Today January 6 hearings featured the testimony of Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, a mother and daughter, who both worked faithfully as election workers, serving the public by helping people vote. Shaye Moss and her mother, who is known as Lady Ruby, were targeted and terrorized by former President Donald Trump and his allies for simply doing their jobs during the 2020 election.
Bearing witness to the experiences of Lady Ruby and Shaye Moss today brought me to tears. I felt that I knew them – the dedicated Black women always present throughout my life. There when you vote, directing folks to booths and responsibly handling ballots. They are the people we count on to keep democracy smoothly moving forward without applause or accolade. They are the election workers who show up for the nation without hesitation.
These are the people Donald Trump and his allies, decided to terrorize. Shaye Moss bravely shared with the world that her grandmother was accosted in her home by hateful Trump supporters, pushing their way into her home, claiming to make a citizens arrest. She shared her fear of going places, seeing people, or having someone hear her name, all due to Donald Trump’s lies.
As the tears dried on my face, my anguish turned to anger…then I thought about what Harry Belafonte said in his memoir, My Song, that it’s not what you’re angry about, but what you do with your anger, so I took that anger drenched in pain and wrote (and cried some more). I saw Shaye Moss and felt her anxiety, fear and exasperation. What happened to Lady Ruby and Shaye Moss is wrong. No person should be threatened, lied about, or scapegoated by anyone, much less a President of the United States of America. No one should be subject to the violence of Trump and his supporters. No one.
To be lied about is painful, it hurts deeply – it pierces a person’s life in ways that are not quickly or easily overcome. For those of us who’ve experienced the pain of being lied about in our community or workplace it’s devastating – destroying reputation and career. But, to have a President target you is a whole other level. What President Donald Trump did to Lady Ruby, to Shaye Moss, and to democracy cannot go. President Trump’s actions cannot be dismissed or diminished. If anyone in America wants to ever say, “No one is above the law,” then walk the talk, do what is preached, platitudes won’t protect us. Don’t allow anyone to be above the law, not even a former President and his allies.