Sam Burnham, Curator
Speaking of working class families, here is another proposal by a progressive politician pandering to them. Sweeping anti-corruption legislation that is going to eliminate the influence of money in Washington and make heavily centralized government work for working families "again."
There are so many problems in this tweet that it is worthy of an article.
Let's look at the unsaid portion first. This isn't about pending or proposed legislation. This is about a soon-to=be-announced presidential run. This is a buzzword laden work of propaganda designed to launch a campaign for the highest office in the land. It sounds good in the ears of struggling parents, looks good on paper, but it is essentially nothing. While having secured a role as a media darling, Senator Warren has the charisma of the dust I boldly swept from the front porch this morning. She's Hillary Clinton without the stage presence.
Here's a look at the buzz words:
"Bold new plan" - Did you suspect that she might describe her plan as recycled, weak, mediocre, or routine? No. She adds hyperbole and tries to get you excited about it. I'm not.
"Change the way Washington does business" - Washington does business by continually grabbing power through sweeping legislation. She's saying she's going to change the way Washington does business by enacting some business as usual. In essence, smoking is not only the cause of cancer, it is also the cure.
"Anti-corruption" - That town has been claiming to be working on anti-corruption legislation since the government relocated the anti-corruption efforts there from previous efforts in New York and Philadelphia. It never works, it is always corrupt, it is never going to be not corrupt.
"Eliminate the influence of money" - Elizabeth Warren, a college professor who CNN estimates to be worth between $3.7 million and $10 million and lives in a $1.9 million Victorian mansion is going to eliminate the influence of money in her $174, 000 job? I'm not convinced.
"Works for working families 'again'" - The way she says this suggests that Washington once sided with the working class, regular people, over the rich and powerful. This has never been true. It has never happened. There has never been a time that it was the prevailing philosophy. Ever.
The federal design, as used today, is not one that can be friendly to the working class. It is too far removed, too out of touch, too reliant on lobbyists and donors. Working class people are so busy trying to survive that they don't have the time, or really the energy, to lobby Washington themselves. The three seats that represent them in Congress are a drop in the bucket.
The only answer is to move the seats of power closer to the people, where they will have more access, more influence, more say. Allow state and local governments to make decisions for themselves - especially on specifically local, state, and regional issues. Want to really help the working class? Make it easier to start small business, maintain family farms, and level the playing field to help small banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. If you want to really help the average Joe, get the federal government out of his way so he can help himself.
Most of all, quit slinging the same 240 year old line of bull. It's tired.
Sam Burnham, Curator
Let's take a good look at the now deleted Most Offensive Tweet of the Day:
“I went to high school with GOP guv candidate @BrianKempGA. We played YMCA ball from childhood. Politics be damned. He is a nice guy, always was. Kind to a fault, He’s a friend, always has been, and will be when we’re old(er) and grey(er). That’s how all this should work, people.”
That nasty and hateful tweet, given by the Dean of UGA's Grady College of Journalism ignited a firestorm of protest. Can you imagine the gall and the complete lack of respect for human life that it must require to call someone a "nice guy" or "kind to a fault?"
So the dean issued the apology at right.
This situation makes me sick to my stomach. I just heard about it tonight. This kind of thing is getting far too common in our deteriorating society. In reality, Charles Davis was assaulted for congratulating a lifelong friend on a major life accomplishment.
His encouragement that "politics be damned" and "that's how all this should work, people" is a commentary on our current political tone. He is saying he may not agree with his friend's politics but he's still his friend and he's congratulating him.
But there is a growing segment of the Left in America that is bent on dehumanizing their opposition. They throw out labels like "racist," misogynist," "homophobic," or "xenophobic" to assault policies they disagree with, not because the labels fit but because the labels help to strip away the humanity of their opponents. If their opponents aren't human, but rather "fascist" or "Nazi", they are easier to combat. "You don't want to vote for a 'bigot' do you? Then vote for my candidate or just stay home."
The irony in their argument is that very definition of bigot is "a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions." The very people slinging the bigot label are themselves bigots. Because the only thing they are really slinging the label for is because Brian Kemp is their opponent. Oh, they'll point to some "dog whistle" or some policy that they will twist or contort to make it look racist whatever-ist. But the truth is, they are just bigoted against opposing ideas. The best way to censor those ideas is by stamping them with an "-ist."
And it isn't just elections. It's about culture. It goes back to statues, to flags, to holidays, to ceremonies, to historic sites. They have to control the narrative to sell their philosophy. They need to assault the art, the politics, and the structure of the society to control the narrative. That is what this is all about.
Charles Davis didn't owe anyone an apology. He didn't do anything wrong. In fact, he took a positive step, he led by example. He softened the tone of politics for a minute. He let politics get in the back seat and put humanity in the driver seat. But the vitriolic response he got is a clue to why the state of our rhetoric is so poisonous.
So now we need to add some skepticism to certain terminology. When you hear one of those "-ist" words pop up, be skeptical. Don't just assume it is true. Look for evidence. Investigate to see if it is just a nasty personal attack used when a proper rebuttal could not be made.
But also don't return their bigotry in kind. There are plenty of people on both sides of the aisle who want to have a healthy and serious conversation about ways to build a better society. There are also people on both sides who want to silence and cease dissent. Look across the aisle and see a person. Look over there and see someone who has humanity and dignity. Expect to see someone who is nice and kind, and let politics be damned. That doesn't mean agreeing with them, it means letting them be human in your eyes. Because if they aren't human in your eyes, then you can't possibly expect to be human in theirs.
Sam Burnham, Curator
Something is really bugging me. We're well into the gubernatorial election in Georgia and I've noticed a lot of outsiders trying to play a role.
Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams has raised over 60% of her campaign funding from non-Georgia sources. That's not a misprint, over half her campaign funding comes from outside the state. That's absurd. Abrams has also secured the endorsements of California Senator Kamala Harris, among other notable non-Georgians.New Jersey Senator Corey Booker tweeted "I proudly support Stacey Abrams, a governor for all of Georgia," despite his being from none of Georgia.
GOP candidate Brian Kemp has been given a full endorsement by non-Georgian, President Donald Trump.
Lt. Governor Casey Cagle recently attended a fundraising event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas is not in Georgia. There's no reason for one Georgian to go to Las Vegas to rally campaign donations from other Georgians...unless everyone involved is seriously inefficient.
Brian Kemp has raised 97% and Cagle 91% of their funding from inside Georgia, which suggests they've raised 3% and 9%, respectively, from outside the state.
George Soros, also not a Georgian, recently dumped a cool $1 million into the coffers of the Georgia Democratic Party.
If you remember the Jon Ossoff fiasco from last year where half of California showed up to campaign for and donate money to a candidate who did not even live in the district (and therefore could not even vote for himself), you realize this is not a new phenomenon. It's just getting more ridiculous.
We have too many not Georgia hands in our Georgia business.
When someone takes that seat behind the desk on the 2nd floor of the Capitol, they need to have their undivided loyalty focused squarely on the people of Georgia, not Las Vegas, not Washington, not New York City, not California, not New Jersey. Period. Our state legislators on the 3rd floor need the same priorities. Our congressional delegation in Washington needs to be focused on the needs of our state as well. Period. No exceptions.
We cannot expect anyone to maintain an undivided loyalty when they are 60% (or any %) funded from outside the state. Politicians bow to money and powerful endorsements and when that money or power is not from the constituency, then someone besides their constituents is going to get their ear. That not only opens the door for corruption, that is corruption. There is no way to excuse or justify it. None.
And because politicians depend on this corruption to fund and endorse their careers, they aren't going to outlaw it. And until it is outlawed, which it won't be, it is incumbent on the voters to demand that the candidates they support be willing to show that they support the voters by only taking funding and prestige from within the ranks of the people of Georgia. We should never accept anything else from them.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire