Outside the opera house, Gotterdammerung is never pretty. When it’s twilight time for the gods, they go crazy, whining against the dying of the light, launching conspiratorial excuse after excuse to forestall “The End.”
Here’s a quote from Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, after election officials and judges across his state had rejected any claims of fraud in the 2020 elections: “There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems, understandably, led to a crisis of confidence.” As if all this had not happened on his watch as governor of the state.
But, of course, there were no “alarming issues,” no “problems” and the very real “crisis of confidence” stemmed from the Big Lie from Election Night’s Big Loser Donald Trump, his false claim of election fraud that birthed the Vote Suppression bill Kemp had just signed into law.
Typical of our visual age, the quote was preceded by the picture, carefully staged, of Gov. Kemp signing the bill with a painted backdrop of an antebellum plantation and planted row of seven Republican lawmakers. Need I add all eight politicos were white males.
There was a Black woman, but like the slaves at the scenic plantation, she was out of the picture, locked out of the room. After she knocked on the governor’s door Democratic state Representative Park Cannon was arrested.
Here’s another quote — from ex-president Donald Trump, made after the Georgia law and similar proposals in Texas and other Republican-led states had drawn fire from some Big Corporate Chiefs: “Boycott Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, and Merck,” Trump said. “Don’t go back to their products until they relent. We can play the game better than them.”
And the same-day picture: a vanity snappie tossed online by the former presidential advisor Stephen Miller, showing him and “the former guy” grinning at the camera, and half-hidden, but in easy reach of the thirsty Trump, a bottle of Diet-Coke.
I want it “to be crystal clear” said Coca-Cola’s C.E.O. “Jim” Quincey in explaining why his company did not support the Georgia law. It is because, he said it “makes it harder for people to vote, not easier.”
Which is, of course, what you’d expect from a soft-drink guy — a sweetening of reality. What has made the Georgia election law unacceptable to so many people, including corporate CEOs is that in several definable ways it makes it much harder for people of color to vote. The Georgia GOP’s offense is not just vote suppression but racism.
Joan Walsh is a national affairs correspondent for The Nation and a CNN political contributor. She is the author of What’s the Matter With White People? Finding Our Way in the Next America, which the Philadelphia Daily News called “one of the best books of 2012—and even more relevant now.” Author Anne Lamott described it as “a brilliant and illuminating book about America since the upheavals of ’60s and ’70s.”
Salon’s first news editor, Walsh served as editor in chief for six years. She is a regular on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper and Out Front with Erin Burnett, and has appeared on many other national shows including Real Time with Bill Maher and Now on PBS.
Before joining Salon, she worked as a consultant on education and poverty issues for community groups and foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation. She’s written for publications ranging from Vogue to The Nation, and for newspapers including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. An avid baseball fan, she’s the co-author of Splash Hit: The Pacific Bell Park Story, about the building of the San Francisco Giants legendary waterfront stadium. Walsh lives in New York.