The current heroes [of the so-called deep state]:

Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State

Gabriel Sterling, Voting System Implementation Manager (Republican)

Gabriel Sterling
Gabriel Sterling, Voting System Implementation Manager

There is also a reluctant hero: Brian Kemp, Governor (Republican)

The most memorable/admirable statement from Sterling:

This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. It’s too much. . . .”

 [to Trump:] “Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed. And it’s not right.”

I never thought that I would be paying compliments to citizens of Georgia, much less to Republicans.  But I surprise myself, although I’ve already been softened in my views of Republicans by The Lincoln Project.  But this is unique:  I am praising Georgian Republicans – Deep South White Republicans – because I am so proud of their moral and spiritual courage and their insistence on putting ideals before personal preference, ethics before political affiliation.  We hear a lot about “speaking truth to power,” but see little of it in reality.  These men – Brad Raffensperger (Georgia’s elected Secretary of State), and Gabriel Sterling (Georgia’s Voting System Implementation Manager) – have stepped out of the shadow of party affiliation and politics to champion American democracy in action.

They do not fear or seem to care about Trump’s opinion of them, or even what he may threaten them with, so strong is their sense of morality.  They are living with the possibility of violence against them and their families, because they believe that actively supporting a wrong – and even being silent in the face of it – is ethically untenable.  This is heroism of the first order.

“Love it or leave it” is a slogan often thrown in the face of dissenters, and is the emotional but irrational retort to those who would criticize America’s policies or postures.  It is sloppy shorthand for I-don’t-want-to-debate-you-because-I-haven’t-anything-constructive-to-say.  It’s just easier to insist on simple alternatives: agree with me or shut up.  This isn’t democracy, representative or otherwise.  This isn’t constitutional, literal or figurative.

Everything that Trump’s administration has represented or promoted – everything – is demagoguery or chicanery, deception and profiteering, and he and his minions have tried mightily to impose all of this on Georgia.  And it has been these two heroes, Raffensperger and Sterling, who have stood up and resisted. (And, thanks to Brian Kemp, the Republican governor who has supported them albeit quietly.) So, from a born Yankee, an East Coast “elite” who retired reluctantly to Texas (that’s another story!), a proud daughter of immigrants, and a graduate of a truly free college education (The City College of New York – established for immigrant children whose parents could not afford to pay any college tuitions), I humbly thank these two men for their courage, and I pay my respects to the state of Georgia for putting them in office.

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