Stacey Abrams Is Funny And Awesome And Sweet And Great And Oh Oprah Was There Too
It's not commented on often enough on account of her being, you know, a woman and the media being so dude-ish, but next governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams is incredibly charming and personable. She reminds me of the Georgia that feels like my college home. Meanwhile, her Republican opponent Brian Kemp represents the Georgia that would forbid me from buying a home in his neighborhood.
Last week, Abrams had an "adorable off" with Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum. The two Democrats traded good-natured barbs on Twitter over the upcoming battle between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators. The Bulldogs trounced the Gators, and both candidates deserve credit for inspiring me to care even a little about the outcome.
But Tuesday is when Abrams really delivered the Southern charm with extra helpings of "bless your heart." She appeared via satellite on "The View," and after a productive dialogue about voter suppression with fellow sisters in awesome Whoopi Goldberg and Sunny Hostin, co-host Meghan McCain piped-in with her just-as-serious concerns that Abrams was going to take away all the guns her servants use to defend her from poor people or even worse, her personal stash of guns that protect her from the servants.
MCCAIN: "You have been endorsed by Everytown [for Gun Safety], which is an anti-gun organization, Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun group as well. You say you're proud to have an 'F' rating from the NRA. Michael Bloomberg and others like him, in the wake of what happened at Pittsburgh, support taking away the AR-15, which is the most popular rifle in America, from people.
Wait? The death machine is popular? Well, that changes everything. If something is popular, it can't be bad. "Mr. Lincoln supports taking away slaves, the most popular form of free labor in America, from people!" Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, pointed out that 3 percent of the population owns half of the guns in America. We don't know the exact number of guns in the nation, because we're just that wacky, but the AR-15 is probably like most comic books during the early 1990s -- owned primarily by the sexless who stockpile them.
Amazingly, Abrams didn't just ask, "Who is this mediocre white woman and why is she spitting stupid on me?" but instead responded with gracious humor.
"Let's be clear, I'm not anti-gun. My great-grandmother taught me how to shoot when I was growing up in Mississippi. I like trap shooting, I like target shooting. I don't hunt because I mostly eat chicken and that just seems mean."
Then Abrams started dropping sensible gun safety policy and the audience went wild. My favorite moment is when Abrams said "I have shot an AR-15, and I think you probably have too," which savvily cemented the image in our minds of a badass Abrams and a ridiculous McCain.
That's already the perfect week for me, but it only got better for Abrams when Oprah Goddamn Winfrey started canvassing for her. Seriously, Oprah was knocking on doors and giving my people heart attacks before performing some quick CPR so they could go out and vote.
This is epic. Oprah is the most famous person the world, certainly in Cobb County, and unlike Donald Trump, she's an actual billionaire. Mike Pence -- remember him? -- tried to drag Oprah, referring to her as one of "Stacey's Hollywood friends." That's Ms. Abrams to you, Pence. If you can't even be alone in a room with her, you can't presume the intimacy of using her first name. Pence then declared that "this ain't Hollywood, this is Georgia." Trump's toady got the peach state's name right but he apparently thinks cotton and Confederate Slave Holdings are still major industries there. In fact, film and TV production in Georgia generated $9.5 billion in economic impact in 2017 alone. Pissing off "Hollywood" actually could be bad for the state.
Enough of that asshole. Oprah delivered a roof-raising speech Thursday about the importance of black people exercising their historically hard-fought right to vote, and afterward, she sat down for a town hall discussion with Abrams, who didn't melt into a puddle of inadequacy but held her own as if she's been doing this all her life. She was on point but also humble, joking about originally only daring to ask Oprah for a supportive tweet.
Trump might not think Abrams is "qualified," because he's a racist, but Abrams and the people of Georgia might just have a surprise in store for him next Tuesday. If Abrams wins or even just takes it to a runoff, I will join John Lewis in dancing like a funky old black man.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.