Herschel Walker was an embarrassment to nearly all Black Americans and those who associate themselves as part of the African American diaspora.
An overwhelming majority of Black people were not pleased that Walker became a candidate for the United States Senate, nominated and endorsed by one of the major political parties.
In fact, exit polls showed that only white voters picked Walker.
It simply seemed shocking that Walker nearly won the Georgia senate seat Nov. 8 and once again on Dec. 6. It was a neck and neck race all the way to the finish line.
Article after article has been written about this race being close. These include opinions and perspectives about why Walker lost, how Walker lost, how Walker might have won and how Walker could have won.
Ad absurdum are the major media and social media outlets in covering the outcome of the special senator election in Atlanta. In light of so many stories that have been written, the question arises how was the race so close….twice?
The answer to the question may speak of the tragic reality about our divided nation.
Their early years
The biographies of each candidate are compelling and the facts are very telling.
Walker was born in 1962 in Augusta, Georgia. Warnock was born in 1969 in Savannah, Georgia.
Walker’s senate campaign website shared that Walker was “class valedictorian” of Johnson County High School. This information was later taken off the website when it was learned that he was not valedictorian.
Warnock attended Sol. C. Johnson High School and became part of an Upward Bound Program to prepare for college.
Walker attended the University of Georgia where he was an All-American running back for the Bulldogs, earning the Heisman Trophy his junior year.
Warnock attended Morehouse College and Union Theological Seminary where he earned a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a doctorate.
Walker began playing professional football for the New Jersey Generals, a team owned by former President Donald J. Trump. He then played for the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded back to the Cowboys.
Warnock became pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore where he served for nearly five years. He became pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in 2005.
Walker would go on to a brief stint as a mixed martial artist and appeared on Celebrity Apprentice.
Warnock would go on to deliverer the benediction at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration and host an interfaith service on climate change at Ebenezer where Al Gore and William Barber II were guests.
Walker began several businesses with a company Renaissance Man Food Services, which became the umbrella company for other projects. He once shared that the company had $70 million in annual sales. Later in a sworn deposition, he said the figure was closer to $1.5 million in annual sales.
Walker claimed that 15% of his companies’ profits were distributed to four charities. However none of the charities could confirm it received any money from Walker’s companies. Walker supported Trump in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
Walker was appointed by Trump to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Walker also claimed he was an FBI agent and trained at its Quantico training school. Walker tweeted after the 2020 election that he supported Trump’s effort to overturn the results.
Warnock was married in 2016 and divorced in 2020. He and his former wife have two children. He was accused by his former wife of driving over her foot during an argument. However, both police and medical professionals arrived and were “not able to locate any swelling, redness, or bruising or broken bones.”
Walker initially reported that he had one child. It was later learned that he had four children. According to his son Christian, “He has four kids, four different women. Wasn’t in the house raising one of them. He was out having sex with other women.” Walker threatened to kill his former wife and their son.
Their stands on the issues
And on the issues? It is a long list.
Regarding climate change, Walker said, “Since we don’t control the air our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air so when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then now we got to clean that back up.”
Warnock chaired the New Georgia Project a nonpartisan organization focused on increasing voter registration. He supported increasing funding for COVID relief. He is a proponent of abortion rights and gay marriage. He opposes the death penalty and the concealed carrying of firearms.
Warnock co-sponsored a bill with U.S. Senator Marc Rubio (R.-Texas) on maternal health, creating a $1.5 trillion federal spending package. And he worked with U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) to introduce legislation to designate Sept. 19- 25 as Gold Star Families Remembrance Week.
Warnock supports the Equality Act that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. He supports the Respect for Marriage Act that would codify same-sex and interracial marriages.
Warnock has written two books, The Divided Mind of the Black Church: Theology, Piety and Public Witness and A Way Out of No Way.
I think I’ve more than made my point. These are two men who are polar opposites.
So, this is the thing: How in the world was the vote for senator so close in the state of Georgia when the candidates are so radically and unalterably different on virtually every single issue?
And why are Black people across America (the vast majority) both grateful for Warnock’s victory but deeply concerned about nearly the same amount of votes going to Walker?
The answer is simple: race.
Two Black men, one representing nearly every Black voter in Georgia and one representing a predominately white political party.
Imagine how painful it is to see another race of people “march” out someone from your own race and say, “He is the best one for our nation.”
And imagine the one who is the answer to the ancestors’ dreams deemed as the “worst one for our nation.”
One can only hope that the victory party for Senator Warnock was very powerful – but, at the same time, very brief. There is so much work to do. Even here in Evanston.