The Georgia election workers Trump slandered are the foundation of American democracy

Reluctantly, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman on Tuesday joined a pantheon of heroes who defended the nation’s basic right to vote after recounting the terrifying price they paid, simply for doing their duty to ensure free and fair elections in Georgia. In poignant testimony during the House Select Committee’s final hearing on the January 6, 2021, insurrection, election workers poignantly explained how their lives had been turned upside down by Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s ridiculous claims that they were voter fraud con artists.

“There’s nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere. Do you know what it’s like to be targeted by the President of the United States?” Freeman said in previously recorded video testimony.

Moss, appearing nervous and distressed, told the committee in person that the targeting of Trump and the often racist threats that followed turned her life upside down. “I don’t want anyone to know my name. … It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way — all because of lies,” she said, noting how much she once enjoyed helping the others to vote, once by right. denied to black Americans like her grandmother, and who is still being jeopardized by Trump and his henchmen.

Considering the harassment and threats they had already faced, Moss and Freeman’s willingness to expose themselves to a national television audience was an extraordinary act of bravery. The mother and daughter testified after Republican officials and election administrators who helped save the country’s democracy from Trump’s 2020 coup attempt exposed the extent of his bullying and pressure. Rusty Bowers, the GOP chairman of the Arizona State House, said what Giuliani and Trump asked him to do, without any evidence of voter fraud, would violate his oaths to the Constitution and the rule of law.

“It’s alien to my very being, I won’t do it,” Bowers said.

Bowers, who said he hoped the ex-president would win the 2020 election, upheld the highest principles of democracy and patriotism. He honored the will of Arizona voters (who handed Joe Biden a victory in the state) and his oath to uphold the Constitution, while speaking the truth – acts that virtually guarantee ostracism in the Party Trump’s modern Republican.

courage and duty

On Tuesday, each of the witnesses, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gabriel Sterling, a senior election official in Peach State, poignantly recounted the personal ordeal they endured. Their testimony was crucial because it highlighted the courage sometimes needed to defend democracy against tyranny and repression. The principle that Americans have the right to choose their leaders rests on thousands of small acts of civic duty as well as accepting election results, even if they don’t yield the desired outcome.
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The bravery of the witnesses, who even now, after all they had been through, were ready to go public again was deeply impressive. It also contrasted with the weakness of many Republicans in the US Senate, House and across the country who knew Trump’s behavior was destructive but refused to stand up to him in order to save their own political skin. This reflects poorly on the large number of Trump supporters in Congress who are doing everything they can to discredit the work of the House Select Committee. And the witnesses’ willingness to accept the facts, to do their job in the face of intense pressure and to defend their duty to the Constitution, draws an implicit contrast to Trump and his cowardice in refusing to accept the reality of his loss in 2020. .

Tuesday’s hearing featured extended excerpts from Trump’s hour-long call to Raffensperger in January 2021 in which he pressed the secretary of state to find more votes to overturn his loss to Biden in the ‘State. Even though the call had already gone public, it was still shocking to hear a desperate, lawless, and often illogical president trying to steal an election and conspire to overthrow the will of the voters.

Testimonies of Trump’s intimidation of local officials and election workers reflect the ominous possibility that the kind of heroism shown by local officials and election workers in 2020 could be forced out of the system in the next election.

Moss, for example, said she quit her job as an election worker and most of the people she worked with did the same. This not only raises serious questions about Georgia’s ability to hold critical elections for Governor and Senate in November. It may also provide an opening for political hacks that Trump allies have attempted to install to administer elections in state and local offices despite no previous experience. If people like Moss and Freeman – patriots and American citizens – are expelled, elections will be much easier to steal and democracy could wither away.

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Yet Raffensperger’s testimony offered a ray of light to those hoping the GOP will turn away from its authoritarian course and re-embrace the peaceful transfer of power that another witness, Bowers, noted as once called ” miracle” by the Republican President. Ronald Reagan.

Raffensperger, like Gov. Brian Kemp, another Republican who held his own against Trump in 2020, recently triumphed over a primary foe backed by the ex-president — just two of Trump’s many primary defeats in the state. from Peach this year. On Tuesday, State Representative Bee Nguyen won the Democratic nomination to assume the position of GOP secretary of state in the fall.

Powerful Evidence

Tuesday’s hearing was the latest televised examination of Trump’s attempts to thwart Biden’s 2020 election victory and the events leading up to the U.S. Capitol insurrection he instigated. The committee has produced testimony — mostly from people in Trump’s former campaign and White House inner circle — that suggests he was repeatedly told he lost the election, that his allegations of fraud were false and that he knew there was no basis in law or the Constitution for his quest to block certification of Biden’s victory.

So far, most of the evidence has come from political operatives, lawyers, or state and local officials – people who have knowingly entered the bear pit of politics and know the sacrifices involved, although nothing could not have prepared them for coercion from Trump. What made Moss and Freeman’s testimony so powerful was that it came from Americans who had no reason to believe they would be chosen into the national spotlight – let alone by a corrupt president – and who were doing their part for their country to preserve the precious grassroots democracy.

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Moss’s privacy was destroyed when she learned that Giuliani had accused her mother of passing her some sort of USB drive as part of an elaborate vote-stealing scheme. In reality, the object in question was a ginger mint, she said. During his call with Raffensperger, Trump attacked Moss 18 times, drawing him into the heat of one of the worst political crises to ever plague the United States.

“I felt awful, I felt like it was all my fault,” Moss said. “I just felt like it was, it was my fault for putting my family in this situation.”

She added that she and her mum are now afraid to even go out or go to the supermarket after receiving threats “wishing me dead, telling me you know I’ll be in jail with my mum and saying things like — ‘be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.'”

Earlier, Sterling debunked Giuliani’s false criticism of election workers at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, where Moss and Freeman worked during the election count. And he recounted how he lost his temper and felt compelled to deliver a public speech in which he prophetically warned Trump that his actions could provoke violence. The official also expressed deep frustrations as he tried to refute the torrent of lies that convinced Trump supporters, including Sterling’s own family, that his lies about a stolen election had merit. He likened the task of countering Trump truthfully to “a shovel trying to empty the ocean.”

Bowers compared Trump and Giuliani to the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight” and described their election-stealing effort and fierce pressure on him as a “tragic travesty”. Despite his deep conservatism and partisan bias, which in others has translated into aiding Trump’s anarchy, Bowers has emerged as an example of the brave public servants and citizens upon whom democracies are built.

“I don’t want to be a winner by cheating,” he said, reading a passage from a diary he kept in December 2020. “I will not mess with the laws to which I have sworn allegiance .”

Events since the election and Trump’s determination to entrench another White House campaign in his relentless lies mean that other officials hitherto unknown to the nation may be called upon to do their duty to the Constitution under a extreme constraint in the future.

As Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California, a member of the select committee, said at the end of the sobering hearing: “The fact that we have lived in a democracy for over 200 years does not mean that we we’ll do it tomorrow.”

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