Double Down on Democracy
Sharing this powerful piece written by Chris Gardner one year ago and shared during our recent Vigil for Democracy. There is still much to do to secure voting rights for all.
January sixth began hopefully, with the election of two Democratic senators in a deep south Republican controlled state, and ended frighteningly, with the cowardly assault on our Capitol.
Georgia, with a long history of voter suppression, which has been deep red Republican, and where the machinery of elections is controlled by republicans, held a fair and honest election resulting in whisker thin Democratic victories, the type of outcomes ripe for mischief. Yet, despite the former President’s strong arm, Mafia-don like, pressure on Georgia Republican officials, the “data”, otherwise called the “truth”, prevailed.
This Georgia election shifted control of the US Senate from Republicans to Democrats.
The rabble that stormed our Capitol are being identified and prosecuted. Some were afraid of a future which they did not understand, and some were unbalanced. Their fears were easily manipulated by those who knew better and cynically sold them the snake oil lie, that the election was being stolen.
These liars are the truly culpable and dangerous conspirators, who most need to be held accountable for their sedition. It is dangerous to mistake “paper tigers”, the mob, for real tigers, the instigators. The assault on our capital was dangerous and deranged in the moment and there must be consequences. However more importantly the instigators, led by the President, who hoodwinked and bamboozled the mob are hiding in plain sight and must be held to account and stopped from their ongoing subversive efforts toward a successful coup where powerful political, economic, police and military forces stand ready to snatch control during the mob’s chaos.
Democracy depends on the consent of the governed to succeed. To earn this consent, we must protect and improve our democracy by guaranteeing equal access to and effect for the ballot of every citizen. Anything that subverts this equality is anti-democratic and a danger to our future.
This leads us back to Georgia.
Two years ago, Stacey Abrams lost a close election where there were substantial allegations of voter suppression when a half million voters were purged. She did not withdraw her consent but doubled down on democracy. Her voters rights organization negotiated for early and absentee voting and organized a masterful voter turnout effort. The results were record setting turnouts in elections capable of being verifying when challenged.
This is our path forward, “to double down on democracy” with legislation to make real that most profound democratic core value that “all men are created equal”. We need to pass laws like The Right to Vote Act and the John Lewis Act. We need to replace the Electoral College with a direct election. Most of all we need to organize and turnout to vote.
Guaranteeing this simple equation, “one person, one vote”, will insure we are all equal at the ballot box and protect our democracy’s future.
Though January sixth was scary, and we face the necessary questions about levels of threat and appropriate consequences, I for one have “Georgia on my mind.”