It’s time to Break It Down!
Last Thursday evening, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed sweeping legislation, which many argue will make voting harder for people of color. In fact, numerous voting activists contend the law will also serve as an impediment for poor and working people. Not surprisingly, Republicans, writ large, dispute this premise, and insist, their efforts, 253 bills in 43 states, so far, are not aimed at voter suppression, but rather, are designed to bolster integrity in the voting process.
The GOP certainly provides an enthusiastic retort. However, methinks they protest too much. The genesis of this scorched earth spate of anti-voting bills can be tied directly to “The Big Lie;” the assertion that Donald Trump lost the 2020 Election as a result of wide scale Democratic and foreign-influenced voter fraud. This notion was repeatedly debunked. More than 60 courts, many Republican Judges, and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected, or refused to hear the specious claims. Republican officials, including Governors and Secretaries of State repeatedly verified and affirmed the integrity of their state’s elections…Brian Kemp among them.
So, let’s put this one in succinct fashion. Kemp actually had the signing ceremony photographed. The picture, one for the ages. It captured an image of an imperious Kemp, seated in an executive chair at a conference table in a stately room, flanked by six White male legislators, three on either side, with a photograph of Calloway Plantation, in Washington, Georgia. It is currently a museum, but was formerly, a slave working plantation, For a law reputed to facilitate Black and poor voter suppression, it is difficult to fathom more powerful optics.
The story would be resonant, even if it ended there. But that was not the end. Outside of the frame of the photograph, specifically, on the other side of the door, a second picture was developing. In this photo, Two White Georgia law enforcement officers were arresting Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, a Black female, for trying to gain entry to the signing and announcement ceremony.
Optics are critical; so is timing. Beneath the cover of darkness, seven masked men (yes, they were adhering to Covid protocols…imagine that), celebrated the signing of legislation that included such novel supposed bright ideas as making it illegal to provide snacks or water to people waiting in line to vote. Can you think of a more effective way to fuel suspicion among voting rights advocates and Black Americans that what Georgia Republicans did last Thursday wasn’t lawmaking. There is a robust argument that it was the 21st-century political equivalent of strongarm Jim Crow tactics to prevent Black citizens from voting.
It’s been said that a single image can supercharge a movement and change public opinion. Kemp and company gave us, not one, but two. “If A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, Kemp’s Plantation Lullaby = A Thousand Words Times Two!”
I’m done; holla back!
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