Every voter in Georgia
Liked voting a lot …
But Secretary of State Brian Kemp,
Who was running for governor,
The Kemp hated voting! The whole voting season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be he couldn’t get voting machines to work right.
It could be, perhaps, that his race was too tight.
But I think the most likely reason of all
May have been his views of democracy
Were two sizes too small.
(And that he was a white nationalist overseeing his own election.)
But whatever the reason,
Malfunctioning machines or regressive views,
He stood there on Election Eve, fearing he’d lose,
Staring down from his office with his good ol’ boy frown
At minorities preparing to vote in their towns.
“And they’re checking their registrations!” he snarled with a sneer.
“Tomorrow’s Election Day! It’s practically here!”
Then he growled, his Kemp fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find a way to stop voters from coming!”
For tomorrow, he knew …
… all voters who were fed up with good ol’ boys
Would wake bright and early, their votes to deploy.
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!
The NOISE of underrepresented voices demanding to be heard,
Clack-clacking on outdated voting machines without saying a word!
(Except to point out when their machines were missing power cords.)
Afterward, though, they wouldn’t have time for a feast.
No, they wouldn’t have time to feast in the least!
Absurdly long waits would’ve cut their work days already,
So they’d have to rush back to keep paychecks steady!
(And the Kemp smiled at the notion
That the working poor mightn’t have time
To put their ballots in motion!)
They’d do something
He liked least of all!
Every voter in Georgia, though each vote felt small,
Would tune in together, with precincts reporting
All the votes poll workers had been nervously sorting!
They’d report! And report!
AND they’d REPORT! REPORT! REPORT!
And the more the Kemp thought of this Who-They-Voted-For-Report,
The more the Kemp thought, “I’ll have nothing of the sort!
“Why, for 53 years [since the Voting Rights Act of 1965]
The white patriarchy has put up with it now!
“I MUST stop minority voters from coming!
… But HOW?”
Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!
GOT A BIGOTED, AFWUL IDEA!
HE’D CARRY HIS EFFORTS AT VOTER SUPPRESSION
ON, ON, ON INTO THE DAY OF THE ELECTION!
“I know just what to do!” the Kemp laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Ku Klux Klan hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great good ol’ boy trick!
“With this white coat and hat, I’ll look like even more of a dick!”
“All I need’s a cross to burn …”
The Kemp looked around.
But, since crosses are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Kemp … ?
Well, actually …
You might say political correctness stopped him,
I guess …
For he realized it was 2018,
And he’d have to be subtle,
Not quite so extreme,
In letting white voters
Know just what he means.
So the Kemp simply said,
“If I can’t burn a cross, I’ll convey my racism
Through dog whistles instead!”
So he whistled and whizzed ‘til his whistler was sore.
Then he gathered supplies he bought at the store
And on a great big sign with red paint he wrote,
“This precinct is CLOSED,
So go somewhere remote
If you’d like to exercise
Your right to vote!”
(And he put that sign in an area with a predominantly African American population.)
He purged voter lists!
And wiped servers that had been hacked!
And rejected registrations from voters
If their names didn’t exactly match!
Then the Kemp got some sleep,
And the next morning went down
Toward a polling location
In a left-leaning town.
“This is stop number one,” the Good Ol’ Boy hissed,
And he climbed from his truck with his purged voter list.
He drove a big truck as not to look like a wimp,
‘Cause if white male voters did it, then so would the Kemp!
(And he drove it to round up illegal immigrants, as he,
The Kemp himself, stated in a campaign commercial.)
He waited in line, for a moment or two,
Then realized waiting was something he wanted poor voters to do,
So he cut ahead to a room with voting machines all in a row.
“These machines,” the Kemp grinned, “are the first things to go!”
Then he slunk to a ballot box, sneaky and fast,
And rigged it to log the opposite vote a voter had cast!
He unplugged another box, which went out with a flash.
Why, that Kemp even took the precinct’s power cord stash!
Then he beheld all his work with great good ol’ boy glee.
“NOW!” grinned the Kemp, “I’ll snuff out the registry!”
The Kemp grabbed the registry, and started to tear,
When he heard a sound from a nearby wheelchair.
He turned and saw a voter, named Cindy-Lou,
Who had been voting at that precinct since 1972!
The Kemp had been caught by this selfless grandmother
Who’d cast her ballot for herself and all others
Who’d ever been disenfranchised and had to fight
For their votes to be heard because they were not white.
She stared at the Kemp and said, “Secretary, why?
Why are you tearing up our registry? WHY?”
But, you know, that old Kemp was so conniving and slick
He thought up a way to suppress her vote quick!
“Why, my constituent,” the Good Ol’ Boy sneered,
“Your name on your ID is hyphenated and clear,
But no hyphen appears on my registry here.”
And as Cindy-Lou dialed the hotline for Voter Protection,
The Kemp knew for sure he’d win the election!
He did the same thing
To registries at other polling locations,
Disproportionately purging voters
Who were Black, Hispanic, and Haitian!
Then he took to the airwaves, and he did declare
Himself as the victor! The Kemp didn’t care!
No, he did not care thousands of votes were yet to be counted
Or that reports of rejected ballots had mounted and mounted.
“Pooh-Pooh to disenfranchised voters!” he was Kemp-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out no governor who cares for all Georgians is coming!
They’re just looking up results, and I know just what they’ll do!
They’ll realize that their state hasn’t gone blue
Then the voters in Georgia will all cry BOO-HOO!”
“That’s a noise,” grinned the Kemp,
“That I simply MUST hear!”
So he paused. And the Kemp put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising below,
A groundswell of voices beginning to grow …
But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, it wasn’t dejected or cowered!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS! The sound sounded …
For the voters who’d voted for a governor for all,
Though they had fought, and though they were tired,
Had seen that she cared …
And they were inspired!
The Kemp HADN’T kept the future from coming!
Though he held his fleeting power,
The future came just the same!
For all of the voices he thought he’d silenced for now
Would never be silenced again …
… No way, no how.