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We Should Learn From Georgia to Show Us the Way Forward

Over slow generations, they built a broad enough "we" and an effective bottom up force that formed not just a victorious voting block this year, but a caring community dedicated explicitly to dismantling white supremacy.

U.S. Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock (R) bumps elbows with Stacey Abrams (L) during a campaign rally with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden at Pullman Yard on December 15, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock (R) bumps elbows with Stacey Abrams (L) during a campaign rally with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden at Pullman Yard on December 15, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The answer to what happened in Washington last Wednesday is what happened in Georgia last Tuesday.

The answer to the yell and the noose of white macho supremacy is the slow, hard labor of making society democratic.

The debate over Amazon dropping Parler and Twitter and Facebook dropping Donald Trump misses the point. Megaphones for snake oil salesmen will exist for as long our media runs off snake oil sales. The answer to the mobster who riles up the lynch mob is media that’s moral, which ours is not. Our media is motivated by money, and money, as we also saw this week, has no morals.

A society run for financial gain will never care that much about democracy; because that sort of society doesn’t care—except about profit. It has no morals.

The stock market’s boom has withstood a global pandemic, a worldwide recession, long bread lines, long voting lines, and a deadly display of white supremacy in the nation’s capital. The financial markets rose on all of it.

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Which is why a society run for financial gain will never care that much about democracy; because that sort of society doesn’t care—except about profit. It has no morals.

Which takes us back to why we need to study Georgia. Arguably America’s most brutal slave state, enslaved African Americans in plantation Georgia built the modern United States, and much of the entire capitalist world, in the service of money, driven by rape and the whip, herded in coffles, and traded for cash.

The returns from cotton fueled the rest of the economy, the financial markets, and shaped every aspect of American society, our media, and our politics.

Just how did a majority of Georgians come together against that? Poor people mostly, led by African American women and the young—people long policed and written off. Over slow generations, they built a broad enough “we” and an effective bottom up force that formed not just a victorious voting block this year, but a caring community dedicated explicitly to dismantling white supremacy.

How did they do that? That’s what we need to know, and we need media that will tell that story.

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders interviews forward-thinking people about the key questions of our time on The Laura Flanders Show, a nationally syndicated radio and television program also available as a podcast. A contributing writer to The Nation, Flanders is also the author of six books, including "Bushwomen: How They Won the White House for Their Man" (2005).  She is the recipient of a 2019 Izzy Award for excellence in independent journalism, the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award for advancing women’s and girls’ visibility in media, and a 2020 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship for her reporting and advocacy for public media. lauraflanders.org

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