Thursday, November 19, 2020

How Two Senate Races Became a Battle for Your Soul


By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

AMWS, November 19, 2020, Atlanta – Better angels prevailed over outside agitators as the Georgia hand recount confirms a Biden win here. The latest hurdle in Election 2020 prayerfully brings #WeThePeople closer than ever to the Peach State reality -- #GeorgiaOnMyMind.

At dawn’s early light, a battle for Georgia’s soul is being waged with almost enough campaign spending to achieve #NoPoverty2030.  With plagues of Biblical measure at stake, no doubt, at least half of America is looking to Georgia for something other than business as usual.  According to Pew Charitable Trusts, 76% of Christians in Georgia believe in Hell.  Security of their own souls is crucial to recovery for the rest of the nation.

Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, has been facing the worst kind of voter intimidation.  The pressure between doing the right thing politically and doing the right thing is growing old—right alongside America’s intent for its post Civil War Reconstruction.   American history today in Georgia depends on the version to which one might subscribe.

Country artist Charlie Daniels perhaps foretold events of today in his prophetic country hit, The Devil Went Down To Georgia.  In the end, “Johnny” wins the battle for the soul, at least from the perspective of the storyteller here.  

“Johnny, rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard, 'cause hell's broke loose in Georgia and the devil deals the cards. And if you win you get this shiny fiddle made of gold. But if you lose, the devil gets your soul.”  

Battles for the soul of a nation have been fought and loss throughout Georgia’s history.  But unlike other less fortunate venues, Georgia discovered a bridge.  The multitalented Ray Charles set a tone for healing through his 1960 ballad.  Georgia on My Mind, (lyrics by Stuart Gorrell, a banker, and music by Hoagy Carmichael, an actor) endures as one of America’s best loved songs.

Georgia on My Mind has been recorded by many outstanding artists, but the rendition by Charles, a native Georgian, has been embraced throughout the world.  On April 24, 1979, "Georgia on My Mind" became the official state song of Georgia, replacing the song, "Georgia."

Repair from political conflict begins where a hopeful nation looks for it. In the past, a faithless elector might demonize political opposition without ever considering the history that got us here.

Georgia’s history presents a pathway to America’s future, but only with a little fact checking sprinkled along the way. Republican David Purdue is cousin to former Governor Sonny Purdue.  Georgia elected Sonny as a Democrat in 1991, 1994, and 1996. Then Sony switched party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1998 and was re-elected to the State Senate as a Republican. Democrat Jon Ossoff challenges Purdue to some down-home fiddling that could change the majority in the United States Senate.  Jon Ossoff’s election levels the Senate at 50-50, kicking off an honest attempt at being better.

The second of two senate special election races pits Raphael Warnock against incumbent Kelly Loeffler.  Warnock has served as senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005. He came to prominence in Georgia politics as a leader in the campaign to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Loeffler is married to Intercontinental Exchange founder and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher. In August 2020, The Washington Post reported the couple’s combined net worth at $520 million, making her the wealthiest U.S. senator. The Bloomington, Illinois native bought a minority stake in the Atlanta Dream of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).  She publicly objected to players wearing shirts with Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name printed on them.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to the U.S. Senate seat she now holds. During the 2016 election, as Secretary of State, Kemp rejected help from the Department of Homeland Security to guard against Russian interference. During the 2018 election, Kemp held up more than 53,000 voter registration applications, with nearly 70% of the voter registrations belonging to African Americans.

Jefferson Franklin Long (March 3, 1836 – February 4, 1901) was the first African-American congressman from Georgia.  He was the only African American to represent Georgia until Andrew Young was elected in 1972.  If elected, Warnock will be the first African American to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate. 

In the song, Devil Went Down To Georgia, observers might see the Devil betting a hometown favorite named Johnny a golden fiddle against his soul. It becomes clear that Johnny’s soul is symbolic of something more—perhaps the soul of the South –perhaps the soul of a nation. One might note from Daniels’ perspective on preposition, the Devil didn’t go up to Georgia, as if from hell; he went down to Georgia, as if from the north.

Battle For America’s Soul

 “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-18

Be Strong, Be Ready, Be Prayin’