“A lot of the old divisions- the old ways of looking at how to get things done politically- are obsolete, and I think more young people are going to be stepping up, running for office, making their voices heard and becoming great journalists to hold those who run for office accountable. Our generation can make a difference.” Jon Ossoff May 2017
A Republican attack ad shows Jon Ossoff as a college student dressed as Han Solo at a Star Wars party. What was designed to feature this congressional candidate for Georgia’s Sixth District as an immature, inexperienced lightweight, backfired into a cult-like following as kids flock to rallies with light sabers. And with the shape the country is in, don’t we all need a young hero fighting for us in Congress?
Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old investigative journalist/ documentary filmmaker and Democrat who won just under 50% in the jungle primary April 18th amongst a field of 18 contenders, will face off against 55 year old Republican Karen Handel in a runoff June 20th. Although this Republican (red) seat has been held for over 30 years by Georgians who have gone on to higher profile offices such as Newt Gingrich, Johnny Isakson and Dr. Tom Price, Ossoff and his spirited campaign are determined to “Flip the Sixth” district blue.
“Young people will be decisive in this election” says Ossoff who recognizes in order to win, his numbers must come from untapped voters. Of the 48% he achieved, less than 20% of registered 18-24 year olds voted. A major push to engage young voters is part of the Ossoff campaign, hoping to capture some of the enthusiasm evidenced by Bernie fans last year. With social media playing a major role, young volunteers are now rushing to field offices to hit the streets helping with the campaign or to meet and greet events in backyards, local bars and restaurants where they are encouraging others to GOTV (get out the vote).
An initiative was launched at area high schools to register recent 18 year olds, after a lawsuit was filed and won by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and four other voting rights organizations. They argued the 90-day cut off for registration before the run-off violated the National Voter Registration Act. That law states that all eligible citizens should be allowed to vote if they register at least 30 days before an election.
Karen Handel’s fundraising email told her supporters that the “partisan” decision will “boil your blood.” She called the ruling by U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten, a George W. Bush appointee, a “partisan attempt to change the rules…for a nakedly partisan outcome.” Whereas Ossoff took a patriotic stance stating, “Voting rights are constitutional rights, I encourage all eligible voters to ensure that they are registered and make their voices heard on June 20th and in all elections, regardless of their party or political persuasion.”
Handel, who previously ran Georgia’s elections as Secretary of State, has a history of voter suppression. Shortly before the 2008 election, she spearheaded an illegal purge of Georgia’s election rolls and flagged thousands of voter registrations as potential non-citizens. Many of the voters affected were actually eligible American citizens skewed heavily with minority voters.
For many Americans it has been a downhill slide since November. Frustrated with the direction things were headed with Trump’s election, and with the man himself, millions took to the streets the day after the inauguration for the Women’s March on Washington, in cities across the country and the world. Jon Ossoff was here in Atlanta marching alongside his old boss Congressman Hank Johnson and endorser Congressman John Lewis. Ossof had just announced his candidacy for the vacated congressional seat of Tom Price who was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The empowerment people felt in making a statement with the march and finding their voice began to give way to small resistance groups forming across the nation and in Georgia with names like Georgia 159, Sixth District Task Force, Galvanize Georgia, Awakened Accountability, Pave it Blue, Needles in a Haystack, and The Donald Trump Resistance to name a few. Suddenly disillusioned citizens had a place to vent and connect with others. Taking cues from The Tea Party movement, young staffers shared tactics in an online document named Indivisible. It was chocked full of tactical advice, such as how to contact an elected official, what questions to ask in a town hall and how to hold officials accountable.
With a mounting grassroots movement based primarily on discontent and concern for Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric, the Georgia Sixth District Congressional race provided the perfect vehicle to flex those new progressive muscles. Thousands of women who felt unheard and disenfranchised by this new administration poured their time and energy into the Ossoff campaign as a way to fight back. “Amid a barrage of Trump tweets and shocking legislation, it felt as though everything I believed in and stood for was in jeopardy of going away. Even science for Christ’s sake! The Jon Ossoff campaign was a way to channel that frustration and feel like I was making a difference, and for the first time living here, I realized I wasn’t alone” said Jane Learner a 37 year old woman who is a member of the Liberal Moms of Roswell and Cobb, another group formed last year during the election.
This faceoff also captured national attention through the media as millions of people recognized that the fight in Georgia’s Sixth District was actually their own. Postcards from across the nation have flooded into homes of local voters as well as phone calls, mailers, canvassers and money for the campaign, all in an attempt to send a strong message to Washington that people are not happy. President Trump has jumped into the fray tweeting anti-Ossoff missives and coming to town to raise money for Handel along with Paul Ryan, signs they are clearly worried. Both campaigns have raised significant funds nationwide, many from small donations, as America watches this showdown.
The national conservative pacs have spared no expense creating anti-Ossoff ads accusing him of ties to radical terrorist groups and other fear generating untruths. Painting Jon as an upstart, a dangerous liberal who threatens “our” traditional values, even going so far as to say, “he’s not one of us.” The people in those ads are primarily older, white conservates. In contrast Ossoff’s approved ads show a wide range of ages and ethnicities with solid ideas of how he will work to improve the lives of all Georgians, like bringing high tech jobs to the area so Georgia graduates will stay.
In an interview with his high school friend and Fusion journalist Shrenti Parekh for her film Who is Jon Ossoff? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO2DLrJdx5M&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop, she asked him why he chose politics as a path to change the world. He answered “Elections really have consequences. Here we have a situation where we have women across Georgia facing the potential imminent loss of access to reproductive healthcare at Planned Parenthood. You’ve got a federal government that wastes hundreds of billions of dollars a year while Georgia’s families are hungry for economic opportunities to realize their dreams. You can only push things in the direction of what people here need by changing the balance of power in Washington. Not from D to R or R to D but from nonsense to sense.”
It is with that direct approach that Jon Ossoff has garnered the attention and support across the United States and galvanized masses of volunteers and fans locally. But he likes to bring the attention back to the Sixth District and mainstream Americans. “We share most of the same values whether we’re black or white, Latino, Asian, first generation or eighth generation Georgians, the same basic American values are important to all of us.”
Aquarius readers should note this race is a living example of the new age playing out in real time. Trump is playing the role of the great disrupter threatening many of our core values and institutions through legislation and executive orders that reduce access to healthcare, give tax cuts to the wealthy, reduce EPA standards threatening the environment, increase deportation and the list goes on and on.
In this arena, Jon Ossoff’s campaign is the healer; this movement is energizing people across all ages, sexes and races around a positive message, inclusiveness, innovative ideas and shared values. He is willing to work with anyone in Congress to create effective leadership and policies to solve the issues facing the country. Bi-partisanship is a necessary step in healing the divide.
It is time to adopt a new paradigm and reject fear, separation and divisiveness. Let’s elect someone fresh with forward thinking ideas focused on how to bring legislation that works for Georgians. If elected, Ossoff plans to form an investigative arm within his Washington office to research improprieties and expose wrongdoing, holding all elected officials accountable. I think Washington needs him now!
During the primary, there were 18,000 people who said they were voting for Jon but failed to get to the polls. Vote early or by mail to guarantee your vote counts, before life gets in the way. Find your voice, whether it is through this election or for a cause you believe in. Your voice and your vote count, you can make a difference, use them!
Becky Arrington is a Success Strategist and Clinical Hypnotherapist. Her highly developed intuitive and visionary insight as a psychic channel enables her to help people look deeper to see the blockages at work within their business or personal lives. As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, the alchemical techniques she uses, allows clients to clear massive amounts of blocks either from childhood, prior experiences or past lives in a very short period of time and the results are sustainable. www.arringtonassoc.com