This is my last column before the most anticipated and most important mid-term elections in my lifetime. And that’s a long time! Many of you have already voted, or like me, you will vote on election day, November 6th. I don’t like voting early for the same reason I don’t open Christmas presents before Christmas day—it’s anti-climatic. I love the feeling of democracy in the air when I enter my polling place.
I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted and stressed out about all the recent violence and hatred in our country. Last week alone brought us bombs, shooting of Jews worshiping in their synagogue, and two blacks being shot while grocery shopping in Kentucky. As the hate crimes grow in number and the leader of our country continues his hate-filled rhetoric, there appears no end in sight. The lives of the families of these victims and witnesses will be forever changed. We, however, go about our daily lives giving little thought of how we can have an impact on hate crimes being our new status quo.
This election will have little affect on hate crime violence. However, it’s a good first step. We need climate change! The leader of our country has created an environment that emboldens mentally ill people to act on their worse urges. George Bush said, “We need a kinder, gentler nation.” People scoffed at that slogan at the time. Nobody would do that today. The Republicans have been unable to make this a kinder, gentler climate, so let’s give Democrats a chance. What the hell do we have to lose?
I saw something that made my blood run cold. It was a picture of Republican candidate for Governor, Brian Kemp, with his arm round the shoulder of a man. Kemp had a very broad smile and was giving a “thumbs up” in front of the chest of the man wearing a t-shirt that read something to the affect “Allah is not my God.” Kemp’s thumb blocked the rest of the wording. He was also wearing a Trump hat. This man was James J. Stachowiak of Evans, GA. He is one of Georgia’s most outspoken neo-Nazis, white supremacist and is on the FBI’s radar (I hope!). Stachowiak calls himself “Patriot” and in a YouTube video (since taken down) he asked everyone to shoot black women, children, and Black Lives Matter members in the back. In the video, Patriot held a high-caliber bullet up to the camera, which had “BLM” inscribed on it and said “this is the solution.” Stachowiak recently harassed Stacey Abrams at her campaign event, as well as a black female veteran.
Stachowiak is a dangerous man. He has stated that if Abrams is elected, there will be resistance and it will be met by the “Three Percenter” movement, a militia group. I would like to point out there is an active “Three Percenter” group (neo-Nazi) right here in Monroe County.
Before you Republicans get your panties in a wad, I am not suggesting that Brian Kemp condones white supremacy. I am pointing out that the persona Kemp has created with his shotgun ads and his suppression of the Black vote, makes him a magnet for crazies like Stachowiak. Plus, he is supported by Trump, who has refused to disavow hate groups. They feel comfortable with Kemp as Governor.
If we are ever to change the climate of hate in our country, we have to start now by NOT voting for anyone that appeals to groups that promote violence, white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, and Xenophobia.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just because the elections are on November 6, it does not mean all this election anxiety is over. There will surely be a run-off election in our local Sheriff’s race. Also, in the Governor’s race, there is a third-party candidate that could draw just enough votes to keep Abrams or Kemp from getting over 50% of the vote. The runoff election will be December 4th! In this case, I would welcome an early Christmas present.