Let's be completely honest, America: we've just been handed an election result that was hand-picked, paid for, gift-wrapped, and delivered by our committed comrades from across the sea.
And while the recipient of that noxious gift-giving, Donald Trump, sniffs that we should reject the bombshell findings released this weekend and just allow him to get on with the task of "making America great again" (colluding with foreign dictators apparently part of his protocol), the rest of us are left wondering just how much more it will take for the powers-that-be in this country to declare Election 2016 to be null and void. Fraudulent. Manipulated. Corrupt. Unacceptable.
It's one thing to shake our heads and parse the fact that Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by as many votes as President Obama won in 2012 but is still considered "the loser" (which should make abolishing or amending Electoral College rules a priority).
It's one thing to review the unprecedented and outrageous move of FBI Director James Comey to, right before the election, make ultimately pointless claims of more email trouble for Clinton (how has he not been sanctioned for that?), and feel outrage that this shattered her then-12-point lead and likely aided Trump's win.
It's one thing to consider the daily, weekly, monthly drip-drip-drip distraction (and fodder for haters and conspiracists) from Wikileaks and their sleazy founder Julian Assange (still in hiding from law enforcement over sexual assault allegations), and question why they only targeted Democrats and how much their biased hackery impacted the election.
It's one thing to consider the possibility that Russian actors were behind that hackery and likely had a hand in manipulating what got released and when, and ponder the heinous thought that our election itself might have been hacked at the behest of foreign interests and preferences.
It's one thing to grasp how much fake news -- much of it directed by Russia -- with its bilious lies directed particularly at Hillary Clinton -- misguided and misinformed the electorate, and feel churned by the fact of America's gullibility.
BUT IT'S A WHOLE OTHER THING to read the bombshell reports that have come out this weekend:
Now the intelligence community has concluded that Russia was clearly after a Trump victory and manipulated information to that end, according to sources who spoke to the newspaper.
"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," a senior U.S. official briefed on the CIA assessment told The Washington Post. "That's the consensus view."
Every single thing about that should stir waves of anger and revulsion, brandish red flags so voluminous they're canopies; ring alarm bells far, wide, and loudly across the entire United States of America. In all our myriad doomsday imaginings, in all the conspiracy theories and Cold War drills, fears of invasion and terrors related to "The Russians are Coming," what is patently clear at this moment is that the Russians came and they chose our next president.
And that cannot stand. In addition to the other election corruptions listed above, this is an unequivocal tipping point. This should not be a partisan issue; this should not be about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump; this should be about the fact that an antagonistic foreign power just got up close and personal with our domestic presidential election and coerced it in favor of its preferred candidate.
Russia's preferred candidate lost the popular vote.
Russia's preferred candidate is Donald J. Trump.
Russian's preferred candidate cannot be our next president.
That Russia worked so nefariously to tilt this election, and succeeded in doing so, cannot be dismissed along with Comey, Wikileaks, fake news, etc. It makes the election's results null and void. Our country's leadership, law enforcement, Homeland Security, and every single one of its citizens should agree with that thesis. Whatever we are or are not, America is a free and democratic nation. If we are forced to accept election results that are fraudulent, manipulated, and corrupt, there will be no uniting behind this president.
He may be Russia's choice, but without winning an unassailably honest election in America, by Americans, he will not be ours.
Surveillance photo by Rishabh Varshney @ Unsplash