Perhaps what we are witnessing in the aftermath of yesterday’s double Georgia U.S. Senate election run-offs is a political parable. Parables are stories that lead to revelation — or narratives that disclose elusive truths, but which make understanding more lucid. Political parables can tell us who we are as citizens and anticipate what possibilities are ahead.
The senate races in Georgia have, since the November 2020 elections, captured the attention of the nation in the soon to be post-Trump presidency. Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have functioned in their state — and across the nation — as representative of progressive politics. The Georgia contests have also been the focus of the party of Biden in the U.S. Senate, where vice-president elect Kamala Harris, who will preside as the president of the Congressional body, will likely serve as a critical vote casting functionary in a deeply divided senate. The Georgia vote yesterday may well have placed on pause the reign of Sen. President Mitch McConnell, whose agenda for more than a decade has been nothing less than an anti-liberal obstructionist.
Two generations ago, Georgia was captive of political Dixiecrats. The state remained locked in the jaws of regional civic proclivities that fostered a brand of anti-black racism that had its genesis in slavery, and Jim Crow. For the Dixiecrats, the demands of varied forms of race-based nullification and interposition held sway. Stone Mountain, in Georgia, where the Ku Klux Klan once regularly burned crosses to intimidate the nation with its commitment to enforce apartheid, became an altar upon which white supremamcist genuflected in earnest efforts to maintain the status quo.
But as all parables reveal new meaning, the larger insights that we may well gain with the historic vote in Georgia is that the election signifies how we may transform the electoral landscape with a lasting commitment to a multiracial democracy.
Understanding the meaning of political parables give us all access to the civic credal intentions exemplified in documents like the Declaration of Independence, the U.S Constitution, and surely the Magna Carta, before them. Political parables give clarity to discerning the dimensions and complxities of the American dream — where we lay claim to notions of equity and fair play. Political parables illumine the possibility of expanding the parameters of our collective democratic horizons.
Warnock and Ossoff represent two hated racial and religious groups during the country’s history. Blacks and Jews have always been reviled and rejected as illegitimate American citizens. During the midst of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman — two Jews and a Black — were lynched in the Mississippi, their bodies buried in an earthen grave. Both Jews and Blacks, as distinct groups, have always been deemed pariahs within our national social and cultural economy. The results of yesterday’s election may prove redemptive.
Two generations ago, Georgia was captive of political Dixiecrats: — The state remained locked in the jaws of regional civic proclivities that fostered a brand of anti-black racism that had its genesis in slavery, and Jim Crow.
Political parables are not the stuff of saccharine-saturated civic optimism. They are not naive civic indicators upon which we can lay claim to inevitable electoral progress. Instead political parables reflect the dilemma of democracy: the solemn push required toward approximating equality and civic inclusion. This solemn push, in times, past has been animated those who have sacrificed to oppose the hegemonic and totalizing impacts that the powerful wield over the vulnerable — by those who believe that lessons can be learned in the face of opposition.
We applaud the democratic victories in Georgia. Power is important. The proper use of power is even more important. But mostly we hope the lessons learned in the Peachtree State informs us how we become the fullest America we can be.