Rarely does a state election official make a public statement. But Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, had had enough.
The Republican official, his voice rising in anger Tuesday, described a video threat, posted online and directed at a voting machine contractor in Georgia’s Gwinnett County. After the video’s circulation, an election worker — described by Sterling as 20-years-old — was accused of treason and found a noose outside his home.
“You need to step up and say this ...,” Sterling said to President Donald Trump and Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed, and it’s not right.”
INSTEAD, THEY’VE challenged the fairness of the Nov. 3 election, and questioned whether Joe Biden defeated the president.
On the morning of Jan. 8, 2011, Arizona’s then Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was holding a “Congress on Your Corner” event in the parking lot of a Safeway grocery story in Casas Adobes, Arizona, just outside of Tucson. A 22-year-old local man, Jared Lee Loughner, pointed a 9mm Glock 19 pistol at Giffords’ head and fired. Amazingly, she survived.
A June day in 2017 saw yet another gunman take aim at federal legislators.
“A rifle-wielding attacker opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice, wounding House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others as congressmen and aides dove for cover. The assailant, prepared with ‘a lot of ammo,’ fought a gun battle with police before he, too, was shot and later died,” reported The Associated Press’ Erica Werner and Chad Day. “The shooter was identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspector from Illinois who had several minor run-ins with the law in recent years and belonged to a Facebook group called ‘Terminate the Republican Party.’”
In the wake of Giffords’ shooting, some on the left chose to politicize the moment, pointing to the white-hot rhetoric directed at then President Barack Obama. Similarly, even as victims clung to life in the hospital, some on the right wasted no time in pointing to the fevered opposition to President Trump as the culprit in the Scalise shooting.
THESE ARE HIDEOUS, SPECIOUS arguments no matter who makes them. In both cases, unhinged men with guns ambushed sitting lawmakers.
But the president’s demonization of various state election officials since his bid for a second term fell short is forcing once anonymous public servants to seek out security details for themselves and their families.
For doing their jobs. For certifying election results.
Georgia’s Gabriel Sterling is right. This has to stop.