Commentary: Georgians must rise up again

U.S. Senate Race

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Wayne Dawkins is a writer, and a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.

By Wayne Dawkins
Special to the AFRO

In a few days, Jan. 5, Georgians will choose both of their U.S. Senators to serve them from Washington. This is a special election. Because the top candidates last November did not earn 50% of the vote in order to win, head-to-head Democrat vs. Republican competitions were necessary.

Now it’s necessary for Georgians to rise up again and do their civic duties. And the stakes could not be higher. Right now, Republicans hold a 50-48 edge in the Senate and the power to block the promises of the incoming Joe Biden-Kamala Harris White House duo. 

If the two Democrats running for office win, the Senate will be deadlocked 50/50. Senators will be challenged to negotiate rather than obstruct. And, if they deadlock on legislation, history maker Harris as president of the senate can cast tie-breaking votes.

So, the nation is counting on you Georgians to show up again and vote on Jan. 5. 

From a distance we, who live elsewhere, can remind and encourage our family and friends who live in the Peach State to vote. I checked in with a handful of my people. One man, 62, took advantage of early voting. No sweat he said. Handled it in 10 minutes. 

A 30-ish woman said she voted absentee, but was concerned that the state was sending absentee ballots that were not corrected. The ballots, she said were too large for the white and yellow envelopes, so citizens had to double fold in order for the ballots to fit. Was the folding OK?  

Another 30-ish woman said the volume of election-related texts, hand-written postcards and out-of-state mailers was unusually high. “I haven’t talked to a single person who doesn’t find it annoying and over the top,” said my former student, an online producer at a network-level news operation.

Indeed, voters are going to be turned on or turned off by the fuss. 

Please be turned on for the right reasons. Here’s why.

Choose Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock over marginal incumbent Kelly Loeffler for one of the two senate seats. Rev. Warnock is pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. That’s right, the fellow Morehouse man leads predecessor Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic church. Warnock presided over the homegoing service for U.S. Rep. John Lewis. 

Warnock likes to get into “good trouble,” as in advocate for expanded health care for poor and working-class people, and preach fiery sermons that rankle the White conservative establishment yet are familiar to most Black folk. Right-wing media have been shooting fiery darts at Warnock, but they have largely extinguished.

So, what’s right about opponent Loeffler? Nothing. The billionaire CEO of a commodity and financial services company was appointed to the senate seat 12 months ago by the governor in order to replace the incumbent, who exited for health reasons. 

Loeffler’s accomplishments? A 100% voting record in support of Donald J. Trump’s policies. Also, the ability to escape Department of Justice and Senate Ethics investigations of insider trading [before the public became aware of COVID-19, Loeffler sold millions of dollars of stock after getting a heads-up briefing about the coming pandemic.] 

Oh, and as co-owner of the WNBA Atlanta Dream, she criticized the athletes for putting social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys. The ballers responded by making the messages bolder. Good job senator. 

Loeffler is disqualifying. She supports Trump’s efforts to overturn the Biden election, despite No. 45 going 0 for 60 in court challenges.

In the other senate race, Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff wanted to debate Republican incumbent David Perdue on public TV. Instead, Ossoff addressed an empty podium

Perdue backed out. So much for having the integrity to face the voters. 

Voters, please speak your truths with your votes. Happy 2021.

The writer is a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.

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