alexander Hamilton in Duel. Shockwaves were felt around the country. The two men were long-time political opponents who didn’t mince words when it came to criticizing each other publicly. . .but a duel ending in death? Had it really come to this? 

The Backstory
Hamilton had grown to believe Burr was a dangerous opportunist and responded by antagonizing him every chance he got. (Sounds a lot like the modern-day feud between Republicans and Democrats, right?) Burr felt the attacks keenly and reached a breaking point. He challenged Hamilton to what was commonly known as an “affair of honor.” Rarely did these situations end in weapons being fired. Hamilton had participated in many of them, in fact, and had no reason to believe this one would end differently.  

He was wrong. The two men met early on the morning on July 11th, 1804. Conflicting reports linger, but when the fateful moment came, Burr pulled the trigger and shot Hamilton in the stomach. The bullet lodged next to his spine. Alexander Hamilton passed away the following day, their duel remaining a somber tale in the annals of American history. 

Affairs of honor are risky, to be sure. One never knows how they might end. But there really are times in life when you feel so betrayed, so painted into a corner, that you have no choice but to take a stand. 

Such is the case with the dueling electors who voted in seven states on December 14th,2020. In Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin Democratic electors picked Joe Biden, but—in spite of the fact that Biden had already been certified as winner in their respective states—Republican electors also cast votes of their own for Donald Trump. 

These alternate slates are known as dueling electors, and in many ways they’re not that different from political opponents Burr and Hamilton. These Republicans electors believe that this was a fraudulent election. They’re feeling the antagonism of the left so keenly that they’ve decided not to sit idly by. Even if it means they go down, they will go down fighting. So, these brave Republicans have reached for their weapons of choice—in this case, their word that they will stand by their president, no matter what. 

How Will This Play Out?
Congress will convene in a joint session on January 6th, 2021 to count the electoral votes. With both groups sending certificates of ascertainment, there are sure to be fireworks.  Several key Republicans in the House have already stated that they will file objections. So far, no Senators have made the same commitment. One can’t help but wonder how this ever-escalating story will end. Hopefully it won’t come to fisticuffs. 

Questions at Play:

  • Will the original slate of electors stand, putting Biden in the Oval Office?
  • Will Vice-President Mike Pence throw out both sets of electors? 
  • Will the House end up choosing our next President? 
  • Will Nancy Pelosi raise her hand and say, “Pick me!” 
  • Will something happen in the meantime to shake the country so badly that it’s clear we must begin this process again? 

How will this duel end, folks? Only January 6th holds those answers. Until then, we gather like spectators on the lawn, waiting for Burr and Hamilton to reach for their weapons of choice. And we pray, as never before. 

 

Those who stand for nothing will fall for everything.
Alexander Hamilton

 

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