It may seem strange–difficult, even disrespectful–to put into words how important any one Black woman is to the rest of the nation right now.
We are, after all, in a period in which Black women, in general, are having a moment: income and wealth disparities persist, reproductive rights are under attack, and misogyny is pervasive, yet Black women are starting businesses at a faster rate than any other group, ascending in politics, and remaining the arbiters of not just the culture but of culture in general.
But there is no insult intended here. Not to Mellody Hobson, the banking giant who also owns the Denver Broncos with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Not to Rice, not to Serena, Beyonce, Oprah, Ketanji, or Kamala.
“It’s simply that right now, the most important Black woman in the nation, if not the most important person in history, is Fani Willis, the elected prosecutor in Fulton County, Ga., who indicted Donald Trump and 18 of his associates for attempting to steal democracy.”
Here’s why I’ll die on this hill. You could be inclined to see Willis’ indictment in the same way you do your cousin, who is always locked up on small possession counts.
Trump seems to be charged with something new every week, and it’s evident he’s not going to alter his ways. However, the Georgia accusations are likely the most serious case that Trump faces.
Willis is essentially suggesting that Trump converted his campaign into a mafia gang whose instructions from their master were to steal the election by any means necessary and whack everyone who got in the way.
That’s nearly unbelievable for two reasons. For starters, no American president–or any figure even near to his position–has ever been charged with operating an organized criminal organization. And this despite decades of myth, if not concrete proof, of how much effect the genuine Cosa Nostra has had on the country’s functioning.
From Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman to the Bumpy Johnson serial Godfather of Harlem, films and television programs speculate on everything from the mob’s participation in the Cuban missile crisis to John F. Kennedy’s killing.
“Nonetheless, it took until 2023 for a real president to face the risk of jail for engaging organized crime. That man is Trump, and Willis is seeking to bring him down.”
Which gets us to the second reason why Willis’ actions are not just brave, but also more important than everything else going on right now.
Willis and her office have been chastised in numerous critiques for using Georgia’s RICO statute–originally designed to go after mafiosi–to go after accused gang members, most notably rappers and hangers-on in Young Thug’s Atlanta-based YSL clique.
I won’t debate the merits of such crime-fighting approach here, but I will say that having previously filed racketeering charges would have given Willis and her team time to practice actually prosecuting such a case.
Whether intentional or not, the YSL would have amounted to a test run in which Willis’ office learns how this kind of case plays out in front of a judge and jurors in Georgia, which motions and strategies succeed, and which fall flat.
That will not be unimportant, since ultimately, the nation is at risk. That piece of exaggeration has been repeated several times in relation to Trump, but I’ll say it again: this instance is different.
A sample list of the accusations explains it: Solicitation of Oath Violation by Public Officer, Criminal Attempt to Influence Witnesses, Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud, and ultimately, Conspiracy to Defraud the State.
In layman’s terms, Donald Trump is accused of leading a criminal ring that attempted to steal the nation, notably by scamming the state of Georgia and intimidating public officials and election workers.
The allegations he faces here may be comparable to those he faces from federal prosecutors, but there’s a big difference: if Trump is elected president again, he may snap his fingers and shut down the federal case unless a judge–possibly one selected by him–intervenes. He may even be able to forgive himself.