Yesterday the state of Georgia defined election integrity as—black people not voting. Republicans love to throw around the image of liberal politicians in hemp-filled rooms manipulating the lives of “real Americans.” Well last night, in a guarded room, Georgia governor Brian Kemp, flanked by a clique of hoodless, conveniently masked white state officials signed sweeping voter suppression legislation. The new legislation went so far as to make it illegal to give grandma a bottle of water if she is standing in line for hours to vote in the hot Georgia sun. Some may say it is harsh to suggest that a group of all-white men are racist for attending the signing. A black-female legislator [Park Cannon] was barred from attending and arrested for daring to knock on the door of the ole boys’ club because she demanded transparency at the signing. Just as groups of frothing southern racists watched lynchings, if you gleefully participate in a political lynching, you have defined yourself.
Yes, I am mad because…
I am old enough to remember the Reverend C.T. Vivian being kicked and spit on for trying to register to vote. I am old enough to remember the blood pouring from the heads of peaceful men, women, and children as they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I was reminded of that yesterday as Democratic Georgia state Rep. Cannon was led away in handcuffs and originally charged with two misdemeanors under state law: obstruction of law enforcement and preventing or disrupting General Assembly, later upgraded to a felony. I am overwrought with the whiny denials of obvious racism and white privilege—it is not hard to find or identify. When Rep. Cannon was handcuffed, perp-walked, and assessed a 6,000 dollar signature bond, I immediately thought of Riley June Williams.
While Ms. Cannon was immediately arrested and charged for the crime of disrupting General Assembly business. Ms. Williams was allowed to leave Washington, DC go back home to Pennsylvania following the January 6th insurrection, and was arrested the ensuing Monday for allegedly trying to sell the personal property, a laptop, of the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Ms. Williams was released to her mother’s custody. Sadly, it did not take a lot of thought or research to find an incident to compare the white privilege afforded Ms. Williams as opposed to the cruel humiliation foisted upon Ms. Cannon for demanding access.
In the aftermath of Rep. Cannon’s arrest, the photo of Gov. Kemp surrounded by his cronies was like looking once more at the slobbering sweaty faces of racists at a lynching; self-satisfied, demeaning, and laced with the sentiment of ‘stay in your place.’ The new law in Georgia was immediately challenged in court but the warning is out there for black voters—stay away or else. With all the fine points of the new suppression law like fewer and less accessible drop boxes, shorter hours to get to the polls, and attacks on souls to the polls; the water and food restriction stood out as the emblematic symbol of exactly what Georgia anti-black voter lawmakers wanted. They want to create a hardship for blacks, promote lily-white voters, and suffering from black men and women who dare to act like American citizens and not the “other.”
Continue to Vote for Change.