The stakes could not be higher in national politics than in Georgia for all of Black America, where the state’s voters will determine, on Jan. 5, 2021, which political party will control the U.S. Senate. The incumbent Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler represent an extension of the destructive and reckless policies of Donald J. Trump and his enabler-in-chief, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. While Joe Biden narrowly won Georgia in the presidential race, the state has not elected a Democratic senator since 1996.
The only path to control of the Senate for Democrats is for both Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to win because Republicans already have 50 seats while Democrats have 48. If Warnock and Ossoff win, then Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie to gain Democratic control of the Senate. Democratic control of the White House and both chambers of Congress could enable restoration of more progressive policies that would improve the life circumstances for millions of Black people. We can’t expect that the Democratic Party will or should deliver us as a people, but their control of the Senate could mean the reversal of some of the pernicious scourge of Trump’s reign.
There are many who say there is no difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. That’s nonsense. There is a difference between bad and worst. Granted, the Democratic Party is not our savior — much of that salvation will have to come from us. Yet there are obstacles to our progress, and there is some unrelenting hate and lawlessness and oppression that needs to be opposed with support of our political allies.
Democratic control won’t bring us to The Promised Land, but it can bring more sense and decency to politics to help rid us of the pervasive immorality and corruption of Trump and the Republicans who condone with their silence to his lying, cruelty and unfiltered racist behavior.
So we must all come together to block the emergence of a much smarter, less crude proponent of Trumpism. The election of a person like Donald Trump used to be unthinkable. The earlier dog whistles of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and successive Republican presidents have morphed into the present overt racist presidency of this grifting, shady and vile person who has occupied the White House for the last four years and who ultimately may have to be physically pried from the building. Who knew that in this current era we could have someone come to power proudly proclaiming his white supremacy, white nationalism and xenophobia?
These competitive runoff elections in Georgia are a call to action for Black people all around the country. These races in Georgia are akin to the historic importance of the Pettus Bridge demonstration in Alabama in 1964 that led to the Voting Rights Bill of 1965, which outlawed Jim Crow voter suppression practices that had been adopted after the Civil War.
This “act to enforce the 15th amendment to the Constitution” became law 95 years after the amendment was ratified. Democratic President Lyndon Johnson signed this law that helped give millions of African Americans their right to vote. Unfortunately, much of that progress was stifled when a Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-to-4 vote. Thank you again, Clarence Thomas, a widely-touted originalist, despite the fact that Black people were slaves when the Constitution was adopted in September 1787.
We must realize that these races down in Georgia should command our keen attention and generous support. The outcome of these contests directly affects the daily lives of our families and ourselves. To ensure the election of Warmock and Ossoff, we must bring all of the collective power and resources of Black America.
We saw activists from John Lewis, Julian Bond and Jesse Jackson to Bill Clay Sr., onto Bruce Franks and Cori Bush shift to politics because that’s where the public policy decisions that impact our life circumstances are created. We must respond to the urgency of this moment and urge your friends and families as well as any like-minded people in St. Louis and beyond who believe in social and economic justice to join this historic opportunity to get involved and make a difference.