Back in 1979, band leader Charlie Daniels wrote these lines:
“The Devil went down to Georgia. He was lookin’ for a soul to steal.
“He was in a bind ’cause he was way behind. He was willing to make a deal.”
In December of 2020, the Devil once again journeyed to that southern bastion of Republicanism:
“The Devil went down to Georgia. He was lookin’ for a vote to steal.
“He was in a bind ’cause he was way behind. He was trying to make a deal.”
This time the Devil came in the form of a brain-sick old man babbling lies, fantasies and possible hallucinations. The vote he was looking to steal was Georgia’s vote in the Electoral College, in a vain attempt to remain in a job at which he was judged incompetent by a majority of that state’s voters, along with 80 million other Americans.
The Devil has been on a rampage since the Nov. 5 election, looking under every rock for a magic cure for electoral defeat. His team of looneys, headed by the now virus-sidelined Rudy Giuliani, the kookiest of the kooks, has lost in every state where it has challenged Joe Biden’s victory, but still the Devil stood on a stage in Valdosta and announced that he had won.
“We’ve never lost an election,” said the Devil. “We’re winning this election.” He failed to mention that Georgia’s votes have been recounted twice, which makes it a trio of defeats.
The Devil’s stated purpose for this rally was to support Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are engaged in tight Jan.5 special election races with their respective Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock.
But as always, the Devil focused first and foremost on himself. Many in the crowd carried “Make America Great Again” signs and wrapped themselves in huge “Trump 2020” flags as they worshipped at the feet of their once-impeached and now-defeated idol.
And their idol gave them what they’d come for: a rambling batch of whining falsehoods about the presidential race, along with an occasional mention of the Senate race. He lambasted Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, two Georgia Republicans who had sufficient strength of spine to stand up for the integrity of their state’s elections.
“If I’d lost, I’d be a very gracious loser,” the Devil said. “If I lost, I would say I lost and I’d go to Florida and I’d take it easy and I’d go around and I’d say I did a good job. But you can’t ever accept when they steal and rig and lie.”
There’s no question that he’d take it easy in Florida and say he’s done a good job. Taking it easy and bragging have been two of his major activities since the day he took office. But as for stealing and rigging and lying about the vote, he is barking up the wrong party tree.
What’s just as sickening as the Devil’s quixotic quest to subvert the election, despite losing 55 out of 55 decisions in contested-state courtrooms, is the gutless response to this attack on our democracy by Republican members of Congress. The Washington Post asked every Republican in the Senate and the House of Representatives who they thought won the election. Only 27 admitted that it was Joe Biden. Two claimed it was Donald Trump, and 220 others were too afraid of the Devil to give an opinion. “What will be, will be,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the Devil’s most enthusiastic and worshipful enablers.
The main reason the Devil continues to raise hell about the election despite having no success in the courts is the substantial success of his treasure chest. He has gulled his gullible worshippers out of $207.5 million (as of last week) to support his anti-American campaign, even though most of that money will go to his SaveAmerica PAC and the Republican Party coffers.
The Devil’s strategy has included begging legislators in contested states won by Biden to unlawfully throw out millions of legal votes and install substitute Trump electors. Some of Giuliani’s baseless bombast has been based on mythical voting machines programmed by a long dead Venezuelan dictator to switch votes for Trump to votes for Biden. This would be comical if the end result, the loss of faith in America’s electoral system, wasn’t such a serious issue.
By disguising himself behind a false face as a patriotic American, the Devil was fooling people like Sharon Tanner of Moultrie, Georgia, who talked with a Washington Post reporter at the rally. When asked who she thought would be inaugurated on Jan. 20, she said it would be Trump. “God’s going to open their mouths and let the truth come out,” she said. “I believe he’s God’s anointed, that God chose him to fix our country.”
Also we have Rick Wiles, a Christian minister, who pointed out that the Justice Department has created a new rule allowing for firing squads to be used in federal executions. “I’m trying not to be funny but it’s because they plan to shoot some people,” he said. “They’re gonna have a bunch of traitors. They’re gonna line’em up against the wall and start shooting them. Because that’s what they deserve.”
With bedeviled, bewildered and bedazzled believers like these in our midst, all I can do is quote the words of another author, Alan Paton: “Cry, the beloved country.”
Glenn Ickler of Hopedale is a retired newspaper editor.