Elections: Georgia on My Mind

crate of reed fruit

Although I live in Oregon, on the other side of the continent from Georgia, I love Democracy, my country, and my state just as much as I’m sure Georgians love theirs. If I were a native of Georgia at this point, I would be outraged. I would be outraged whether I was a Democrat or a Republican or something else. I would be outraged because a free and fair election in my state was challenged by the sitting President and most of the Republican establishment. They are challenging the honesty and competence of a Secretary of State (Republican) that people in Georgia elected. They are doing so without any evidence. They have demanded an expensive and time-wasting recount in the absence of any evidence of fraud. They are attacking the integrity of Georgia and trying to overturn the judgment of its people—and they are doing so for purely partisan political reasons. This is inexcusable.

The two Republican senators who face run-off elections in January are part of this attack on democracy in Georgia. Both support a lame-duck president who has spread lies and misinformation about the integrity of the election in Georgia. Both should be disqualified on that count alone. Remarkably, most of the GOP senate has endorsed the false charges of election fraud or remained silent in denouncing these lies. Lindsey Graham, the senator from neighboring South Carolina, even called the Secretary of State of Georgia and suggested he throw out legal votes. That secretary has even received death threats from Trump supporters. Didn’t Republicans preach for years about the sanctity of “states rights?” By what right does a President, let alone a senator from another state, justify throwing out or nullifying the votes of the people of Georgia?

The two sitting GOP senators (Perdue and Loeffler) have much more to answer for: they are both tainted with corruption and both have joined GOP leadership as they do nothing to address the Covid-19 pandemic and nothing to provide working people with relief for the economic harm it has done. If re-elected, they will feel rewarded for this bad behavior and do everything to make President elect Biden’s presidency a failure. We are at a crisis and a tipping point: our country can not afford to have the next president paralyzed by partisanship as we try to cope with the Pandemic, rebuild our sense of unity, and rebuild our economy. All these things require positive action—not the kind of deaf stone-walling that GOP leader McConnell and Donald Trump have indulged in.

Trump used his powers in unprecedented ways to rig the election in his own favor. He sought help from foreign powers, attacked the legitimacy of mail in/absentee ballots (which my state has used for 20 years without serious problems) and intentionally crippled the postal system in midst of a lethal pandemic which makes ‘in person’ voting dangerous. Republicans across the country joined him in various schemes all intended to suppress or confuse voters. Now he has crossed the line into actually trying to reverse the very clear result of the last election. It is the closest thing to an attempted coup that we have ever seen in our country. It is inexcusable and must be punished.

I hope the people of Georgia will come to see that this as people across the country see it—as a blatant and deliberate attack on Democracy itself. I hope people will try to pull their focus out of smaller issues and try to see the bigger picture. Whether you dislike abortion of any kind, or gun regulation, whether you care about tax cuts or the economy, what is at stake now is much bigger than all that—what is at stake is the very future of democracy in our nation. The facts and evidence are very clear. As one person put it, we don’t have a Democratic party and a Republican Party—we have a Democratic party and an anti-Democracy Party.  

If I were a Georgian serving in the military, or had a friend or family member who was, I would be especially outraged. Service members risk their lives to defend our democracy and sometimes to promote democracy abroad. The current GOP assault on Democracy— all the voter suppression and other shenanigans, makes a mockery of their service. It is a slap in the face to them and their loved ones.

So please, don’t reward the two GOP senators who support this kind of nonsense. Their enabling of Trump’s baseless challenges to the election results are stark evidence of how little they respect the people of their own state. The people of Georgia chose Joe Biden as president. Now we must help make his presidency vital and viable by voting for the Democratic senators who will give him a fighting chance to correct all the harm that has been done to our democracy in the last four years. I hope you turn out and vote for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. I know I will do the best I can by contributing to their campaigns, I urge others to do so as well.

Sitting here on the west coast, I am struck by how important the choice of the people of Georgia is. They will decide if my vote for Biden will be truly meaningful. It is a powerful reminder of how all of us in this nation are connected—and owe each other responsible choices. I hope the people of Georgia will defend their own honor and defend our Democracy and national unity by electing Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the senate.  

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