GEORGIA (VOTERS) ON MY MIND

Let’s be clear about this: there is no way Georgia is going to get away with stealing people’s votes.

I guess I can say nice try, but I’d just be lying. If you want to steal people’s votes you do it at night in the dark away from the bright lights and where nobody sees you. Doesn’t the Republican Party know its own history? I mean, if you want to start the steal — to put a twist on a recently popular GOP catchphrase — you don’t have Gov. Brian Kemp sign a racist, Jim Crow 2.0 bill into law in front of cameras so the world might bear witness. And you definitely don’t do it with a painting of a slavery plantation as the backdrop.

But it appears the GOP has dispensed with the dog whistle in favor of the bullhorn in once again sending Black people the message that they do not matter. Georgia’s voter-suppression law makes it loud and clear.

Truth is, Republicans know all too well that the opposite is true — Black people DO matter, and the only way the GOP can make them not matter is by stealing their votes.

Already three federal lawsuits have been filed to challenge the law, and more are likely to follow.

But this fight shouldn’t be isolated in the court of law. We ordinary citizens have the clout to pressure businesses, including the sports and entertainment arenas, to force Georgia to do the right thing. We need to hit Georgia where it hurts most — in the coffers.

So far Georgia-based companies such as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Home Depot, and AFLAC have been silent on the issue. Boycotts of these companies could help them find their voice.

Tell Coca-Cola that when it’s time to quench the thirst of Georgia voters waiting in line at the poll station, we can defy state law by showing up with 24-packs of Pepsi. Remind Home Depot that Lowe’s also sells paint and poster boards that we might use for our picket signs.

Get the message across that Jim Crow times are over, and that America should take precedence over politics and the GOP’s petty fears of losing elections. And that maybe they should have a broader tent that realizes that their old-timey ways just won’t work in this century.

Professional sports leagues should also have a say in this. Let’s start by demanding that Major League Baseball cancel or move its All-Star Game on July 13 from Truist Park in the Atlanta metropolitan area. We’ll see how much resolve Georgia politicians have when major events start getting canceled and teams and organizations start denying trips to Georgia.

There is some precedence here. In 1991, the National Football League relocated the site for Super Bowl XXVII in 1993 from Tempe, Arizona to Pasadena, California because of Arizona’s failure to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Years earlier, Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and celebrities such as Stevie Wonder, Public Enemy, and U2 led an entertainment boycott of the state.

Not surprisingly, Arizona found religion, partly because of the NFL’s bold decision. Voters approved the holiday in 1993, and the NFL rewarded their open-mindedness by playing Super Bowl XXX in 1996 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

Georgia, pull back those regressive, un-American, undemocratic laws that make us look like fools around the world. You’re on the clock.

© by Dr. Vernon Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

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