- Please elect Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. We need leaders who will listen to medical and public health experts and help fund the public health measures needed to fight the pandemic.
I am not exaggerating when I say that the Georgia runoff elections are among the most important elections of our lifetimes. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris narrowly won the November 2020 general election in Georgia, and the presidential election had historic turnout even amidst a global pandemic, sending a clear message that the country wants change and a new direction from the last four years.
The Biden/Harris victory in November is a step in the right direction, but it is only part of the solution. Without a Democratic Senate to support them, their ability to make meaningful change is significantly limited.
We saw this during the Obama’s administration, when Senate Republicans led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did everything in their power to block President Obama from making meaningful achievements. McConnell has the power to decide which bills to bring to the floor. Because of this, even bills that could be passed with bipartisan support can be blocked by not bringing them to the floor for a vote. He has blocked hundreds of bills in this manner.
During Obama’s second term, 293 days before the general election, he refused to even hold a hearing or a vote on the nomination of justice Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, even though he could have likely been confirmed with bipartisan support. This would be the fate of the Biden administration if Mitch McConnell remains Senate Majority Leader. The Biden administration will have a very difficult time passing meaningful, necessary legislation solely because Mitch McConnell will not allow it to come to the floor.
The balance of power in the Senate rests on two Senate run-off elections in Georgia that will take place on Tuesday, January 5th. Many experts say that the desi community can play a crucial role in deciding who wins these run-offs. There are approximately 150,000 South Asian voters in Georgia; Joe Biden won the state by only about 12,000 votes.
It is so important that all eligible Indian voters make a plan and come out to vote for Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.
The country faces numerous challenges, the most urgent being the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession. Based on my medical and public health background, I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic was not managed optimally, leading to excessive deaths and suffering, along with economic turmoil. Going forward, we need leaders who will listen to medical and public health experts and help fund the public health measures needed to fight the pandemic.
And we need leaders who will create a meaningful economic stimulus package to help Americans financially during this crisis. We see that the Republicans under Mitch McConnell do not care about the average working person — they are actively trying to limit the amount of money that goes to struggling families. We need Jon Ossoff and Warnock in the Senate if we want progress on the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are numerous other long-term issues that need to be addressed, including access to healthcare, social justice, and climate change and the environment. The Biden-Harris administration will only be able to meaningfully address these important issues with a Democratic majority in the Senate. Electing Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock is the only way to do that.
Whether you are a loyal Democrat, traditionally vote Republican, or an undecided who “wants to stay out of politics,” I don’t believe any of that matters in this election — there is only one good choice for the country at this moment in time, and that is electing Ossoff and Warnock. COVID-19 continues to take lives, people struggle financially, racism thrives under the culture of the last administration and climate change looms on the horizon. The need for strong, effective leadership could not be more urgent.
I am asking all Georgia Desis to make a plan and vote.
If you already have a mail-in ballot, drop it off at an official drop box as soon as possible — they must be dropped off by 7 pm on January 5, election day.
Otherwise, make a plan to vote on Election Day: Tuesday, January 5th, 2021.
Go to iwillvote.com/GA to get all the information you need.
Desis not in Georgia: this weekend, please contact family members, friends and acquaintances who canvote in Georgia to remind them about this election and help them make a plan to vote; explain why voting for Ossoff and Warnock is so important.
Volunteer by phone banking or text banking.
You can also donate to the campaigns and grassroots organizations in Georgia doing the important work of making sure every voice is heard.
Manoj Easaw, MD MPH, is a physician with special interests in public health and environmental issues. He grew up in New York but currently lives in Seattle. During his free time, he enjoys hiking in the Pacific Northwest and trying new desserts.