Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Not More Than a Feeling

     I was going to take the day off from blogging but then I listened to Wandrea "Shaye" Moss' testimony today before the January 6 Committee. It would be an understatement to say that I was moved. And I'd be somewhat remiss in my self-imposed responsibilities as a political blogger and citizen journalist if I didn't say something about her testimony in a timely fashion.
     The star of the fourth hearing was supposed to be Rusty Bowers, the Republican Speaker of the Arizona House and, to be fair, Speaker Bowers' testimony was compelling. But, really, the show was stolen by Shaye Moss, the Fulton County election worker who was essentially hounded out of her job of over 10 years and almost out of her neighborhood.
     Because it was Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman who were singled out literally for persecution for something they simply did not do, namely throwing votes for Biden, exchanging thumb drives between each other and counting ballots twice.
     None of that, as we all know, was true. In fact, it's palpably untrue. But some idiot, whether it was Rudy Giuliani, who also called these women out by name, or John Eastman or somebody showed Trump a short video of them counting ballots and yeasted up a conspiracy literally out of nothing. Trump played the video of them at at least one of his rallies. He brought up Moss and Freeman's names no fewer than 18 times in that now-infamous call to Raffensberger just days before the riot. Trump even called the 62 year-old Mrs. Freeman, "a professional vote scammer, a hustler." Talk about the ultimate projection.
    And in doing so, he and Giuliani and whatever ratfucker in their circle who'd put the womens' names in their mouths painted a target on their backs. Shaye Moss' grandmother was also targeted with racist abuse from the crackers who tried beating down her door. And the grandmother had nothing to do with the election outside of voting in it.
   Keep in mind this was Georgia, the state in which Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down in broad daylight just for jogging down the street and whose murderers weren't even arrested much less charged for a couple of months when the local prosecutor refused to bring those charges.
    I tried to put myself in her shoes, when she was called on the carpet in her boss's office when Trump and Giuliani first put her name in their foul, lying maws. I tried to imagine how she felt when the man generously called the president of the United States lied on her and her own mother for crimes she knew they didn't commit.
    It chilled me to be in her position while knowing fully well that I still fell short in my attempt at empathy. I can't know how Moss and her mother felt because I am not an election worker, I am not black and I do not live in the south. Somehow, saying it must have been a nightmare for her and her mother comes off sounding like a pathetically insufficient bromide.
    Neither could I imagine what Mrs, Freeman had felt when the FBI called her right before January 6th (Apparently proving they knew damned good and well what was going to happen that day) and strongly suggested she vacate her home of 21 years. They told her it would be for about two weeks. It turned out to be two months.
     Because rednecks kept banging on their doors on a daily basis, those low-information gargoyles who make up most of Trump's base. We all know how Trump feels about black women and in case you need to be reminded, go ask Maxine Waters, Frederica Wilson, Vice President Kamala Harris and other black women Trump has savaged over the years. All over a "feeling" the 2020 election had been stolen from him, as if it was a birthright and not an exercise of our democratic process.
     So when Trump began going after these innocent women, it was just enough for him to know they were black. Shaye Moss still has not gotten her life back and likely never will. She's now a shut-in and won't even go to the grocery store. She second guesses everything she says or does. In short, she's withdrawn from the society in Fulton County that she dearly loves. At one point, she began sounding like your classic rape victim.
     Women who are rape victims are conditioned to believe through countless generations of misogyny and shiftless male blame-shifting that they are somehow responsible and contributory to their own victimhood. "Should I have worn that dress that night?" "Did I say or do anything to give mixed signals?" "Should I have fought harder?" "Should I even report it?"
     But the lady stood her ground and for it, earned the Kennedy Institute's Profile in Courage Award. And today, she testified before Congress and told her story. But she and her mother will have to return to Fulton County tomorrow. And who knows what awaits them?


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