Donald Trump orchestrated a widespread, illegal attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, authorities say, and now he and 18 alleged associates are facing criminal charges in the state.
It was a busy few days in Atlanta, punctuated by Beyoncé’s three-day mini residency in the city while a grand jury was preparing the expansive criminal indictment against the former president.
On Monday, the jury approved the findings. A judge signed the paperwork at about 9 pm, around the time Beyoncé would be belting out her opening song on her Renaissance tour (“Dangerously in Love,” if you’re curious). Close to midnight, when the global superstar was closing out her blockbuster show midair on a chrome horse and announcing “Justice for Thique,” Fulton County DA Fani Willis was blocks away serving a different kind of justice announcing the criminal indictment against Trump and his allies.
These two events would typically be unremarkable. A music icon happens to be performing when a prosecutor is carrying out a criminal procedure.
But there is something to be said about a man who inspired mass hatred against Black and queer people face some semblance of justice in the vicinity of a mass event intended for love and self-expression for Black and queer people. You could call that justice poetic.
Beyond vile rhetoric aimed at marginalized people and energizing others to do the same, Trump (allegedly) organized a conspiracy that would undermine their political rights.
There are 41 counts in the indictment. Trump is named in 13 of them, including “violation of the Georgia RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act” that involved Trump engaging in a “criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election result,” Willis stated.
No one has to love us. But, it turns out, organized corruption is illegal.
Before delving into potentially illegal, conspiratorial activity, Trump spent the years leading up to his White House stint– and his years after– spewing invective that made minorities targets of white supremacist and anti-queer behavior and policy.
There were the full page ads against the exonerated five that leaned into stereotypes of Black criminality and the subsequent anti-black violence that comes with it.
There were the lies about Black academic thought poisoning school children.
There were the insults against entire Black and brown countries and communities, calling them “shitholes” and the othering of Black and brown policymakers that pulls from typical racist talking points that nonwhite people “go back to where they came from.”
There was his amplification of QAnon conspiracies, which draws on homophobic tropes conflating crimes against children with queer communities.
There was his executive order giving his Justice Department tools to discriminate in federal agencies, which would impact LGBT people and women.
Unsurprisingly, hate crimes increased under Trump’s watch.
The hatefulness culminated with an uprising at the Capitol, with largely well to-do white people hopped up with rage and delusions to start a civil war against the non-Republican world on behalf of (and with the encouragement of) the former occupant of the White House.
Many of those Karens (and Kens) indeed “turned into terrorists.”
Being implicated by the criminal legal system isn’t justice in itself– as many Black and brown people are aware, with the system often working against them.
But Trump’s beliefs that he was above the law were often at the expense of Black people who are consistently under attack politically and have limited outlets to be empowered in America’s so-called democracy.
Growing up in the metro Atlanta city of Stone Mountain, we had a confederate flag and bussing programs well into my childhood, as schools failed to be integrated in the 90s (and still, today). Stone Mountain currently touts the world’s largest confederate memorial. The so-called Black mecca of Atlanta has the country’s worst economic inequality. But Black people organized themselves tirelessly in Georgia to have a voice in the 2020 election, turning the state blue for the first time in nearly two decades.
The capacity for us to effect change in the state is limited. So to conspire to withdraw one of the few tools for us to be civically empowered (even if the choices felt like yet another in a long line of voting for the “lesser of two evils”) is a special kind of injustice. And with Trump having to turn himself in where this has played out is another kind of justice indeed. You could call it poetic.