• Mel Jones

The Other Side of the Trump Coin

I find myself staring at a blank page as I continue to recover from the midterm election. It was and continues to be, stressful. I found myself saying WTF several times a day. Yes, I’m looking at you Georgia. And stop snickering Florida—WTF?

We are a nation of laws. Laws are important. I often hear something somewhere someone has done, and I think, wait don’t we have a law against that? No? Why not? Why the hell did we not have a Department of Homeland Security before 9/11? Why don’t we have a rule that says a former director of a horse show (no matter how prestigious the show) does not have the requisite qualifications to oversee FEMA. I know for every job I have ever held, I have had to meet specific criteria: degrees, years of experience, a background check, in some instances a security clearance (I’d tell you about that job, but then I’d have to kill you or something). I have often been faced with things professionally that I had to step back from and say, yeah, ethically I can’t do that. And I foolishly think everyone does that.

Silly me.

Enter Brian Kemp.

Seriously? You think it’s cool to oversee an election you are running in? To disenfranchise thousands of voters, who would have likely voted for your opponent? And you didn’t think anyone would raise an eyebrow? I’m pretty sure my eyebrows don’t lift to that level of indignation. It’s just not humanly possible. And Georgia doesn’t have a rule against that? Georgia, up your game! If a run-off happens, for the love of god, elect Abrams! Kemp is, at best, crooked—and at worst criminal! I would want to go back and look at all of the elections he was in charge of. Every. Single. One. From 2010 until the present.

I know at first glance it seems to be one of those things that shouldn’t need to be legislated. Clearly, not so. Laws are not made for people who wouldn’t break them; we enact laws to protect us from the lowest filth of humankind, like Kemp. He is trying, and ultimately it looks as though he will, steal the governor’s seat. WTF? Ok, so after he thought the deal was done, he resigned his position as Secretary of State. Smarmy doesn’t begin to describe him. Georgia, you’ve got trouble on the horizon. Serious trouble. And have had since the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

I saw cotton and I saw black

Tall white mansions and little shacks

Southern man, when will you pay them back?

Apparently, not yet. People of color have been disenfranchised throughout the south in recent years. Lines have been redrawn; polling places closed; rules about IDs changed. We see you Kemps of the world. Welcome to the other side of the world that Trump made: an engaged electorate! You cannot gerrymander your way around that!

I also see a move against women’s right to vote. The Real ID comes with a laundry list of hoops women must jump through to obtain a new federally sanctioned ID. Birth certificate, marriage certificate (which is apparently different than a license—who knew?), divorce papers…

I was lucky enough to have been in Massachusetts recently and took a moment to obtain all the legal documents I will need when I renew my driver’s license in 2024—but I won’t be able to board an airplane after October 2019 without the new handy-dandy ID. Without the ID my ability to travel domestically will be restricted unless I have a passport. This is being under-reported. Scream it from the mountaintops! Imagine going to the airport next Thanksgiving only to discover, nope no grandma for you this year! For men, whose names don’t change 2, sometimes three times throughout their lifetime, the process is more seamless. Own all documents. As a genealogist, I have many documents—enough to obtain citizenship in several countries. But it will become challenging for me to travel in my own country. WTF? Will these IDs be used to vote one day? Something the Kemps of the world (or perhaps, dare I say, Trumps) would like to see.

It is essential to know what’s going on in the world. I read an average of seven newspapers a day, one in French. Why? Because people who skirt ethical values and in some cases the law think the rest of us aren’t paying attention, aren’t voting. Why should the government pay any attention to you? Most people get the news in sound bites, and fewer than half go to the polls and vote. Pay attention!

Being a part of the democratic process is often billed as a right, but it’s not; it is a responsibility. Step it up! Would you leave someone in your house to usurp your authority, damage your reputation, and destroy everything you own? No?

Guess what? Primaries are coming… Let’s not repeat Georgia or Florida.

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