Reno Gazette Journal
October 18, 2022
Opinion: Forget the political noise, focus on democracy
By Lara Pearson
“All for our country” has been Nevada’s state motto since 1886.
Fast-forward 136 years and today we find ourselves living in a nation that is perhaps more deeply divided than ever, with Nevada at the forefront of the battleground for control of the U.S. Senate.
Being a Nevadan in this day and age means being inundated with robocalls disrupting our home lives. Our workdays are disrupted by political donation solicitations flooding our email inboxes. Campaign signs obstruct our view at nearly every single intersection. Worse yet, none of this is going to stop. It’s only going to get worse before the November elections.
But let’s set all this annoyance aside because it goes away after Nov. 8.
But unfortunately, what also might go away after Nov. 8 is democracy itself.
Next month Nevada voters will select their representatives for every statewide constitutional office, as well as a majority of seats in the Nevada Legislature, and who will be in the U.S. House and Senate from our state.
The unwritten issue at stake in the majority of these elections is whether our elected officials believe in — and will uphold — the rule of law.
Many of the candidates for various offices have stated loudly, and even proudly, that they support the Big Lie that the 2020 election was an illegitimate scam, accomplished through massive voter fraud, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Other politicians have gone so far as to publicly commit to challenging any election results that disfavor them, months before the election has occurred, making clear that fairness is not a factor, only winning is. When one side declares that any election they lose must be illegitimate, they are no longer operating within the confines of democracy.
Rather, such words and actions by politicians expose their desire to win at any cost by playing on voters’ emotions and fears rather than facts. This self-serving promotion serves to weaken our already fragile democracy and steer us towards an authoritarian form of government.
Politicians who advocate for the dismantling of our democracy and ignoring the rule of law whenever election results don’t go their way have no place in Nevada. These anti-democracy politicians seek to change election laws to disregard the will of the voters. They want to rig the system so that only they and politicians like them will win elections, regardless of who gets the most votes.
If this happens, then the laws that are meant to protect us all will simply be ignored or changed to favor those in power and their big campaign contributors. That is exactly what happens in Russia and other autocracies.
The result will be government policies that favor big corporations at the expense of small and mid-sized enterprises. Autocratic governments have no need to listen to small business owners and voters because they have locked themselves into office.
The vibrant entrepreneurial economy of Nevada will suffer greatly if we don’t protect our democracy. Entrepreneurs will find that any business success they achieve with their hard work and sacrifice will be at risk from harm, or even demise, by government policy changes to help big businesses.
As a proud Nevadan and small business leader, I encourage all business owners to step up and vote as if their livelihood depends on it this November, because when it comes to our democracy, it does!
Let’s not let it happen in Nevada.
Lara Pearson is an attorney in Incline Village and a leader of the Nevada Business for Democracy collaborative.