Georgia on Everyone’s Mind and The Power of Regular Order

Brad Raffensperger is a peach …

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s top elections official as Secretary of State, is a peach. Honestly, I wanted to give the man a kiss this morning.

In a one-hour phone call from The White House pressuring him to overturn the certified election results, he “politely but firmly rejected the president’s entreaties, standing by the election results in his state and repeatedly insisting that Mr. Trump and his allies had been given false information about voter fraud.

“Well, Mr. President,” he said, “the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong.”

The call from The White House to Mr. Raffensperger’s office was the 19th in the past two months.

“Officials in the secretary of state’s office recorded Saturday’s call, and Mr. Raffensperger told his advisers that he did not want to release a transcript or a recording unless the president attacked state officials or misrepresented what had been discussed, according to a person familiar with his direction.

“As expected, that attack came in a tweet on Sunday morning, in which Mr. Trump claimed that Mr. Raffensperger ‘was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the “ballots under table” scam, ballot destruction, out of state “voters,” dead voters, and more. He has no clue!’

“In a (I’d add here, measured) response on Twitter, Mr. Raffensperger wrote: ‘Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.’ The recording of the call was made public several hours later.”

There is a transcript of the entire call in The New York Times here. Please be sure you have an iron stomach if you read it (I did) as it’s worse a travesty, a disaster, and a monsoon all rolled into one. You’ll recognize the song that rang in my head. Lyrics: Stink. Stank. Stunk. The transcript, however spurious, was revelatory.

Obfuscation was the name of the game from the first syllable. The easiest way to promulgate an agenda, be it what to have for dinner or who will be president, is to embroil the issue in a typhoon of convoluted words. I had whiplash at the statistics that were thrown about. It’s a wonder Mr. Raffensperger and his team didn’t drown.

Because there were all kinds of people on the call, it appeared that The White House intended to be transparent. In a close reading of the transcript, however, it’s clear that none of the ‘president’s men,’ women included, had a handle on what they actually wanted from the call. I had a moment of compassion for their co-dependency as they attempted to divine out of the diarrhetic verbiage what they needed to say to appease the Inferiority-Complex-in-Chief.

Finally, I have to acknowledge the moral actions of both Mr. Raffensperger and his chief attorney, Ryan Germany. They stood their ground in the face of much more than a barrage. They kept the facts in play. They asserted the moral right. I don’t blame Mr. Raffensperger for wishing that elections would go back to boring.

There’s one other thing that needs saying here. Brad Raffensperger lives in the United States of America. This means he has a right, and a duty, to disagree with the President of those same states if needs must. I thoroughly applaud his strategy for handling releasing the tape of the call. It was simple, it was clear, it was elegant.

This is what it is to be tried in the public opinion courts of social media.

There is no other word for the actions of the president and his minions. This was bullying, plain and simple. Most bullying takes place with a certain amount of secrecy. That’s how it so often devolves into a metaphorical he said/she said situation.

Mr. Raffensperger set up inter-office criteria that would need to be met in order to cause a release of the recorded call prior to the call on Saturday. Mr. Trump met those criteria when he attacked Mr. R on Twitter on Sunday. If A, then B.

Mr. Raffensperger released the recording. Bullying never stands up to transparency.

Charles M. Blow is back on the Opinion pages in this nascent year. His essay put a big grin on my face this morning. Hard to do after reading the garbage that is coming out of the Tiny-Mouth-That-Roared in The White House.

Here’s Mr. Blow’s lede: “Regardless of what has happened since the election two months ago, or what may happen in the next few weeks, Joe Biden will almost assuredly be inaugurated the president on Jan. 20, and Donald J. Trump’s official reign of presidential terror will end that day.” So nice to reaffirm that in the face of all this Machiavellian mishigas.

Mr. Blow again, “But, that is cold comfort, as we have trudged through these last months of President Trump trying, at every turn, to overthrow the will of the people by overturning the election he lost in November. Even if his ultimate loss is inevitably secured, it seems as though he is burning down the village as he retreats.”

Oh no, Mr. Blow. There’s no seeming about it. We’re smack dab in the midst of Saturday morning Trump Cartoons, sir. He’s using cartoon dynamite, cartoon gasoline, and a cartoon match.

Mr. Blow claims that these animated antics are a “prevailing racialized perception in conservative politics [which] is part of the danger that Trump’s campaign to undermine the election poses: It threatens to strengthen efforts to disenfranchise Black voters and other voters of color who disproportionately vote for Democrats in the future.” Yep, this is true.

“As Jay Willis pointed out in The Washington Post, ‘Even after Trump’s presidency ends, that message will pave the way for G.O.P. politicians and judges to further one of their party’s and the conservative movement’s most important ongoing projects: restricting voting rights.’”

That’s one way to tell the story, but I think it’s a microcosm. The far bigger issue is power and how we both use it and allow it to be used in the United States of America.

“Vice President-elect Kamala Harris — at a drive-in rally for Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidates in Garden City, Ga. — referred on Sunday to Mr. Trump’s call, saying it was ‘the voice of desperation — most certainly that. And it was a bald, baldfaced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States.’” Indeed, it was.

The difficulty now is: what do We the People want to do about it?

Bret Stephens and Gail Collins have restarted their dialogue column in this morning’s Times. Mr. Stephens wants to impeach Mr. Trump. Again. Ms. Collins wants to stop thinking about the Idjit-in-Chief and hope that if she and her colleagues ignore him for long enough, he’ll slink away in defeat amidst the media silence.

There are lessons to be learned here, Beloved, lessons about the wielding of power.

In an essay by four former senators, two Republicans and two Democrats, they write, “Following his victory, President-elect Joe Biden explained his call in plain and simple terms: The ‘refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another,’ he said, isn’t ‘some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision, a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.’ He’s right.”

So the first issue is the choice. I say, with President Joe, that we’d best choose to cooperate, starting at home, right where we are. If we do that, there is, as the four senators avow, “a more hopeful alternative.” Trickle-up civility, anyone?

The quartet say, “This week, Georgia voters will decide which party will control the 117th Senate. Pundits are speculating that the vote will decide whether we see a Republican majority’s obstructionism or a Democratic majority’s opportunity for political payback — as if those are the only options.” They’re not unless we tell the story that way.

The former senators recommend “bipartisan efforts rooted in mutual respect, collegiality and compromise [that] would propel the Senate toward re-establishing functional governance, restoring respect for the institution and renewing the public’s waning trust. Bipartisanship shouldn’t be rare or ad hoc. What is needed now in the Senate is a return to ‘regular order.’ The Senate’s traditional system of ‘regular order,’ in effect for generations, was designed to advance and encourage bipartisanship.”

I would submit to you, Beloved, that as regular order is restored to our country via a universal vaccine, a surge of economic growth, and our ability once again to gather and listen to one another, regular order could make a comeback in The Senate, The House, The Judiciary, and The White House.

Georgia is on everyone’s mind these days, and will be until those Senate races are called, but the use of power and how we allow power to be used in these United States is within each of our own personal realms right now. Cooperate or cantankerate? Which do you choose?

P.S. This, from Our Lady of Whimsy, on Instagram this morning: maryengelbreit Christmas mood is gone. Election mood has returned. So are there no consequences for treason anymore?

Dr. Susan Corso is a spiritual teacher, the founder of iAmpersand, and the author of The Mex Mysteries, the Boots & Boas Books, and spiritual nonfiction. Her essays address the intersection between spirituality and culture. Find out more at www.susancorso.com

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Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 35+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com

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Susan Corso

Susan Corso

Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 35+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com

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