Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Valdosta Daily Times on Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue conceding to Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Georgia's senate runoffs:
Our republic — our open and free elections to select our leaders — is not a Democrat thing or a Republican thing — it is an American thing.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp congratulated Georgia’s new senators — Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. That’s what leaders do.
Outgoing Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue conceded to Ossoff and Warnock because that’s the way it’s done.
Both elections were contentious.
Both were close.
Both were held in Georgia using the Dominion voting systems.
As in all elections, there were winners and losers.
The winners graciously accept and vow to govern for all the people.
The losers concede and put democracy ahead of partisan politics, at least in that moment.
In Georgia, and in America, we put our trust in elections. That is how we choose our leaders. We do not attempt to overthrow the outcome of an election because it did not go our way and then call for the illegal, unconstitutional rejection of the will of the people — at least we didn’t until now.
Loeffler and Perdue demonstrated that we are better than that.
They were both better than President Donald Trump who has yet to concede to President-elect Joe Biden and who instead stoked the flames of insurrection as he urged his ardent followers to march to the Capitol, a march that ended in a riotous insurrection in an attempt to overturn an American election.
That’s not who we are.
That’s not American
Clearly, there is plenty of room for disagreement with Loeffler and Perdue when it comes to policy, posturing, campaign rhetoric and misinformation, but when it was the most important — when it came time to concede and accept the outcome of the election — they both did the right thing.
Thank you, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, for doing the right thing in Georgia.
Congratulations Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Now, govern for all the people of Georgia, those who supported you and those who did not.
Rome News-Tribune on the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol:
The scenes from the U.S. Capitol were appalling, and the continued ramping up of unfounded conspiracy theories before and after a mob vandalized the building were as bad, if not worse.
People we trusted to represent and lead Georgia in Congress continued parroting false claims of election fraud even after rioters had fought with police and shut down what was already expected to be an abnormal — although usually perfunctory — proceeding.
The Nov. 3 election ended over a month ago in reality, but the conspiracy-driven fallacies have pushed the hype on and on, way past any measure of reality.
“Hello, Georgia,” President Trump said to a crowd in Dalton. “There’s no way we lost Georgia. There’s no way. That was a rigged election.”
He then encouraged a crowd to march on the Capitol ... and they did. And they surrounded the Capitol building, and they broke inside and vandalized it. Some fought with police officers and one police officer is dead.
There’s no excuse and some people, Americans, rejoiced to see this mob attack the Capitol building then quickly moved to blame it on someone else. “Antifa” they shouted, “leftist conspiracy” because those claims had seemed to work before.
And despite a lack of evidence to back up that assertion, there are those who continue to believe it.
Why? Because they want to. They can’t possibly be wrong. They can’t possibly have lost.
It’s hard to look at reality full in the face sometimes and admit the world doesn’t work the way we want it to.
Claims of election fraud began the very same way and were spread by the very same people.
It’s the most basic tactic for saving face — preemptively announce that IF you lose a contest, it will have been rigged. So that when you do lose you can say “See, I told you.”
Despite objections to the election filed by U.S. Representatives like Rep. Marjorie Greene and Rep. Barry Loudermilk, here’s a fact or two:
The growth of metro areas in Georgia has long been a factor pushing Georgia from a red state to a purple color. We’re a battleground state and ... well ... we’re going to have to get used to that.
Like much of the country, Georgia’s rural Republican areas are in a contest with the more highly populated urban Democratic areas. The metro Atlanta area has been outpacing much of the rest of Georgia for some time and this is the result.
Here’s another fact. As political parties fight the wars within themselves — most recently exemplified within the GOP — we all are damaged by the flak.
For an example, look at the Georgia Republican party recently which hemmed and hawed about absentee voter processes they themselves put in place in 2005. They then began to attack members of their own party — Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to name a few.
Now that the elections are over, role reversals have already begun.
As a President-elect Joe Biden moves toward the presidency, the right will begin remembering their fiscal values and start complaining about government spending again, even though the deficit grew at its usual rapid and unsustainable pace under the outgoing president.
And on the other side of the partisan aisle, the left will likely begin to temporarily ignore that the U.S. continues to send soldiers to conflicts that started over a year before teenagers eligible to fight in them were born.
That’s the most frustrating thing about partisan politics ... the willingness to ignore the wrongdoings of party idols and focus only on the evils of the other side, even if platform or procedural views have to be completely flip-flopped.
The tones and arguments change when the minority party switches to the majority and vice versa.
We’ll likely see the same thing happen in the Senate very soon where the two sides will argue over the unfairness of procedural rule changes they themselves made when power was shifted in the opposite direction.
The truth is, neither of the “big two” parties sticks to a platform at the federal level, and forsaking the base so often comes as sociopathic opportunists in D.C. engage in free-for-all circus politics, grabbing at what is convenient at the expense of what is right.
Look at what happened this past Wednesday. If we can’t learn that we’re all Americans, if we can’t learn to work together, we’re going to see more of this.
The Brunswick News on whether to keep electing a secretary of state in Georgia:
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston says he is forming an Election Integrity Committee to study the state’s election process to make sure it is fair and aboveboard. That’s a good thing — unless, of course, it is a smoke screen to change oversight of elections without a good or valid reason to do so.
It could very well be in the offing. Speaker Ralston indicated in recent weeks it might be a favorable alternative to keeping elections under the umbrella of the people-elected Secretary of State. He now says it can be done without depending on Georgians passing a constitutional amendment to allow it.
Given all the finger-pointing from members of the state’s two largest political parties, with one most always accusing the other of fudging or outright cheating in elections, the last thing Georgia needs is for a political appointee to be in charge of elections. The people of Georgia should continue to elect this person — not politicians, not members of the General Assembly.
Granted, there was a lot of confusion this election year. But put the blame where it belongs, on COVID-19.
Had it not been for the virus, the old rules requiring in-person voting for those capable of it and with presentation of a photo identification would have remained in effect.
Given the potential deadliness of this coronavirus, the state made the right move by permitting all registered voters to check their choices via absentee ballots in the November general election and January runoff. It reflects genuine concern for the welfare of people — putting human beings over politics.
Do we want to check and double-check the integrity of elections in Georgia? Certainly, and by all means, let’s do that. Give it a thorough evaluation and study. Eliminate weaknesses. Solidify the rules.
Those who subscribe to the principles of democracy want fair, untarnished elections. Voters may squawk from time to time when the outcome is not what they wanted, but as long as an election is on the up and up, they know it may be their turn next time.
Let’s keep it that way.