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Opinion/Editorial: Election staff, pols targeted by Trump, then terrorized

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Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother Ruby Freeman. Donald Trump falsely accused them by name of election fraud.

‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.”

This is what Shaye Moss, a Georgia election worker, was told by a supporter of Donald Trump after Trump falsely accused Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman of fraudulent vote counting in the 2020 presidential election.

Moss recounted the racist comment as she testified Tuesday to the House Special Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The threats and harassment Moss and her mom endured were made worse by the fact that they are Black. Their treatment by Trump supporters was not limited to the suggestion that they would have been killed in 1920 when White people exerted real control over Blacks. FBI agents warned Freeman to leave her home ahead of Jan. 6 because they feared she might become the target of violence that day. She left home for two months. Moss’ grandmother, meanwhile, was subjected to a home invasion before Jan. 6. She called Moss at work to report that Trump supporters had come into her home when she answered a knock at the door. They said they wanted to find Moss and her mother and make a citizen’s arrest.

Moss no longer works for Georgia’s office of elections.

Neither do many election workers and public officials in other states. These people left after being bullied and threatened by Trump supporters who continue to accept the former president’s Big Lie that voter fraud cost him the 2020 presidential election. The vigilante nature of Trump’s loyalists played out in the deadly Capitol attack. Violence and intimidation are their methods of operation. Racism percolates through their ranks. They favor the crude, cruel tactics of tyrants.

If Americans don’t wake up soon, tyrants will be running the show and using violent and ignorant followers as their muscle.

People who saw a video of Moss and Freeman legally counting votes, but allowed Trump to convince them that the mother and daughter were cheating willfully, suspended disbelief. They continue to buy the Big Lie in the face of incontrovertible evidence that the 2020 election results were correct. These people are dangerous.

No one, however, is as dangerous as the demagogues who exploit them.

On the subject of election fraud, Trump lies each time his lips move. But the cowards in Republican leadership who know he’s lying yet refuse to call him out are in many ways worse.

Those who need a GOP profile in courage should listen to Rusty Bowers, the conservative, devoutly Christian Republican Speaker of the House in the Arizona state legislature. Like Moss, Bowers testified at the Jan. 6 committee hearing Tuesday.

Bowers voted for Donald Trump. Bowers campaigned with Donald Trump. What he would not do was “cheat” for Donald Trump. Trump wanted Bowers to replace people designated to cast Arizona’s electoral votes for Joe Biden with people who would cast the state’s electoral votes for Trump. Despite mounting pressure, Bowers honored his oath of office.

Trump’s supporters came to Bowers’ home and launched verbal attacks that included calling him a pedophile. Bowers’ severely ill daughter had to endure the hateful harangue. An armed Trump supporter harassed one of Bowers’ neighbors.

This is what Americans must pay attention to if they care about their future or the future of their children and grandchildren.

People who claim to be too busy to worry about the truth that the Jan. 6 committee reveals each time it holds a public hearing delude themselves. Those who do not think the most important issue facing the country is a brazen attempt to use lies, deceit and, finally, violence to overturn the results of a legitimate presidential election are simply wrong. They will regret their judgment years after their cratering retirement accounts rebound and electric vehicles leave $5-a-gallon gas in the rear view mirror.

Inflation will come and go. The United States survived the Great Recession of 2008. It will survive a recession in 2022 if there is one.

What American democracy may not weather is capitulation to the corrupt leadership and thug behavior Shaye Moss and Rusty Bowers described.

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