Georgia On My Heart: A Day of Love for Our Southern Brothers and Sisters

While a lot of big news stories were buried under the avalanche of the Trump riot on the Capitol Building in DC on the 6th of January, today I choose to focus on the positive.

I am sipping a Bellini as I reflect on the amazing twofer that the Democrats accomplished in the Senate runoff yesterday. Raphael Warnock was declared the winner in his race the night before, and Jon Ossoff, in a much tighter race, was declared the winner in his race during the midst of the Capitol carnage.

And while I acknowledge that very nearly half of Georgia’s electorate backed the Trumpian candidates, Loeffler and Perdue, I can applaud the once reliably red state for moving progressively forward, unlike its neighbor to the south, Florida, which seems hellbent on spreading disease and lies, tethering itself to the past and destructive policies.

This did not come about without the Herculean efforts of Stacey Abrams and thousands of round-the-clock volunteers. Abrams lost her governor’s race by a razor-thin margin in 2018, where voter suppression, redistricting, and voting irregularities on election day were quite obvious.

While Abrams did not concede right away, did she call for rioting and chaos? No, she went right back to the hard work of fixing these problems and enrolling thousands of new voters so that this did not happen to a future candidate. On the eve of this runoff election, she was concerned that Republican voters wouldn’t turn out because of Trump’s statements. “I like to win, but not if it means voters are not turning out to vote,” she told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a true patriot for democracy.

How can we reward her?

Because she is such a champion of democracy, it would be inappropriate to put a crown on her head and make her Queen of Georgia.

Maybe Biden can give her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for starters, a title that is in great need of a reboot, after the honor was disastrously given to Rush Limbaugh, with another slew of bottom feeders expected to get it before Trump leaves office.

Given that she earned both a Master’s degree in Public Affairs at University of Texas/Austin and then a law degree from Yale before embarking on her political and activist career, I think the lady needs a vacation. Stacey, what do you love? Where would you like to go? Surely, your fans can do a crowdfunding campaign for you if it is too unseemly for the Feds to give you a vacation.

And what about Georgia itself? How can we reward that fine state? I have visited Atlanta twice, but have never been to Savannah. If we get some Covid relief, maybe I’ll go down there later this year.

Is there anything there that needs an infrastructure upgrade? How about a sizeable donation to the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta? The people seem to be demonstrating those rights with their feet and voices these days.

I think all drivers on their way to Florida should stop at all the tourist spots and restaurants in Georgia along the way and spend their money there. Might I suggest the Georgia Aquarium (the world’s largest) in Atlanta? How about the Chattahoochee National Forest near Clayton or the Callaway Gardens near Columbus? Or Stone Mountain, as mentioned in MLK’s historic “I Have a Dream speech? Maybe the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site or the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site? And, of course, there’s the famous Okefenokee Swamp and Savannah’s historic district.

We love you, Georgia. You are democracy in action and you are showing the rest of us how it’s done. To Stacey and the people of GA, I offer a toast with my second Bellini!

Stacey Abrams

I am an author, freelance writer, and singer/songwriter. I split my time between Brooklyn, NY and my native Massachusetts. I teach at City College of New York.