Watching the procession of Trump associates entering the Fulton County Jail this week in Georgia, I couldn’t help but think about how plausible it is that, absent one woman’s bravery, what we saw this week may have never taken place.?
The spectacle of privileged political figures — several of them wealthy white men — being subjected to criminal justice procedures that are disproportionately used against poor Black folks is a powerful one. And for this, we owe a debt of gratitude to a powerful person: Lady Ruby.?
Ruby Freeman, the former Fulton County election worker who faced pressure from Trump and his allies to admit falsely to election fraud after the 2020 presidential election, is a cornerstone of the democracy we experience in America today.?
The Intercept accurately described Freeman as the “undisputed hero” of the racketeering indictment, which painstakingly lists various alleged efforts by former President Donald Trump, lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others to falsely malign Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, a fellow election worker, as election cheaters.
The indictment, which portrays Freeman as having experienced the brunt of the pressure, also homes in on alleged efforts by Trump-supporting Georgia Republicans to coerce Freeman into a false confession, which could have been used as a pretext for state officials to delay certification of Georgia’s 2020 election results.
When I think about where the country might be today had Freeman given in to the pressure, it seems fair to say she may have been the difference between democracy and a much darker alternative.
In hindsight, it’s a wonder how she didn’t give in. When she was facing a storm of right-wing propaganda and threats, she couldn’t have known how things would play out. All she knew for certain was that the sitting president of the United States was bearing down on her, along with the weight of his rabid movement.
But she stood firm. She resisted pressure from an extremely powerful man who was seeking to use her in one of his weakest moments. And I’m not so sure American democracy would have survived if she had decided, at any moment, to do something else.
If she had woken up one day and said, “To quell the violent threats against me and my family, I will lie,” she may have saved herself some trauma. But then she would have given Trump and his horde cause to push even harder than they already were.?
Thankfully, Lady Ruby didn’t give an inch.
Her testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee, highlighting the threats she has received, suggests she has paid a price for her choice. And the procession of MAGA figures into the Fulton County Jail just might show that the rule of law is reaping the benefits.