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Jeff Whitten: Thoughts on the election
editor's notes

Congratulations are in order for the Rev. Raphael Warnock for winning his runoff Tuesday against Kelly Loeffler.

Warnock, a native son, beat the Illinois transplant and appointed Senator by a slender margin and in the process becomes the first Black U.S. Senator to represent Georgia.

It’s a historic victory and it was also quite beautiful to behold. Even more so since Warnock ran a mostly positive race in a sea of negativity and sent a message of inclusiveness and hope.

He did so while the other side was telling everybody a win by the Democrats would turn loose on America a bunch of radical socialist liberals (or is it radical liberal socialists, or liberal radical socialists, or social liberal radicals?) That said, maybe I’m not looking at the 2020 presidential election in the right light.

I say that because I know some sane and responsible people, some friends among them, who believe President Donald Trump got hosed and the election was rigged.

I do not agree and here we be.

Where I see an election that included recounts and challenges and appeals to judges all over the place that hadn’t changed the outcome prior to this column, they see fraud and corruption and believe the only way their guy lost was because the other side cheated to the extent it changed the outcome of the election.

That’s worrisome on a number of levels, including the remote possibility they’re somehow right, but I’m not the smartest guy in the room so I’ll stick with what bugs me the most about all this “Trump won.”

There’s an old adage that says, “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” In short, if you win, you show some class. And if you lose, you do so with dignity.

I know, its kids’ stuff.

At least, it’s what we used to try to teach our kids, else they turn into insufferable little brats who grow up to be insufferable big brats. And maybe that’s the problem.

But there has been precious little dignity coming from the White House, or from the president’s more high profile supporters, who would probably hold their breath until they turned blue if it weren’t for their dislike of that particular color and its association with Democrats.

There have been some exceptions among those who voted for the incumbent. Chief among them to me is Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – whose last name is about as much fun to type as that of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Rotheraburglerstilkstins. Raffensperger has lent a big dose of dignity to what’s been an otherwise sordid affair and about par for the course for 2020.

For starters, Raffensperger, a Republican, is a Trump supporter, and yet he’s put aside his partisan leanings to uphold the election process in this state, and continues to do so despite the usual repercussions, such as getting death threats from the more unhinged out there.

And then there’s the audio of a certain recent call from Trump in which he tries to get the Secretary of State to find Trump some votes. It was given to the media, which predictably had a field day with it.

That action was called “despicable” by that other incumbent in the U.S. Senate runoff, David Perdue. Perdue, who in his runoff and like his Republican counterpart, the aforementioned Loeffler, let himself be cast as some kind of savior of America, wasn’t referring to the call itself as despicable, but rather the call being made public.

Such is what some see as virtue these days, apparently.

Contrast that approach with the stand from Raffensperger, a low-key, bookish sort who reminds me a bit of old “Needle Nose Ned, or Ned the Head” from the Bill Murray flick, “Groundhog Day.”

An engineer by training, Raffensperger drove 240 miles to attend a candidate’s forum in Pembroke in 2018 sponsored by the Bryan County NAACP.

There, he joked about his name, saying he didn’t learn how to spell it himself until middle school, but said he was serious about updating the state’s elections security, at one point noting “people have fought and died for the right to vote.”

Yes, they have.

That’s why any attempt to trample or subvert that right needs to be taken seriously, no matter where it comes from: Left, right, up, down, sideways.

Raffensperger, who seems more an old school Republican than the people trying to throw him under the bus, gets that.

This ain’t about political party. It never should be.

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