19 November 2018

The politics of honesty in an age of lies

It's a cliché that there are no honest politicians.  It's also false.  Three days ago a politician gave us a display of honesty where it counted -- the kind we're going to need more of in the age of Trump.

That day, Stacey Abrams acknowledged that her Republican opponent was going to be certified the winner of the election for Governor of Georgia.  But as she made explicit, she was not delivering a concession speech:

.....to watch an elected official -- who claims to represent the people of this state, baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people's democratic right to vote -- has been truly appalling.  So, to be clear, this is not a speech of concession.  Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper.  As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede.  But my assessment is that the law currently allows no further viable remedy.

The disenfranchisement and vote suppression which marked this race were gross, blatant, and flagrant even by the standards of what has come to be normal Republican practice.  Abrams's speech (click here to watch the whole speech on video or read the complete text) goes into considerable detail about the multiple schemes and scams the Republicans used to rob Democrats, and especially blacks, of their right to vote.  It's a maddening litany, especially to those of us who know something of how hard black Americans had to fight barely two generations ago to win that right, persevering in the face of ruthless and even murderous opposition.  Republicans' efforts to destroy what took such courage and determination to achieve are a disgrace to the entire country.

And after all that, Abrams ended up "losing" by less than one and a half percentage points.  The close margin makes it undeniable -- without vote suppression, she would have won.  The election was stolen, in the purest and bluntest sense.

All Abrams did was to insist on stating that simple truth.  A lesser politician would have "made nice", would have conceded "gracefully", would have kept silent about the ugly facts and legitimized the betrayal of the voters, would have contributed to the normalization of the outrageously abnormal, would have lied.  Would have acted, to put it bluntly, as a collaborator.  Certainly plenty of Democrats want our politicians to behave like that, to smile and strive for "bipartisanship" while the Republicans shit all over them and all over the electorate.  Abrams was too honest to do so.

Republicans are predictably furious that Abrams didn't follow the script and put her stamp of legitimacy on the fruit of their slimy tactics.  At least one has compared her unfavorably to Arizona Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally who, to her credit, did concede defeat without any of the usual Republican bullshit about hordes of illegal aliens or whatever voting -- but that's because she didn't face the massive campaign of cheating that Abrams and her supporters did.  McSally was rightly conceding that she lost a fair fight.  She gets credit because she refrained from lying.  Abrams, too, refrained from lying.

Abrams has made it clear that she's not going away.  Thank goodness.  We need more like her.


Blogger Ten Bears said...

Boiled down to ones and zeros, balls on a brass monkey: it was stolen. Illegitimate.

20 November, 2018 02:42  
Blogger bluzdude said...

I'm sick of the Republicans demanding high principles and civility from Democrats, while they lie, cheat and steal their way to consolidating their power. They don't even hide it anymore.

20 November, 2018 05:55  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I been following that myself ... there is more voter suppression going on in this shithole (as Trump would call corrupt countries) than you can shake a stick at too. The whole f'n voting system in this damn country needs an overhaul too, especially in Texas, too easy to manipulate votes here, at least from what I seen. I been for voting reform for years, including auto registration, national voting day, paper or some kind of solid ballot,etc ... the individual systems in various states are so foreign to each other too. Even though I vote like clockwork, I don't trust the voting system here in Texas, for various reasons I seen. No ... I myself believe there are plenty of politicians who are honest, at least enough to make a difference. The challenges that politicians face are tough too ... because of the money/ funding factor in part, lobby responsibilities, I believe that some just go with the flow, because they are on the spot. There are wayz to challenge and put an end to this shit ... but too long story to get in to here ...

20 November, 2018 06:56  
Blogger Donna said...

"Republicans are predictably furious that Abrams didn't follow the script and put her stamp of legitimacy on the fruit of their slimy tactics."

GOOD! The election was OBVS stolen. I love her reaction. I hope Kemp has one hell of a time in office AND gets nailed for his obscene crimes against Democracy!

20 November, 2018 07:54  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

The voting system in some states is just appalling. The fact that people are screaming that others are making it impossible for them to vote and our government is doing nothing about it makes me sick. The corruption, dishonesty and out right lies about ballots is truly disturbing.

21 November, 2018 08:58  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Abrams is a determined, intelligent, honest politician. What happened in Georgia is a desgrace and an insult to the men and women in the military who died protecting democracy. I look forward to the next Democratic president making use of her many gifts and talents by having Abrams work in her or his administration, keeping her in the national spotlight.

21 November, 2018 11:43  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thomas: Yes -- and more obvious than ever in this case.

Bluzdude: If they want us to be civil, they should behave in ways to which civility is the appropriate response.

Ranch: I can believe it. Since Beto got within three percentage points, it might well be that he too would have won an honest election.

Donna: Republicans hate honesty. It shows them up.

Mary: Now that Democrats have won back control of several state governments, they've got a chance to fix it. The fact that voters passed initiatives in several states to stop gerrymandering shows that they're fed up with it.

Shaw: Yes -- yet another insult to the military sworn to defend the Constitution.

I'm hoping that in 2020 a Democratic President will be elected and Abrams will win a Senate seat.

21 November, 2018 16:35  
Blogger Martha said...

This is such an amazing woman. I was hoping she'd win. And really, she should have!

22 November, 2018 20:12  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

She'll be back!

23 November, 2018 04:00  

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