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For me, there are no political epiphanies. An epiphany is an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. I think my guardian angels are so tired of in the angel locker room but they whisper the epiphanies in my ears.

They might say, “Without action, America could end.”  I see it as plain as day.  The American experiment in Democracy is at a crossroad. The experiment that began with founding fathers planning a new nation on land stolen from the Native Americans and with labor stolen from Africa.  My Republican sister Dr. Condoleezza Rice says that slavery was America’s birth defect. 

During Watergate, John Dean famously said there is a cancer growing on the presidency.  Today, the cancer is Donald Trump and I don’t trust Democrats voting to address it. The same voters who sat on aluminum, wood or concrete bleachers for hours Friday night watching high school football and the same people (like me) who will watch over nine hours of college football on Saturday and more hours of pro football on Sunday, need to take 10 minutes to early vote for local, state and federal candidates in the Republican and Democrat parties who say no to Trump’s tone and action.  That’s one long sentence but I’m no Hemingway—Ernest or Nakita.

Denounce

Remember, presidential candidate Donald Trump said the election was stolen when Republican Senator Ted Cruz beat him in the Iowa Caucus. To win elections on all levels and to stack the Supreme Court with conservatives, normally reasonable Republicans ignored Trump’s childish behavior as a necessary evil in the same way Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers accepted slavery.  Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger caught hell from Trump for not creating 11,708 votes so the president could steal Georgia.  However, Duncan is the only one of the three to say Trump is bad for America.  Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney says candidates who support Trump’s Big Lie of a stolen election are “unfit” for office.

Action: Ask every candidate for every office on every level if they believe Trump’s stolen election claims.

Ounce

The War on Drugs can be wrong at times.  People can’t function in a constant haze but let the people decide what they want between marijuana and alcohol.  Classifying an ounce of weed with hardcore drugs seems to benefit the big pharmaceutical companies who can’t profit from opioid pain drugs if Americans could grow their own organic weed pain relief.  Opioid drugs like morphine, codeine and oxycodone being abused has some folks walking around like zombies.  Oh, they need treatment said then President Trump but when crack was an epidemic it was lock them up and toss the key.  In my opinion, weed should be treated like liquor but the Democrats aren’t discussing their support for reform of marijuana laws. Earlier, I mentioned Nakita Hemingway and most Georgians would ask who is that? 

Nakita Hemingway is an urban farmer who is running for Georgia Agriculture Commissioner.  She won the Democrat primary over seasoned lawmaker state Representative Winifred Dukes.  Dukes wants to use legal weed revenue to fund Pre-K and Hemingway is a strong supporter of legal weed (most statewide Democrat candidates are and the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a legal weed bill.)  Most of agriculture policy in Georgia is bipartisan but the Republicans treat grown folks like children: no legal recreational or medical weed while they have a well-stocked liquor cabinet.  

If Hemingway had a half million dollars in her campaign account, she could inform the under 30 voters about legal weed and the over 30 voters about possible expansion of medical marijuana.  She could pull out enough infrequent voters to tip the scales for Abrams, Warnock and every Democrat candidate but she doesn’t have the funding.

Action: Ask candidates where they stand on legal marijuana.

Pounce

The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, facilitated by Donald Trump almost ended America.  Hold up again, a hostile, armed mob with Trump flags and Confederate flags beat police officers on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, entered that bastion of democracy and sought to hang the Republican Vice President for certifying a fair election.  I can’t make this up.  In the movie A Time To Kill, Matthew McConaughey’s lawyer character told the court of the unthinkable crimes committed against a brown child then he said “Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she’s White.”

Imagine a Black or Brown mob attacking the U.S. Capitol.  The authorities would have pounced so fast.  They would have been dead before they hit the ground.  I worked as a congressional staffer during the Million Man March so I know the grounds.  Blood would have flown down to the Botanical Gardens west and to Union Station north.

Action: Ask local candidates if Trump was complicit in the January 6 attack and how can they support him as leader of the Republican Party after that?

Trounce

Trounce means to defeat heavily in a contest.  Of course, you should vote for whomever you like.  As a Moderate, my position on the political spectrum is an equal distance from craziness on the Far Right and Far Left.  However, the angry tone of Donald Trump’s Republican Party could lead to a Civil War if we aren’t careful and if we don’t vote.  The November elections are pivotal because we are electing state house and state senate officials who might continue to make it harder for people to vote.  Georgia needs a Secretary of State who will stand up to Trump during the next election.  If every adult in our community doesn’t vote, we could be on a path to Georgia 1952. 

Action: Make sure everyone over 18 years old in your family registers now and early votes so Democrats wouldn’t be trounced by Trump’s team in the November election.

The Georgia State House 154 contest between Republican Gerald Greene and Democrat John Hayes begins and ends for me with a few simple questions.  As you may know, Rep. Greene was elected as a Democrat in 1982.  That’s the year I graduated high school but Rep. Sanford Bishop has been in Congress too long to the Republicans.  Really?

For the record, I’m a Moderate Democrat who voted for GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss and GOP Senator Johnny Isakson in the past but gone are the Nathan Deal type conservatives who explained their governmental actions to people who voted for them as well as people who voted against them. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are right about differentiating traditional Republicans from Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) far right Republicans.  Personally, I think the MAGA people are the new majority in that party.

My state senator and state representative are Republicans and generally likeable fellows like Hayes and Greene.  But, I would have voted against them this year if they had opponents because I need Republicans to publicly state if they believe in Trump and Kemp and I need Democrats to say if they are for Biden/Harris and Stacey Abrams/Charlie Bailey.

In the newspaper today, Ms. Stacey Abrams drives home the importance of healthcare coverage for more Georgians while Governor Kemp mentioned job creation and blamed economic issues on President Biden.

John Hayes, Gerald Greene and every candidate on the ballot on every level this November should answer these questions:

  1. Do you believe Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the White House or do you believe Donald Trump’s allegations of a stolen election?
  2. Do you believe Trump was wrong to ask Georgia’s governor Kemp and Secretary of State Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes so he could win?

Also, there is a division among Georgia voters on the legal status of marijuana.  Generally, Republicans want the current prohibition while many Democrats support medical weed, decriminalization of marijuana or recreational usage.  How about these questions:

  1. Do you support a statewide vote on legal marijuana?
  2. Do you support a statewide vote on medical marijuana?

Birds of a feather flock together.  “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else, he will hold to the one and despise the other.” “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”  Obama, Biden, Trump, Kemp and Abrams aren’t masters, birds or trees literally.  But, like it or not, they are leaders of teams and good people don’t condone the actions of Trump.  President Trump actually wanted our governor to commit a felony by pulling votes out of thin air. 

For me, the most courageous leader in Georgia is the Republican Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan who told Trump no to stealing the election and then could not in good faith run for reelection in Trump’s MAGA Republican Party.  Another question:

  1. Do you favor Geoff Duncan and Barrack Obama’s cool tone for political/policy discussions or Donald Trump’s bullying bitter vitriol?

Jeb Bush said that if he had to be ugly to win the presidency, he rather not win.  He didn’t.  As quiet as it is kept, Senator Saxby Chambliss wanted out of Congress when the Far-Right wing of the Republican Party criticized his bipartisan negotiations in the Gang of 8.  Do what you want but I can’t support Gerald Greene or any Republican who stands idly by as bullies demonize Barrack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and even Geoff Duncan. In her book Becoming, Michelle Obama wrote that she can’t get over Trump creating an environment that threaten the lives of her whole family.  You don’t play like that.  You don’t chill while the U.S. Capitol is under attack and an armed mob seeks to lynch the Vice President.

  1. Did President Trump instigate the January 6 attack?
  2. Would you vote for Trump again?

Campaigning is more than smiles and waves.  We need to get down to real issues and you can’t be good fruit growing on a rotten tree. I say one thing about Republicans: when the battle lines are drawn, they get in where they fit in.  They got over Trump’s drama filled past to win.  So, Democrats need to do the same.

GOP 2.0 is an amazing political policy book by Georgia’s Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan.  I’m a Moderate Democrat who admires Republican Duncan’s courage as he acknowledges the ugliness of Trump’s Republican Party and outlines a path back to civility—a path their party might not take.  In the political arena, we have the Left, the Right, and the majority in the sensible center.  However, the question is how do you function in vibe and tone.  Senator Sam Nunn, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Saxby Chambliss, Representative John Lewis and Representative Sanford Bishop were all good guys who sought dialog with the other side.  Duncan points out that the Georgia politics of his youth (when I was a congressional staffer) was led by conservatives —-who were Democrats.  I hope it’s not illegal for me to list my notes from this important book below. 

If Duncan was running for reelection, I would vote for him the same way I voted for Nunn, Chambliss, and Bishop.  The GOP had a blueprint for a more inclusive big tent party from African American GOP National chairman Michael Steele and they decided to be dark instead.  They could have had genius Governor John Kasich for president but they took Trump.  To me, Geoff Duncan is the second most important grassroots leader in America behind Stacey Abrams.  After reading these notes, you will see why.

GOP 2.0,  book notes by

Geoff Duncan, Georgia Lt. Governor

p. 9        The Duncans know that at the State Capitol, Dad always operates by a guiding principle: “Policy over politics.”  They’ve learned I believe that whatever your party, good public policy should lift all boats.

p. 11      You can’t make policy without the middle. Nor can you lead a state or country- or win big elections- without an inclusive coalition.  Bipartisan support is not a sign of weakness.

p. 25      Let’s focus on refreshing and recharging the GOP and engaging more voters through conservative Policy, genuine Empathy and a respectful Tone. Let’s call this our PET Project: Policy: Support smart conservative legislation that can create consensus and help real people solve real problems. Empathy: Genuinely seek to understand others inside and outside the GOP, and in the process, build a winning coalition. Tone: Lead by example as we share our ideas and perspectives with honesty, respect, and civility.

p. 31      When my father’s job brought my family to Georgia, it was a conservative country, led by conservative Southern Democrats.

p. 57      I liked raising my boys in peace.  But how could I let them see me spreading rumors or lying to my constituents? What would they think if I compromised the democratic principles and institutions that they’d learned to revere in civics classes?  What would it teach them if I stood by idly in this storm of misinformation?

p. 89      Nobody talks about the logical conclusion of the Fraud Hoax.  It understandably makes us uncomfortable.  We saw a glimpse of that conclusion on January 6, 2020, at the U.S. Capitol.  Make no mistake: If Republicans had overturned valid election results, the country could have collapsed.  And everyone making false allegations and trampling the Constitution would have been complicit.

p. 97      As early as 2016, I heard concerns from many friends about the president’s indiscretions, language, bullying and tendency to blur the truth.

p. 97      Pray at church and consider Jesus’s point of view on Sunday morning, but resume the unrestrained warfare against the other side right after the benediction: “All’s fair in war and politics; God will look the other way because he’s really on our side.”

p. 107   Here’s what’s really true: If our party want a future where in can win majorities and pass conservative legislation, it needs ideas and policies that can capture the hearts and minds of a majority, no matter how many people vote. Tht

p. 139   Here’s the alarm bell: The Republican Party has won the popular vote one time – once – since 1988.

p. 140   The 2020 elections offer three particularly important lessons to Republicans. 1. Our tent must expand. 2. Our tent can expand. 3. The sideshows have to stop.

p.  154   He (Trump) gain 4 percent from 2020, reaching 12 percent (of the Black vote.)  He did this despite four years of divisive language, flirtations with white supremacy, and poor handling of racial justice protests.  What if he had showed understanding and empathy?  What if he’d responded to the needs and conditions that fueled the protests?

p. 157    We conservatives are allowing ourselves to be poisoned by misinformation.  Our grip on reality – and our credibility with key voters such as independents, moderates, and even many conservatives – will continue to slip if we don’t take a stand and stop this nonsense.

p. 158    We learned in Bob Woodward’s infamous interview that the president clearly knew the facts about the coronavirus but chose to politicize this global threat to boost his image and agenda- and divided Americans with the one issue that should have united us.  And many party members went right along with him.

p. 183   And in this political era so full of anger and rancor, Republicans and Democrats need to forgive one another and move to understand each other.  Let’s also show America we can love those who don’t usually vote for us too.  Our leaders need to provide the example.

p. 214    And when people do find themselves inside the (criminal justice) system, we should find ways to equip lesser offenders with the tools and skills they need to make a better path for themselves outside the system.  As long as safety permits, American potential doesn’t need to be locked up or dragged down by inescapable cycles of fines and penalties.

p. 240    Seriously, how can we expect somebody to vote for us if we’re not willing to sit down with them at a kitchen table and ask them their challenges?  How many Republican legislators know what it’s like to be a single mom with two jobs and three kids?  Even after talking with Ahmaud Arbery’s  mother, I still don’t truly comprehend what it must be like to be a young Black man in America.  I never will, but I’ll commit to trying.

p. 240    Broadly, we need to spend time with the poor, people of color, those in the middle class- many of whom don’t statistically vote for us but who many of our policies could help. 

p. 249    Truth is, governing requires much more: It requires listening, studying, collaborating, compromising, explaining, and teaching.

p. 252    Rotarians evaluate their statements by asking:

               1. Is it the truth?

               2. Is it fair to all concerned?

               3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

               4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

p. 257    Republican leaders have excused, accepted, encouraged               , and rewarded making false statements on an astonishing scale recently, especially for a party that claims moral high ground.

p. 263    Let’s stop undermining every information channel that doesn’t always see it our way.  Let’s call out falsehood.  Let’s promote policies that don’t need misinformation to win support.

p. 269   We imagine a government of representatives who vigorously and honestly debate big ideas and then come together to take responsibility for helping our nation solve its challenges.  We envision leaders who can show us how to love one another, even when we disagree. 

p. 272    I’m convinced this generation of Republicans and this refreshed and bigger version of the party I imagine – GOP 2.0 – can bring together an extraordinary coalition behind conservative policies that work, genuine understanding that informs and respectful honest tones that unite and inspire.

If you have 20 seconds, I have listed 20 issues that “might” be important enough to get unlikely voters to the polls in November or “might” get everyone over 18 years old to register. Would you be so kind as to peruse the list and help political eggheads/nerds know what you think is vital to your family—past, present, and future.  People who use words like “peruse” shouldn’t create the issues list—real citizens should. 

To the abovementioned eggheads, the sky is falling on this nation and our region like Chicken Little said. When you produce too much political commentary, people don’t know when it’s really, really dire.  Best believe, we are at a pivotal point in American history.  This list is a policy skeleton or framework. Hopefully, we will consider these issues and items over the Summer and Fall so we can be well-informed voters with developed opinions by Election Day in November or early voting. 

The cross generational aspect for me involves two or three generations of a family discussing voting because grandmother remembers the bad old days when our community was systematically oppressed. They fought hard for the right to vote and participate in representative government on the local, state and federal levels.  If the under 30 demographic continues to blow off voting, the South will be run by folks who are as nasty as they want to be and who romanticize the Jim Crow era.  That’s scary. Kids who can’t vote (the future) deserve better opportunities and a fair chance at the good life.

To put meat on the skeleton’s bones slowly, a series of short (five minutes) video discussions are coming. From the 20 issues below, how many are really important in your opinion?

Healthcare for All/Prescription Drugs Cost

Legal Marijuana

Increase Minimum Wage

Tax Ultra Rich Fairly

Free Technical College/Trades

Student Loan Forgiveness

Teacher’s Salaries/No School Choice

Police Improvement/Community Partnership

Assault Weapons Ban

Homeownership

Money Bail/Prison Reform

Top Superpower/Good Global Leader

Ukraine W.W. III/Male and Female Military Draft

Regional Money Issues: MATEE-Military, Agriculture, Transportation, Education, Economy

Climate Change/Smart Energy

Fair Elections/Voters’ Rights

Right Wing Lies/Propaganda Machine: Watch “other” news shows

Women’s Right to Choose/Assistance for Struggling Families

Heritage Reconciliation and Equality: Confederacy/Reparations; Define “We Americans”

Ugly Public Discord: Mean-Spirited vs. American Harmony

After a campaign misstep this week, I want to think out loud in a rambling blog post that will be read by few but hopefully the process will be beneficial to those of us in the political arena committed to actual forming a more perfect union.  To make this medicine goes down easier, we should add a little sugar in the form of related musical lyrics.

Background: Georgia’s primary elections were interesting on both sides.  The Republicans selected football great Herschel Walker for U.S Senate over the much more qualified current agriculture commissioner Gary Black evidently with the logic that his name and maybe blackness will attract enough Black voters to win in November.  They would have gotten more Black votes in November from folks who would think that Gary “Black” is a bro like his opponent Senator Raphael Warnock.

In that famous Romeo and Juliet soliloquy, Shakespeare had heart-broken Juliet say “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  No sweetheart, you just can’t marry this guy from the Montague clan and no Black folks won’t vote for politically baffled Herschel Walker because could tote the pigskin back in the day. 

My misstep was thinking that the legislative ag experience of State Rep. Winfred Dukes would get him into a runoff for Georgia Agriculture Commissioner. Correction, other people made that misstep while I wanted to increase name id so we could have one non-Atlanta candidate on the Democrat statewide ballot. 

What’s in a name: With secondary consideration to experience, biographies, and everything else, evidently some voters just select candidates whose name sounds like someone from their community.  I do the same thing when cheering for Rickie Fowler in golf tournaments because he must be a bro, right?

To be fair, voters can pick candidates anyway they want and I once thought there is no way Barack Hussein Obama could become a U.S. senator.  In the primary, the lt. governor and agriculture commissioner races might have involved the name game. Since Shakespeare wrote about roses, we must rock with cut flower grower/urban farmer Nakita Hemingway for ag commissioner.  She could help the Dem ticket by bringing voters’ attention to the fact that Democrats would let them grow legal marijuana. 

The lt. governor runoff pits Charlie Bailey against Kwanza Hall.  We think some voters selected Kwanza because of his name.  However, the runoff will give Georgians the opportunity to look deeper into both candidates and use this position and other runoff contests to balance the Democrat ticket. 

Holds No Currency: When Paul Simon went solo, he put together a band of South African musicians and some Black folks were in their feelings. The brilliant Graceland album and the single “You Can Call Me Al” comes to mind because of the lyric “He holds no currency.” Let’s be honest, in politics and everything else, money talks and bull— walks.  Money is the mother’s milk of politics and heaven knows the ag commissioner results would have been different if my friends and I held some currency in south Georgia.  The current mother of grassroots politics in America and a money raising machine is Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams. She is smarter than us; She has a plan; we should trust her process and maybe we can so win so Senator Warnock can remain in the Senate majority and Vice President sista Harris can get President Joe Biden to cancel student loans.  I told you I was rambling. No one can win elections without holding currency.

Clearly, the Democrat plan is to have a statewide ticket that looks and feels like our diverse state while Republicans have a bunch of angry White guys and one angry Black guy (Ricki Fowler can come to the cookout in his orange Puma gear before Trump supporting Herschel Walker can but the GOP doesn’t know that.)  Black voters can pick a bunch of Black candidates who don’t bring range into the big tent or big umbrella.  When Jason Carter (Jimmy Carter’s kin) ran for governor and Michelle Nunn (Sam Nunn’s kin) ran for U.S. Senate, I think most if not all of the other statewide candidates were Black women.  We didn’t win anything that year.

Dream of the Blue Turtles: We love the police—law enforcement and the band.  When Sting went solo like Paul Simon, he put together an amazing group of Black musicians (Branford Marsalis on soprano sax) and Black folks again lost their minds.  Dadgum it, Black folks, calm down and trust the process.  That CD was fire and I dusted it off recently to hear the haunting nuclear war song “Russians.” Sting sang “what might save us—me and you- is if the Russians love their children too.”

If we love our American children as much as Sting loves British kids, we will let Abrams get us some Blue Turtle victories in November with her dream ballot and issues like minimum wage, healthcare coverage, choice, improving schools, gun control etc.  The ticket must include more than urban voters in Atlanta.  Some of the down-ballot candidates add range for the Dems into suburban and rural areas.  Since we can’t have a rural farmer for Ag Commissioner, I’m taking a hard look at lieutenant governor candidate Charlie Bailey because he is from rural Georgia and can connect with country voters.

The Plot Thickens: Kwanza Hall is a former congressman and member of the Atlanta City Council but Charlie Bailey has support from some trusted names in the Black political community.  The plot thickens in the secretary of state race because Dee Dawkins-Haigler is friends with countless people across the state but Stacey Abrams recently endorsed state legislator Bee Nguyen who has friends as well. 

On that Sting album, the hot single was “If You Love Someone Set Them Free.”  I’m a Moderate Democrat who appreciates what Ms. Abrams has done to energize Progressive voters.  She helped give us two U.S. senators from Georgia and a presidential win for the state.  Shall we set Ms. Abrams free to work her brilliant magic one more again. I think we should study the runoff candidates in detail and select folks who can win in November.

State Representative Winfred Dukes is the best choice for Georgia Agriculture Commissioner.  Because the Republicans are nominating a well-funded state senator, Democrats must select wisely if they have any hope of winning and if they want someone who can increase rural voter turnout for Stacey Abrams, Senator Rafael Warnock, Congressman Sanford Bishop and every Democrat candidate around the state.

Experience: Dukes is a long-serving member of the Georgia House Agriculture Committee and been part of House Leadership so he has connections with legislators all over the state and detailed knowledge of the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the food and fiber industry it promotes.

Rural-Based/Old School: Rep. Dukes is small business owner from a rural county and lives in an agricultural region of the state.  While the Progressive Movement is growing and well-represented in new leadership in the Democrat Party of Georgia, Old School Moderates are still the core of the party outside Metro Atlanta.  Dukes and Bishop are the connective tissue to many of the leaders, networks and issues that gave The Blue Team success during the Bill Clinton, Sam Nunn and Roy Barnes years.

“Down Ballot is good like salad”: President Obama constantly spoke of the importance of wise voters voting on every item or contest on the ballot. He said he would have had a better congress and got more done if people who voted for him would have taken an additional few minutues to also voter for everyone who supported Democrat beliefs.

First Lady Michelle Obama promoted healthy food choice while in the White House Garden because she knew that better nutrition is key to energy and less illness. Dukes as Agriculture Commissioner will continue this mission.  Mrs. Obama moved America from the old food pyramid to an easier to understand myplate.gov with equal portions of fruits, vegetables, grains and protein.

If you will, the Democrat plate of candidates needs balance with Agriculture Commissioner Winfield Dukes being the down ballot salad.  You can’t have a plate of just meat (Atlanta); we need the vegetables (rural voters) as well.

Stacey Abrams can win alone. The effort to win for the whole Democrat team involves many Blue team members campaigning across the state in their regions from their experiences. Winifred Duke is from south Georgia and is vital to the overall Democrat effort in November because he brings a “down home” vibe that others don’t have and rural voters want that.

When Abrams wins, her term would be difficult if she doesn’t have Democrat elected officers as Lt. Governor, Agriculture Commissioner, Labor Commissioner, Attorney General, Secretary of State and state house and state senate members.

Dukes should secure victory without a runoff so he can start focusing resources and time on his Republican opponent.  

The misinformation machine of the Republican Party constantly speaks of the ultra-liberal entire Democrat Party.  But, the existence Dukes and other rural Democrats who are closer to the political center are very real and gives range the Democrats, a diverse group that looks like America.

Agriculture: Ag is Georgia’s top industry and all citizens benefit from it’s success directly or indirectly because everyone eats food.  We thank heaven for the farmers, producers, ranchers, fishermen, foragers, food processors, farm workers and trucker drivers who provide a safe and affordable food supply.  Because local school districts are partial funded by property taxes, farmland is the foundation of the tax revenue in rural areas.  Agribusiness includes manufacturing of farm equipment and agricultural chemicals. 

“Seed to Fork” is a concept that encompasses every aspect of the food and fiber industry. During the COVID pandemic, we learn that truck drivers, food distribution center workers and chicken deboners are essential personnel.  Indirectly, food is shipped from Georgia Airports, Seaports and Rail Centers all over the world.  Agriculture is vital to our state and Dukes acknowledges that everyone is involved.

Weed: Reforming Georgia’s marijuana laws is a pivotal issue.  On the Democrat ballot, Referendum 8 asks “Should marijuana be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older, with proceeds going towards education, infrastructure, and health care programs?” Democrats are asking the public how they feel about legal and/or medical marijuana while Republican are in the Stone Ages.  The same Republicans supported opioids for pain relief and abuse of Oxycontin turned many Americans into dopesick zombies.  The Pharmaceutical corporations would go crazy if better pain relief could be grown in grandmother’s bay window.  We know cancer patients who sought marijuana when opioids didn’t help.

We need Winfred Dukes as an Agriculture Commissioner who would promote all of Georgia’s crop and explore new crops like marijuana. 

Flintstones vs. Jetsons: Like any other industry, Agriculture must evolve and function in an ever-changing world. Corporate greed drives the rich Republicans. Their mentality seems to be “make money, ignore science, scar the planet, no future generations.”  We now know that climate change and global warming is real.  But, Winfred Dukes and wise Democrats believe we can transition to cleaner energy agriculture while retraining workers displaced from the fossil fuel industry.  Clean water and clean air are part of our stewardship of God’s Green Earth.

Farmers and citizens must balance use in Georgia, Florida and Alabama of the waters in the Coosa, Tallapoosa, Apalachicola and Flint Rivers. We must listen to all involved parties and arrive at logical conclusions.  We appreciate Georgia farmers for implementing farm methods that are water wise.

That’s Ag Too?: American dependance on foreign oil is being address with plant-based fuel research at UGA, Georgia Tech, Fort Valley State and ABAC.   The crisis between Russia and Ukraine is a Georgia Agriculture matter because Ukraine was the breadbasket of the Former Soviet Union.  If they aren’t planting grains, it effects the global market price here. Unfortunately, that volatile region is a market for Georgia products like peanuts and soybean products as hungry war refugees flood into neighboring nations.  So, agriculture support from Georgia is beating biblically beating swords into plowshares around the world.

If we want people fleeing troubled nations to have better lives in their homeland and not come here, we can export farming methods from our state into Latin America, Africa and elsewhere. Can you believe a UGA researcher is teaching Africans to irrigate their fields and grow catfish in the waterways.   Winfried Dukes believes the adage “give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”  Dukes as Ag Commissioner would promote for Georgia food producers in the short time by providing food assistance in the short time and exploring seed and equipment to stabilize developing nations’ agriculture industries in the long term.

Campaigning Across Georgia: The Democrats almost won the governor’s race then did win the presidency in our state as well as two U.S. Senate seats.  But the crafty Republicans are making it more difficult to vote since they can’t win fair and square.  Democrats can’t concede so-called “Red” congressional districts because we can win there if people knew the issues and know that we are the party that fights for working people, the middle class and those driven to achieve.

Honestly, rural folks like to hear regional issues, concerns and policy solutions from candidates with similar roots as them. Winfred Dukes for Agriculture Commissioner would be one of very few non-Atlanta candidates campaigning in the Fall. 

Summary: The saying “Put Up Your Dukes” is dated. Most young people would not know what “dukes” are. They were born in a time when Democrats seem right on policy but light on fight.  Grammarist.com defines “Put up your dukes” as getting into a fighting stance and defend yourself.  Winfred Dukes is battle-tested, trained, seasoned and ready to win.  The State Agriculture Department is a catch-all for various mechanical aspects of state government.  The Agriculture industry isn’t going to entrust their field to a newcomer or novice. But, they must admit that Dukes knows them from his years of service as a state legislator.

While young voters don’t know “Put up Your Dukes,” their similar saying is “let your hands go.”  Elections aren’t about candidates only. They are about what the candidates would do in office fighting for everyone—not just the people who voted for them.  Well, they will never get to fight in office if they don’t put up their Dukes and let those hands go because the Trump-type Republicans fight dirty, punch below the belt and will throw everything at the Democrats to stay in power and serve their rich friends.

Stacey Abrams has fight.  Warnock and Ossoff have it as well.  South Georgia proudly puts up fighter Winfred Dukes for our Blue Team.  Because a winning team requires balance, diversity, and range. We feel Duke will be perfect for the statewide ticket.  He could tip the scales for a Democrat victory.

Summary Points: Dukes for Georgia Agriculture Commissioner

Experience:

Long Serving Member of Georgia House Agriculture Committee;

Business Owner; Roots in Rural Farm Area;

Democrat Party connections across state.

Issues:

Support and promote Agriculture, Georgia’s top industry;

Support entire “Seed to Fork” employment opportunities in Georgia Ag;

With Georgia’s research colleges and universities, develop plant-based alternative energy sources;

Support science-based best farm practices for good stewardship of clean water, air and land;

Promote Georgia agriculture tourism as an additional income source for our farmers and producers;

Work with USDA to end “Food Deserts” and provide access to affordable locally sourced fresh meat, fruits and vegetables;

Encourage vocational training in Georgia schools for careers in Ag related fields like truck driving; distribution center workers, food processing and food inspection;

Explore new cash crops like medical marijuana and legal weed;

Political Strategy:

Down Ballot statewide candidates support the overall Democrat ticket;

Democrats can’t win in Atlanta alone; South Georgia wants a seat at the table/Agriculture Commissioner Winifred Dukes would be perfect;

Dukes years under the Gold Dome brings valuable connections to Georgia Democrat past successful leaders and fundraising apparatus;

Dukes is actually part of the Georgia agriculture community and has time-proven experience with local, state and federal farmland legislators and congressman.

Dukes legislative record on promoting cannabis/weed as a new cash crop (growing, processing, marketing) and reforming marijuana could prove pivotal getting infrequent voters to the polls in November for Abrams, Warnock and the whole Democrat ticket.  Legal weed might tip the scale because the Republicans are against it.

Cahoots, Comity and Kibosh

In rural politics and public policy, we function differently than urban areas.  While state and national political parties exist, local and regional interests create unlikely alliances and that’s fine.

Background

Political history in southwest Georgia could serve as a background research area for the rural South. Coming out of Jim Crow, recent segregationists were Dixiecrats in the Democrat Party with Blacks and Labor Union members nationally.  This awkwardness ended with the exodus of Southern Whites to the Republican Party.  In his book A National Party No More, Governor/U.S. Senator Zell Miller wrote that the Democrat Party winning big elections required flexibility in national parties.  You give a little and you get a little. 

The Big Tent or Big Umbrella political party concept got tossed out of the window and was replaced by litmus/purity on policy tests.  But, regular voters often like public servants who had served previously with secondary consideration for party drama and loyalty. Georgia U.S. Senator Sam Nunn took care of our military bases, veterans and agriculture while serving as one of the last White congressional Democrats from the South.

Successful Strategy

When Republican U.S. Representative Saxby Chambliss prepared to run for U.S. Senate, Georgia GOP Chairman Ralph Reed cooked up an ingenious strategy.  Normally, the Dems and the GOP want candidates in every congressional and state legislative contests. The logic is that those down ballot contests are building blocks for statewide or presidential races.  But the crafty brain of young Reed realized Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Sanford Bishop and other Democrats could not be defeated in districts that both parties helped design.  If you can’t beat these Democrats, the smart move would be leaving them, their sizable, big dollar war chests and proven voter turnout machines out of the battle. Much to my chagrin, the strategy worked because some of the affection for Lewis and Bishop was personal or racial rather than political party-based.  Basically, some Democrat voters didn’t vote at all because these members were not challenged.

Senator Sam Nunn, Rep. Lewis and Rep. Bishop’s support with secondary consideration for political party is similar to rural Democrats who often voted for Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator Saxby Chambliss.  All of these leaders aren’t generally angry or conniving in their natures in my opinion. 

U.S. Senators might disagree but traditionally they discuss issues and policies with their colleagues with comity.  Comity means a state of civility or courtesy between people, organizations, and nations. It’s a hoped-for mutual respect and friendliness, although too infrequently the case in politics and business.  

For sake of full disclosure, Senator Chambliss was super nice to me on a Farm Bill tour stop in Taylor County when I was a congressional staffer and I still appreciate his comity. He said, “watch this” then gave a textbook speech about national parties fighting on Capitol Hill but how the Georgia delegation will always work together on agriculture, military, veterans, transportation and other regional issues. 

In 2011, Senator Chambliss joined the bipartisan Gang of Six with other Senators to address the national debt.  The new increasingly angry “my way of the highway” extreme segment of the Republican Party was not pleased.  Of course, the growing Progressive segment of the Democrat Party was unhappy with Senators Warner, Durbin and Conrad as well.  In 2014, Chambliss did not seek reelection and I think the bitter climate in Congress was a factor.

Concept: Winning important elections requires flexibility in a candidate’s support.  Does your political party afford you the range of support from old friends in the other party without jeopardizing the most loyalty-driven segments of your party?

A classic adage says “There are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interests.”  But, what you can’t do is be my friend in the morning and trash my whole team as evil in the afternoon.  How short is your memory?  Being part of a team must mean you come in swinging when a team member is in a fight.  You don’t ask the “particulars” like was my team member wrong.

This “swing first” mentality is related to Machiavelli’s “The ends justify the means.”  Personally, I refuse to participate in the demonization of all Conservatives.  Many of the principals of conservatism are similar to the Black community’s roots in doing for self and not depending on the government.  However, resorting to misinformation by anyone in the political arena for power gain is despicable.

Loyalty in War

Big elections are national or statewide wars.  But, the local and regional battles feel like Civil Wars because they involve personal friends and former colleagues. How many officers on both sides of the American Civil War were classmates at West Point? Again, what happens when your team or party goes to battle for a questionable cause. General Robert E. Lee was the most important military man in America before the Civil War and President Lincoln immediately offered him command of the Union Army.  While Lee was a hero during the Mexican American War, a commander at the John Brown raid at Harper’s Ferry and former superintendent of West Point, he could not take up arms against his beloved Virginia. Are you more a member of your race, faith, Georgian or American?  Do you “ride with your team” like General Robert E. Lee?  

The hip hop culture example of this loyalty to me is the scene in the movie Boyz In The Hood when Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) told Doughboy (Ice Cube) to let him out of the car heading for a revenge shooting.  He didn’t jeopardize Morehouse College and a professional career by committing a gun crime.  In real life, many NBA and NFL players from rough areas received “passes” from local thugs during high school who acknowledged that they were doing something positive that deserved encouragement.

My point is that the rough extremes in both political parties should give “passes” to their candidates who are supported by everyone across the board.

Great Places: Above the Fray

During the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta’s business community and local Blacks worked together to grow the city into an international trade center while other cities struggled with unrest. From Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. hosting a dinner honoring Dr. Martin Luther King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize to a string of Black mayors in the 1970s, Atlanta was about making money over fighting old battles.  In south Georgia, Thomasville and Tifton have earned reputations of working together on local and regional interests across traditional lines. Honestly, a history of constant bickering and racial drama jeopardizes attracting national companies with a diversity and inclusion mentality. 

Kibosh: The dictionary defines kibosh as: To put an end to; squelch; check.   

Strategy

Before the 2022 election year filing deadline, shall we work together to put “the kibosh” on opponents for southwest Georgia candidates who have worked on regional issues together, displayed a certain amount of comity and will likely win anyway.  The logic is why involved them in state and national political battles if not necessary. The time and energy they would spend fundraising and campaigning would be better spent focusing on issues and seeking solutions.  

Money: In the political arena/campaign cottage industry, those who make money from campaigns (wag the dog) wouldn’t be pleased with candidates not needing their services.  However, the millions that the governor’s and Senate races will put on the table more than make up for removing a few officers from certain battles and those officers will still be deeply involved in the other contests on the ballot.  In short, shall we be smart and diversify our political portfolio by acknowledging the usefulness of certain elected officials?

State Rep. CaMia Jackson of Albany recently asked that her campaign fundraising be directed to the Boys and Girls Club because their vehicles were vandalized. Her consideration deserves a nod from either political party and a review of other members of the General Assembly from the area could produce a “Kibosh” list because those lawmakers are beneficial to the region.  And if campaign consultants and fundraisers need to work, they can fund and engineer this effort publicly or behind the scenes.   

Timing

Before candidates get the bright idea of running, we should tactfully help them have the best information about the strong support of certain current officeholders. On a related note, candidates seeking to “primary” those officeholders should have smart reconnaissance as well.

That being pro-Black isn’t being anti-anyone else because a rising tide lifts all boats.

That Dr. King said “no lie lives forever” and that lying in political propaganda is detrimental to the nation.

That I will vote for the best Democrat over Republicans in local elections because that is what they do over over over again.

Local Democrat candidates might not be perfect but then again, we aren’t perfect either.

That brave Black Americans served and died in the military for a country that often treated them and their families like second-class citizens.  

That America is still the best country in the world and that Black ownership in the nation was paid for with blood, sweat, tears and billions of hours of free or low-cost labor until 1980.    

That the Biblical statements about “Servant, obey your earthly master” are wrongfully use to justify the enslavement of Blacks in America and Jim Crow.

That we respect everyone’s right to their faith but we want to reduce ancient religious conflicts continuing in America today.  Really.

That saying Trump and Pence won the election is also saying Kamala Harris isn’t Vice-President.

That some folks will continue unfair race-based privilege by any means necessary.

That we must admit that sometimes our group is dead wrong.  

That VOTERS should not break their necks fighting for good public policy for NON-VOTERS…help us help you….help us help us. We see you spending time on other things but can’t spend 45 minutes total a year voting.

That voting in every election is vital on the local, school board, state and federal levels .

That romanticizing crime and thug culture in music is your right but possibly counterproductive to our community.  Just Saying.

That speaking and writing English well 24 hours a day is a gift to your family’s future and wealth. That good grammar gives older people opportunities to move from working on their feet into management behind a desk.

That the “trades” careers like welding, plumbing and nursing can earn more money than the non-STEM college grads (Liberal Arts).  So, young people must earn more than sports and rapping in their youth.

That young people must have a sense of community when enjoying their culture freedom.  In other words, turn down your music to legal levels and know the city laws.

That sometimes our family members are committing crimes–help them do better and void  punishment.

That lying about Trump’s call to action in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is just like lying about slavery, Jim Crow and segregation.  

That keeping up with local, state and federal officeholders and their actions is important to my family.

Georgia Runoff: Six Rural Points

1. Biden/Harris Democrats: Obama/Biden becomes Biden/Harris if Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate.A massive voter turnout by Dems will reverse Trump’s bitter government that pitted Americans against Americans and would create basically a third Biden-involved wise, compassionate White House. Georgia Runoffs are the last Chess match battle in a war between Democrats and Republicans that started with Trump’s Obama birth claims.  

2. Smart Health care: Dem-controlled Senate would improve upon Obamacare with Bidencare, covering more Americans while maintaining options to keep your current doctors and plans. Biden’s corona-virus actions will be science-based to stop the spread until vaccines and treatments arrive.

3. Economy/Jobs: Biden and the Democrats want to increase the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour and therefore raise many current higher wages subsequently. Dem-controlled Senate could pass a massive multi-trillion dollar infrastructure stimulus plan that repairs roads, bridges and hospitals in addition to moving utilities and technology forward. High schools and vocational schools will get billions to train trades workers while many Americans will get relief from new college tuition and others will see their student loans go away. The richest one percent of Americans will pay more in taxes to fund these plans. Do you think the current rich senators from Georgia want that for their wealth friends?  

4. USDA/Rural Georgia: Rural Georgia is different from the cities and that must be respected because those areas are the breadbasket of our nation and home to many of our military bases. Everyone wants a safe and affordable food supply. 70% of USDA’s budget goes to food and nutrition programs like WIC, Food Stamps, the School Lunch/Breakfast program and food banks which helps working families and provides new markets for our farmers. From seed to fork, rural Georgians work moving farm produce as truck drivers and processing foods like deboning chicken. Democrat Senate candidates care about farmers and farm workers while Republicans side with Wall Street corporations. Rural Development under President Biden’s USDA will improve rural living because we should not need to move to the cities for opportunities. With next generation internet for all, Americans can work, live and play anywhere in Georgia. USDA housing programs are often the resource of first-time rural home ownership–that was the case for sharecroppers in the 1970s across rural Georgia and should be in the future.  

5. Crime/Justice: Vice President-Elect Harris was California Attorney General or Top Cop and she knows where law enforcement and corrections can do better with a Dem-controlled Senate. In a 50/50 Senate, she would break the tie as President Biden seeks to decriminalize marijuana and make prisons a place for punishment and self-improvement. Few Georgians want to “defund the police” but training could be better and bad police shouldn’t be police.

6. World Affairs: Democrats running the White House and both houses of Congress will return an Obama-like stature around the world. From smart military actions to climate change to world markets for American products, Trump’s actions need to be reversed. Our friend nations will be pleased and we won’t play around with monster leaders anymore. Our sons and daughters in the military will know their missions will have plans and purpose. Democrats could use “soft power” around the world as much as hard power with military strength. For example, agriculture advancements from UGA and Fort Valley State University could help farm practices in Africa and Central America to stabilize their areas and stem their migration– Isaiah 2:4 “..beat their swords into plowshares.” But, we still have swords with Georgia’s nine military installations, important rural economic engines.    

Summary: Voting for Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will stop the Senate Republicans from blocking President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and congressional Democrats. Biden and Harris will have a green-light to get America back on a positive course.  It’s about Georgia families–not Trump and two millionaire Wall Street Senators. We must vote. 

As we prepare for Senate runoffs and the governor’s race in 2022, I wanted to consider a breakdown of Georgia voter groups. The groups are: Metro Atlanta, the Next Six Cities (Athens, Augusta, Macon, Columbus, Albany and Savannah), Rural Georgia and Coastal America.

We know that Atlanta is the power in Georgia and her suburban areas rival the regional cities in population and money. The Next Six Cities are the regional cities that are hubs for a 20 mile radius. Candidates running statewide from Atlanta often think a visit to Albany is a trip to Rural Georgia. No.

The vibe and mentality of Non Atlanta voters is different from the Next Six Cities voters and Rural Georgia voters are still different from the other two groups.

In Next Six Cities, you find somewhat urban Blacks with a rural twist on some level. In Rural Georgia, Black voters are near the political center. The political history of Rep. Sanford Bishop reflects these divisions.  As a college student in Atlanta, Bishop was a Liberal but he might have grown more Moderate while serving Columbus as a state legislator. For over 20 years, dapper Congressman Bishop got his expensive foot-ware dirty on farms and military bases in rural Georgia as he became an expert on agriculture, the military, transportation and veterans matter.

You can’t win a statewide election in Georgia without showing well in the three Georgias. One would think that U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock would have asked Statesman Bishop if they could shadow him for a week or two last year to drink in his knowledge and wisdom of Non-Atlanta Georgia, USDA, DOD, VA and other federal alphabet soup. Ossoff knows the federal government somewhat from being a congressional staffer but is likely awkward in the land of plants (manufacturing plants and green, leafy plants.)  Warnock is an outstanding preacher who Bishop would have loved to mentor politically and maybe he did privately but we didn’t see indications of rural knowledge from any U.S. Senate Dem candidate other than former U.S. Attorney Ed Taver and he had no money.

You might have asked what is Coastal America in this Georgia political discussion; isn’t Savannah one of the Next Six Cities. Oh, I am not talking about Georgia’s lovely coastal region. For this voter analysis, Coastal America would be the Democrat donors from Washington, D.C. to Boston and from San Diego to Seattle who pour campaign contributions into the South to help candidates and fund Get Out The Vote efforts.

Their assistance is greatly appreciated. Can you believe that South Carolina might have two Black U.S. Senators if Jamie Harrison can beat Lindsey Graham. Harrison’s national fund-raising has been amazing. Of course, the pioneer of this funding method might be Georgia’s Stacey Abrams.

In my Rural Georgia area, we say whomever pays the piper, calls the tune or a modern version might be whomever hired the D.J. selects the playlist. The downside to campaign cash pouring into a state is the fact that those donors have the ear of the candidates/officeholders as much as local voters.

We have a dilemma in Georgia because Coastal America cash comes from donors who are more Progressive than Rural Georgia Black voters. Actually, Black Georgia voters aren’t the same group as Black Georgians because Progressive seek to help struggling families who vote infrequently. Democrats would own the South if most Blacks simply registered and voted.

The plan seems to be win Georgia statewide for Democrats by registering young, hip voters in Atlanta and the Next Six Cities with a Progressive agenda. We Moderate Dems would be a bonus or gravy but seeking our support isn’t efficient and jeopardize Coastal America Progressive donors because centrists are near conservative on guns, faith, spending, military, agriculture and the limited role of government.  

Moderates are dumbfounded because we feel our place in the center is needed because we counterbalances the Far Left division of the Dem Party and could attractive enough college-educated suburban conservatives to win more elections and leave the GOP as the new MAGA Party of Trump and his angry types.  

Well, we should remember that Moderate Joe Biden beat Progressive Bernie Sanders by securing Black voters in the South. Finally, the usage of the Coastal American contributions is strange and lazy anyway. The money is generally spent on T.V. ads with limited substance. While we are in a pandemic, statewide candidates still could have crisscrossed the state safely to show their regional understanding.

But, they didn’t see the need to connect with Rural Georgia voters as much as Coastal America donors. While Republicans should be ashamed for rubber-stamping Trump’s actions, the argument can be made that the some Republicans are familiar with our regional interests and those interests are as important as national matters. I’m reluctant to write the idiom “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” but that’s likely the mindset of the Georgia Republican farmers who supported Rep. Bishop because he was always there for them.  

To win, Democrats need Rural Georgians.

Georgia Senate Races

Georgia voters will see two U.S. Senate seats on the ballot this Fall and those elections might determine which political party controls the Senate. Shall we analyze the situations with an open-minded to arrive at logical conclusions?

In the first race, current Republican Senator David Perdue is facing Democrat Jon Ossoff. Ossoff is the young man who raised a zillion dollars when running for a U.S. House seat shortly after President Trump entered the White House. Trump selected a Georgia congressman for his cabinet and donors from around the nation were eager to make anti-Trump donations.  Ossoff didn’t win but Lucy McBath did take the seat later. Moderates around the state were surprised that former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomblinson didn’t make a runoff with Ossoff for the Senate seat but a powerful endorsement from Rep. John Lewis went a long way for Ossoff.  The national Democrat Party must have been salivating over Ossoff’s outstanding donor list and the impact it could have for the overall Dem ticket in Georgia. We have rarely seen Ossoff campaigning in south Georgia..remember that central theme.

Senator Johnny Isakson leaving office for health reasons created another opening. President Trump wanted the seat filled by Rep. Doug Collins, his impeachment manager during that drama. Georgia Governor Brain Kemp selected wealthy businesswoman Kelly Loeffler. Both Collins and Loeffler are in a so-called jungle primary in which candidates from all parties running at the same time. If anyone gets over 50%, that candidate wins. If not, the top two vote-getters meet in a runoff in January.

The Democrats in the jungle primary create a dilemma because the candidate who helps the overall Dem ticket by driving out voters in metro Atlanta isn’t necessarily the best qualified for high-level government service. Pastor Raphael Warnock, former Senator Joe Lieberman’s son Matt Lieberman, former U.S. Attorney/Army officer/state legislator Ed Tarver and reparations expert Tamara Johnson-Shealey are getting most of the spotlight.

To me, the situation feels like the difference between a great bride/groom versus a great wife/husband. An elegant, graceful woman might make the perfect bride on her wedding day but a less glamorous lady could say “hey, let just go to the courthouse then Applebees” and be an excellent wife for 60 years.

Rapheal Warnock’s celebrity as a famous pastor makes him like the perfect groom. However, the considerable public service career of Ed Tarver positions him better to debate a Republican in a runoff.

Yes, service in office is not relevant if you can’t win. Actually, Warnock’s situation makes me think about candidate Donald Trump from four years ago. Trump was a groom who could put on a great show but his time as a metaphorical husband has been horrible. Oh, Warnock would be a decent senator but Ed Tarver would be much, much better.

A visit to Warnock’s campaign page shows an impressive list of endorsements–a Who’s Who on the national stage. But, did those endorsers recommend that Warnock develop knowledge of public policy and an understanding of Georgia outside Atlanta and his native Savannah? Most of those endorsers would have been better statewide candidates than any candidate in the special election except Tarver.

My personal speculation is that Warnock received much of his support because he is cool with the most powerful Democrat in Georgia—Stacey Abrams. We desperately need her magic in Georgia and several other swing states to rescue America from Trump. State and national Democrats gave her carte blanche in Georgia but that’s complicated because her Achilles heel seems to be rural area voters. She would be governor if our efforts for her were a little better in south Georgia. A candidate can’t win statewide in Georgia by winning Atlanta and the next six -largest cities only.

Outside Atlanta, candidates for high office must show an understanding of regional issues like agriculture, military/veterans, transportation and general kitchen table economic matters facing working families.

I am writing this at 4 a.m. because this conundrum is a mess. Should we get behind Warnock because his candidacy helps the Biden/Harris ticket? Should Tamara Johnson- Shealey get more support because she is campaigning everywhere and young voters might connect with her really progressive positions? Or should we support Ed Tarver because he is proven and would be excellent in office?

Forget about me…forget about fancy endorsements…forget who can raise millions. Every few years we have a senate Democrat candidate who can raise millions and who doesn’t win.

We should listen to all of the candidates and personally make up our minds.

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_special_election_in_Georgia,_2020

 

Screenshot_20200728-135117_Facebook

I appreciate President Trump and his supporters for leading us to a collective, national enema which was a long time coming. Shall we–once and for all–get it all out. Metaphorically, America is a lovely mansion built on a shaky, corrupt foundation.  Republican sista Dr. Condoleezza Rice says that America’s birth defect is slavery.  This nation grew strong faster in part because it had free and systematically discounted labor for most of it’s existent.

 

Those who romanticize the Confederacy as a noble cause and wish for a return to days when everyone knew their role insult current and past African Americans. A popular Facebook poster reads “No White person alive today ever owner a slave. No Black person alive today was ever a slave.  We can’t move forward if people want to keep living in the past.”

 

That poster isn’t from a Klan site. Oh, no. There is no need for Klanning when these bold folks say what is on their minds point blank, straight No Chaser from a national political party…from the Oval Office. The same uninformed people declare “Go Back To Africa” as if, we came here voluntarily.  They love to mention that some Africans sold other Africans into slavery. But, those were warring tribes.

 

No Black person today was ever a slave but we should take a realistic look at the true timeline of Black oppression in what is now America. The first African slaves arrived here in 1619; 150 some odd years before the birth of this nation. In addition to brutal forced labor, we should not forget about childhood rape, reading being illegal and generally every effort made to turn humans into beasts of burden.

 

The horrible institution of slavery was justified by Christians from Genesis 9:24-27. Noah’s son Ham laughed at his father drunken state but his other two sons Shem and Japheth backed over him with a blanket as to not see him like that. Noah cursed Canaan, Ham’s son, to be a servant.  In the Black church, we say that Jesus cleaned the slate for any previous drama but when the Native Americans didn’t workout in the fields, someone had a bright idea about Africans/Canaan’s grandchildren supposedly.

 

The timeline on slavery for me doesn’t end until July 4, 1976, because the shackles of Jim Crow were simply an unofficial form of slavery. The Civil War saw the end of slavery but not the full citizenship of Black people and economically former slaves had no choice but to become sharecroppers or servants became a Black person could never have an opportunity until all White people prospered first.

 

For the White folks declaring that they never owned slaves, I ask if they want a forensic financial examination of their wealth. The connection between current Blacks and Whites who forced them into Jim Crow sharecropping is very fresh and involves the local, state and federal governments.  Also fresh is the land and wealth enjoyed by the ten richest families in most rural southern counties now….generational wealth or ill-gotten gains. We know who our folks/we worked for in the 1960s and 1970s.

 

So, can you as a Black person understand that if you were born blond and blue-eyed, you would likely support any system that provided advantages to your future grandchildren.  Can you as a Black person see that committing crimes which get you locked up is insulting our ancestors who were enslaved.  Author Ta-Nehesi Coates wrote that in the South before the Civil Rights Movement, Black incarceration numbers were low because the whole South was basically a prison to us. That’s deep.

 

America is so very much my country because my people labored here without compensation or under low-wages for most of history. Will I see this nation treat citizens of color correctly in my lifetime? The answer is no and we are actually going backwards. If we are to make it as a nation, we should take this opportunity to thank President Trump for inadvertently getting all sides to open up about how we truly feel….the good, the bad and the ugly. President Obama represented what a positive America should…unrealistic. President Trump reflects what America actually is….a racial mess.

For my Black Republican friends, I want to offer some Moderate Democrat insights that you’ll rarely get because we are in constant battle. But, as a member of the national honor society from Black college, I am committed to our motto “I make not my head a grave but a community of knowledge.” The “if/then”conditional statements from computer programming will be my tool.

 

Background

In in the Summer of 2020, Democrats and Republicans will select the overall tickets or teams for the November elections that include the presidency.  From president to vice president to congress to the state legislators to local candidates, the selection process is complex and involves reality and what the other side is offering.

 

Vice-President

The Democrats must balance Joe Biden with a VP running mate to gets the base to the polls.  Hillary Clinton picked Senator Tim Kaine who would have been an excellent VP. However, we will never know what Kaine would have been because the selection didn’t help get out infrequent voters in swing states.

 

Winning the White House might come down to Black women voters in 10 swing states tipping the scales.

 

If Black voters knew that Biden would seriously consider selecting a non Black woman, then we would have been better off supported a Black woman or man for president in the first place. I acknowledge the fact that VP nominees normally are big state Senators (the states are big, not the actual Senators), big city mayors from swing states or governors. But, we aren’t in normal situations.

 

If Biden selects a Black woman or Latina for VP, then she must be someone who can energize the crowds better than he can.  She doesn’t need to be the DNC’s favorite person as much as she needs to be a person who can connect with people who voted for Obama but blew off Hillary for whatever reason. Again, the party leaders aren’t as important as regular folks across the heartland and in Deep South.

 

Trump Relative To The Democrat Ticket

It’s not a good look for a national party to not look like the nation. It’s like a ruling class of people lording over the servant class. The DNC and GOP feel like modern plantations to many Black voters.

 

If Biden selects a Black or Brown woman for VP, then the GOP should use Black and Brown congressional and legislative candidates as regional diversity leaders. Indications are that the previous sentence is a joke. Many GOP voters are pleased to be unapologetically in a party primarily of people who look and think like them only.

 

Georgia’s Second Congressional District Race

Rep. Sanford Bishop has served the agriculture and military communities well for decades. If he is defeated, then his power over UDSA spending could cost the peach state billions.  However, the GOP will field a candidate of their selection. If policy expert, ultra conservative Don Cole wins the primary next month, then it will be par for the course and consistent with the notion that the Republicans want aggressive far Right conservatism even in a Democrat heavy district.

 

Is the far Right’s effort to unseat Bishop actually Don Quixote tilting at windmills? If Bishop is unseated, then the Big Ag industry will be sadly dealing with a Democrat controlled House of Representatives without Bishop….be careful what you wish for, GOP.

 

Vivian Childs is the other GOP candidate in the 2nd Congressional District and is a Black woman with deep roots in the GOP and Black community. If she was the GOP nominee, her nature and grace soften the otherwise rough, tough style of the southern GOP in some places.

 

If Biden selects a Georgia Black woman for VP, then Vivian Childs as a congressional candidate from south and central Georgia is good optics and hopefully she could privately get the president to chill on some level with his fiery rhetoric and drama.  If Cole is the nominee, then the Democrats will have a field day pointing out that the GOP couldn’t find a Black candidate in this very Black district. Of course, the vast majority of Blacks in the 2nd district will be voting in the Democrat primary. So, the question is will White GOP primary voters select someone like Childs who can get some new Black voters in November for their team.

 

HOWEVER

If Biden slights Blacks by not picking a Black woman after Blacks saved him in South Carolina , then unfortunately some disillusioned Black voters might wrongfully stay home or protest vote for Childs and Trump if she come out of the primary.

 

Who knows what will happen. Cole is similar to most of the voters in that primary while Childs would garner national attention and help Trump. We will see.

Blacks in or near the political center are at an awkward crossroads.  The situation is as dramatic as the Southfork Ranch on the T.V. show Dallas. If you aren’t old enough to remember this classic, you likely don’t realize the danger of flirting with socialism on the far left or tyranny on the far right.  Baseball great Yogi Berra famously quipped “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

 

I am writing this anthology of my blog posts as a guide map as Black voters decide which political south fork to take. Yes, Black Republicans are as much a part of our community as Black Bernie Sanders Democratic Socialists are. We all want a better, more fair America but how to get there isn’t clear. You know you can arrive at the same place from different directions.

 

Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken started “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both” and ended “…and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

 

Black conservatives basically took the road less travelled. While most Blacks would say its less travelled because it is wrong, I think these brothers and sisters serve an important purpose. They diversify our political/public policy portfolio. Daddy taught me not to put all of our eggs in one basket; backup plans are needed. If President Trump wins a second term, Blacks who don’t vote would have been complicit. We can’t continue to break our necks to work for people who aren’t working for themselves. I think the following blog posts could be useful:

 

The Best Interests Initiative

https://projectlogicga.com/best-interests-initiative/

I wrote a monthly blog series for most of a year called the Best Interests Initiative. The mission of the project was to outline how the Black community could or possibly should function with secondary governmental involvement. Do we really trust a local, state and federal government that sanctioned our oppression until recently and wonders why we are still upset. To me, old school Black conservatism (Country Club/pre-T.E.A. Party) was based on moving forward with a fair opportunity for all for the first time and not based on the government ensured that everyone has a nice life. That would be socialism.  Socialism would create a lazy and entitled segment of the population. My error-filled, unedited blog posts are a raw reflection of what the Black majority says in plant breakrooms, church parking lots and barbershops.

 

In the 25 some odd years since I returned to Georgia from Capitol Hill, it has been Black Republicans who sought a dialog with this Blue Dog/Centrist Democrat. During that time, the urban elites from the two coasts pulled the Democrat Party more and more to the left. While I appreciate their liberal well-intended actions, I knew that some of them views Blacks as children who need constant assistance. What’s more, Washington and Atlanta policy wonks decide what is important to the Black community then go about the business of “teaching” us what that is. Wrong move.

 

If any Black candidate for Congress from any political parties wanted to “flip the script,” he or she should use the Best Interests Initiative as a starting point for a discussion about what we can do for ourselves. It could be a game-changer because we must play chess rather than checkers–always thinking three moves ahead. If the GOP can’t be corrected by voting them out of power, we need to appreciate the reasonable brothers and sisters in their ranks. Personally, the Blacks on the far right aren’t my cup of T.E.A. but those near the center are straight enough.

 

Southern Black Muscle: P.E.C.S.

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/07/23/southern-black-muscle-p-e-c-s/

I love the PECS blog post because it outlines a comprehensive strategy for improving our community.  Voting and public policy are just part of the problems and solutions. P.E.C.S. spell out the issues: Political, Economic, Cultural and Social. It’s about addressing actions and concerns before they become problems. Old school personal responsibility is the foundation of the moderation.

 

OPEN 2020

 

https://open2020blog.wordpress.com/

OPEN 2020 is my unfunded baby.  OPEN stands for Our Policy Education Network.  Every two years campaign people run around trying to get the right 20 people in a room to meet their candidate and hear their points.  I thinking a network of the right 20 people should be in place and cultivate. But, I am not taking about the usual crowd. OPEN 2020 seeks to find and dine the real local trendsetters from the community and social media. We selected 20 towns in the Georgia south of Macon in which candidate Obama received over 4,000 votes. If OPEN was in place, Stacey Abrams would be governor. Also, OPEN 2020 believes that all political sides should have opportunities to make their points in our communities. Listening to the other side might be the best motivation to stay woke and vote.

 

 

Farm Bill: Everyone’s Glance

https://projectlogicga.com/2019/05/07/farm-bill-everyones-glance/

The Farm Bill is the most important bill/law to rural America.  From different angles, the Black community in Georgia should stay abreast of food and fiber issues relative to a safe and affordable food supply. The Black community surprisingly has more jobs connected to the Farm Bill than you might think.

 

Georgia Democrats: Normandy Style

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/12/20/georgia-democrats-normandy-style/

In December 2018, my vision of a military campaign style approach to the campaigns of 2020 was outlined in a blog post. Of course, the Democrats aren’t working like the well-oil machine I sought. Will Rogers said “I am not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.’ While that is cute, there is nothing funny about losing to people who would turn the clock back to the Jim Crow era.

 

Political Money Maps vs. Kids

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/06/26/political-money-maps-vs-kids/

Why why why can’t people realize that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Elected officials read the voting results by areas and if your area blows off voting, they often blow you off.  So, you attend every home high school football game to support the team, the cheerleaders and the band but you don’t register and vote to support those same young people by picking better councilmen, mayors, sheriffs, state legislators, judges, congressmen and presidents. Those same kids in high school uniforms last Fall might soon be drafted into an unwinnable war—wearing a camouflage uniforms on the other side of the world because a president has an itchy trigger finger. My road gets paved first because we vote.

 

5 Hot Issues: Weed, Schools, Military, Health-care, Jobs

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/04/24/5-hot-issues-weed-schools-military-healthcare-jobs/

A 2018 blog post showed my selection of five issues that could get our community voting. The issues driven by Democrat Party activists don’t reflect the interests of heartland Blacks. We should give Trump credit for asking his people what they wanted (albeit crazy stuff) then trying to deliver said twisted promises. We must make it plain and clear to reach and move the people. Okay, I am tired of begging grown folks to vote for or against candidates making decisions impacting our world.

 

In summary, the Black community is at a political fork in the southern road. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Southfork on Dallas wasn’t real; Trump’s America is very real. If the Democrats can’t get organized to defeat this president, we deserve whatever he brings next. I still believe that privately some old school Republicans are saying “this nation is on the wrong path…this can’t be good.”

If Pookie and Ray Ray voted, Stacey Abrams would be governor.  If their sisters would vote also, Abrams would be the next Vice President and two years later have the Oval to herself.  The margin of victory in most southern elections would be erased by these unengaged potential voters.  But, the government touches so many aspects of their lives.

My outline for getting them to the polls and involved in general starts with a few unedited blog posts—just add time and money.  Who has a Bloomberg connect?

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/07/23/southern-black-muscle-p-e-c-s/

https://projectlogicga.com/2017/06/03/open-2020/

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/08/16/georgia-dems-spinal-tap-hwy-441/

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/04/24/5-hot-issues-weed-schools-military-healthcare-jobs/

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/05/14/rethinking-blacks-in-america-with-ta-nehisi-coates/

Thanksgiving Democrats Dinner

We should have a Thanksgiving look at the Democrats running for president—a “feel of the field” if you will.  Next Generation Democrats must cook up a meal that satisfies the whole family.  Unlike a feast in a conservative Republican “Make America Sedate Again” home, we must please a range of taste and interests or else.

The objective of the Democratic ticket is to remove President Trump and maybe tie his drama/mess to those who put him there.  So, the cooks looming over shoulders in the kitchen are Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams…with Trump peeping in the window.

Biden is ready now and a safe bet for success.  At times, he seems old.  The heartland wants change but Trump is so wild that change from him is a welcomed “plain.”  Of course, the Whole Food shoppers in the family like the Progressive agendas of Sanders and Warren.  Sanders is really an advocate like Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson; presidents should be bridge-builder/governors.  Warren’s wealth tax and erasing student loan debt sounds good to the family but her healthcare plan “for all” troubles those happy with their current situations.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is as smart as a whip but Cory Booker was mayor of a bigger city AND is a U.S. Senator.  Kamala Harris won statewide several times in a nation called California but seems a little happy at times.  The game changer could be which Black leader is selected as Vice President—Booker, Harris, Abrams, Andrew Gillumman or Deval Patrick.  Black America is studying Mayor Pete’s relationship with our community in South Bend while gauging his reception with southern church folks.

Yes, at Thanksgiving dinner, dilemmas come up.  The family divide is often between old school and new school.  We have boujee kinfolks who are solidly in the middle class—the Black Elite.  Oh, the Republicans should have cannibalized them with Michael Steele but they chose to go the Neo Confederate route.  The foundation of the Democrat Party is hard-working, clean-cut brothers and sisters.  We are talking about military enlisted personnel, federal workers, labor union members and plant workers.  Of course, we need to mention the hip hop culture young people who put “being down” in front of employability (‘no what I’m sayin’).

A primary issue (pun intended) concerns the idea that Progressives in the Blue party break their necks to help the lowest income Americans but those struggling families don’t necessarily take responsibility for their actions or vote.  Then, Sanders or someone similar promises the pie in the sky and if he isn’t the nominee, they stay home on election day.  Thanksgiving dinner is often awkward because the family spent the last year addressing problems created by one family member while positive family members were ignored.  Did Hillary let her liberal staff pull her away from rural Americans?  Did she really skip Wisconsin?  Mayor Pete and Senator Amy Klobuchar are trying with agriculture issues and rural development.

We thank Stacey Abrams for raising a zillion dollars alone.  In the past the Democrat campaign industry would raise money and spend it with their friends on T.V. ads.  Abrams put that money on the street with Get Out The Vote grassroots efforts and she has learned to use more locals next time.

We wish we could take elements and aspects of everyone mentioned above and create a composite candidate—add some Julian Castro in the mix.  The old saying goes “nothing brings you more pleasure and pain than family.”  The Democrats and Republicans shouldn’t feel like two different families on Thanksgiving.  Then again, if the Native Americans knew then what we know now…go back to Europe might have been the chant.  Around some GOP Thanksgiving tables next week, some conservatives will admit privately that Trump is dangerous to this nation and plain Jeb Bush looks pretty good right about now.

Heavy Blacks Need To Vote

America and South Georgia have always been awkward for Blacks.  You know the history or do you.  If you don’t, you might experience “back to the future” literally.  For some, that turnaround would be welcome—Make America (my version of) Great Again.  I hope your Black behind knows that this version requires the systematic subjugation of a servant class.

In the past, that servant class was determined by birth.  We should hope that in the future one’s condition in life is fairly determined by grit, drive, effort, focus and achievement.  So, the adjusted American dream could be that every child has a level opportunity to create a good life for themselves.  Sorry well-intended Socialists, this nation can’t and shouldn’t guarantee a good life for everyone—a minimum decent humane life, maybe- but not a good life for a slacker or a couch potato.

Driven Blacks have been in a constant struggle for fairness since arriving here in the hulls of ships before America was an America.  We are battle-weary.  But, the strange battle is with other Blacks who have and will benefit from our efforts who don’t seem to help themselves. I am amazed at the low voter registration and turnout in our communities.  We are talking about communities where local, state and federal governmental actions are direct (public housing, free school lunch, proper police protection, good schools, healthcare, etc.)

If the needy in our community can spend countless hours on sports and internet screen time but can’t take ten minutes to vote, they deserve whatever the Trump types will do to them on all three governmental levels.  Yes, I said it.  A reoccurring theme of this blog is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  As we monitor voter turnout over the next 13 months, we might determine that negative elements of our community are like cancerous cells in a human body.  We might determine that government isn’t fair and can’t be the primary agent for our success. Our success is mostly determined by life choices, decisions and consequences.

We should first help those trying hardest to achieve—those who listen and stay focus.  Do we have compassion for the rest?  Of course but you can’t save people from themselves.  We must expose every child to a constant diet of healthy life choices and options.  Hell, the struggle itself should be a major motivating factor. “He Ain’t Heavy..He’s My Brother” was righteous in ’69 but “Truth is I’m tired” in 2019.

The vote of Blacks under 30 years of age in the South alone could end Trumpism.  If these voters don’t pull their weight and Trump wins a second term, Moderate Black voters might be force to create a new movement in the center to save America by working with whomever to vote out the cancer in other ways.

Democrats are divided. If something doesn’t change, these geniuses are going to give President Trump a second term.  To be a political party in a diverse nation, you need flexibility or as Senator Ted Kennedy said a half a loaf is better than no loaf.  Progressives want the whole loaf or starve.

The well-intended Progressive Movement is just that..a movement.  Winning elections to them might be second to progressing their causes in general.  When the Bernie Sanders crew didn’t get their guy the nomination, some of them blew off the general election while others voted for Trump.

Recently, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper was booed by California Democrats for saying Socialism isn’t the answer.  Well, rural Black southerners who actually vote are Moderates who would say “Say What?” if you broke down socialism for them.  “Ok, I am at the factory in steel-toed shoes all day while fools are at home thinking about getting free stuff from the government but it isn’t free because those are my tax dollars.  No one wants to see hungry babies but these grown folks with their hands out could work HERE…we are hiring.  But they are too cool to get dirty at work.”

Dare I ask: Was Dr. Martin Luther King naïve?  In our journey up from slavery, we basically assume that Blacks just needed a fair opportunity to prosper.  M.L.K.’s dream turned into a nightmare when you understand that not everyone is doing their best.  Some White, Black, Yellow and Brown people are just lazy and shiftless.  Blacks of the civil rights movement were generally rooted in the family and church.  The freedoms we enjoy today unfortunately include the freedom to be weak and a self-made victim.  Dr. King is likely disappointed on the other side.

Barack Obama was equally naïve on some level.  When horrible things happened, he would say that’s not who we are.  Actually, Obama’s vision was who we should be (like Lincoln’s better angels.)  Trump exploits who we really are….warts and all.  He is the greatest opportunist in American history and shame on the GOP for giving him a platform.

If things don’t change quickly, this is how the election season will go.  The Progressive minority inside the Democrat Party will push presidential and congressional candidates from the Left.  The old Clinton/Gore and Obama/Biden working class/church attending Dems in the Midwest and South will reject that much liberalism.  The resulting ticket and slate of candidates will go down because pouting babies didn’t get their way.  Trump wins and we head toward global isolationism and possible war.

We should mention that the poor people Liberals want to help vote infrequently.

The following is hard for Progressives to understand: Southern rural Blacks never really trust the government.  We see the same local, state and federal governments that sanctioned our oppression.  If Trump wins again, we will be fine because your best life comes from being a better you; not governmental involvement.  I wrote a blog series once called The Best Interest Initiatives.  Moderate Blacks loved it.  If we had more Moderate talk inside the Democrat Party, we could pull enough suburban voters from the Republicans and Trump would lose.

https://projectlogicga.com/best-interests-initiative/

To move forward as a community, we need to be concerned with more than who wins elections.  Politicians can’t save you from you. The most successful communities have strategic plans based on reality and achievement.  Because this blog post will ruffle some feathers, an italicized disclaimer should come first.  “In a free society like America, you can’t tell people what to do. People have a right to free association and free thought.”

Of course, there are consequences and results from free actions and that is where governmental involvement gets complicated.  You can be unemployed and have six babies but other citizens become involved if you need their tax dollars to feed these innocent kids.  You can have a faith belief that is against a woman’s right to choose but are you going to feed the resulting children for the next 18 years.

I wrote a blog post about P.E.C.S. recently: Politically, Economically, Culturally and Socially.  The idea is that politics is just one part of the overall wellness plan for a community.  We need to be careful about our economic actions, cultural choices and general societal mindset.  Basically, my community is a mess that is getting messier while other communities are moving forward.  Slavery and Jim Crow makes our situation unique but still, we must do better.

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/07/23/southern-black-muscle-p-e-c-s/

Are we actually moving backwards from the pre-integration Black communities?  While those communities were oppressed, most Blacks of those days were fully-focused on achievement and eager to capitalize on every rare opportunity.  The Black home isn’t as solid as it once was and our children are growing up with a range of influences.  Often, the hip hop culture has replaced the church as a major influencer.  Calm down, we all love the art medium of music and rap lyricists are poets.  But, for children without deep roots, the glamorization of street life from music could become a rough way of life. Are these kids preparing for S.T.E.M. careers or jobs in the trades?  Will they be ready to earn a living in the rapidly changing global economy or will they self-medicate and become adult wards of the state?

On the other side of town or in the rural areas, some in the majority community in the South are expressing radical bitterness.  Dr. Condoleezza Rice says that slavery is America’s birth defect.  Conversations about fairness and righting past wrongs have led to a siege mentality for some folks.  Remember, everyone has a right to his or her thoughts.  However, when your thoughts result in discrimination, problems can be legal and financial.

Economic development officials are discovering that local bitter views can stop national companies from bringing new jobs to some areas. Ouch.  Supposedly, B.M.W.’s decision to locate a plant in South Carolina over the Savannah, Georgia, area included drama over the Confederate flag.  Corporations and companies feel out areas and avoid places with simmering troubles.  They don’t want to live in such places and don’t want employee conflicts on the worksite.  We will live together as brothers or perish as fools.

I wrote a blog post about elected officials using technology-generated maps to analyze where voters live.  Governmental projects and services could reflect voting actions; the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  My palm hits my forehead when I think about the neediest areas being the areas with the lowest number of voters.  So, the government helped your family during struggles but you can’t find ten minutes to vote.

https://projectlogicga.com/2018/06/26/political-money-maps-vs-kids/

I don’t want to say “hate” groups but “bitter” groups and individuals from the Far Left and Far Right are being mapped by watch organizations.  Similar to elected officials giving better service to “voting” areas, extremist’s views could cost someone a paycheck or a community jobs.  Increasingly, the first question after an ugly incident is “where does he work?”  Social media can immediately target a company or business if they employee a vile person who offends a segment of the community that is a source of revenue or business.

We can reverse engineer bitter situations.  In the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta’s business community earned the reputation as the city too busy to hate.  Of course, activists are often upset about valid issues but the ends don’t justify the means.  Hero to some is terrorist to others.  A community with a generally positive vibe attracts positive people and positive companies.  The lack of ugliness is a nice reflection on a community.  If your community keeps fighting the Civil War, you shouldn’t be surprised if a corporation views that as intolerant and takes their deep pockets elsewhere.

I also consider it “deep pockets” when a community has pockets of deep or woke people.  For example, Thomasville, Georgia, has a reputation of having intelligent Blacks or a cultured atmosphere in general.  It doesn’t hurt that Tallahassee is just across the state line.  Thomas County has a bitter past like any Georgia area but they have moved forward faster than most.  I won’t mention other area communities with as much wealthy as Thomasville but with a huge divide between the haves and the have-nots.

Our bitter roots are the root of continued problems because the plantation economy ended recently and without a fair reconciliation. You can call it inherited wealth while others view it as ill-gotten gains.  Much of the new hate/bitter speech we are experiencing is simply rooted in the majority fighting changing demographics.

But, we shouldn’t get it twisted.  Population statistics mean nothing if we can’t convert numbers into voters and voters into economic deep pockets.

The Congress passes a Farm Bill every five or so years that authorizes the United States Department of Agriculture programs.  Most people’s eyes glaze over from boredom when a rural congressman is on the TV talking about crops and cows.  The Farm Bill should be of interest to one group of people: eaters.  There is a saying that “if you eat, you are involved in agriculture.”  Yes, everyone eats and a safe and affordable food supply shouldn’t be taken for granted.  If you forget the “touch, the feel” of natural cotton, you should ask someone over 50 years of age about disco dancing in polyester and other synthetic materials.

Consider this: the local school system is funded in part by property taxes.  In rural areas, property value of farm land is tied to Farm Bill programs.  Without that farm land tax revenue, the schools would be severely underfunded.  So, we should be patient when a combine tractor is slowing traffic on a country road.  Farming was always a battle for minorities in America and severely harsh in the South.  USDA traditionally didn’t help Black farm operations but after some costly class action lawsuits there are provisions of the Farm Bill that support socially disadvantage farmers and veteran farmers.

From seed to fork, we should thank everyone involved in the food supply chain: farmers, ranchers, fishermen, foragers, food processors, produce pickers, truck drivers and the grocery store stockers.  A glance at a few parts of the Farm Bill will give you a new prospective on the importance of agriculture in various aspects of our lives.  The 2019 Farm Bill covered $867 billion.  Agriculture is actually Georgia’s biggest industry.   Remember, deboning chicken in poultry plants is also a vital ag job in many communities.

Commodities:  The heart of the Farm Bill would be the programs that support and promote cotton, wheat, corn, rice and soybeans as staple crops as well as other fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and aquaculture.  The USDA and Congress work with farm industry groups and other stakeholders to determine what if any policies help them.  While only one percent of Americans work in farming, modern machinery and technology could produce too much food and flood the market.  A balance must be created to keep supplies up but not drive prices for farmers down.

Food and Nutrition: Urban members of Congress support the Farm Bill because food programs like SNAP (formerly called Food Stamps), WIC, the School Lunch program and the Surplus Commodities programs are win/win.  Needy families receive food assistance and farmers have the federal government as a market.  The ripple effect is significant: kids can’t learn at school if they are hungry; undernourished children have expensive health problems and kids developing healthy eating habits is important.  At times, the USDA restricts food production while Americans are hungry.  Of course, the economic aspects of food production are complex and complicated but we should all stay informed on these matters.  In the riches countries in the world, people shouldn’t be hungry and farmers shouldn’t be struggling.

Trade: If the American farmer can produce more food, they welcome the opportunity to sell overseas to feed the world because Americans can’t consume all of the bounty that is produced.  Of course, federal farm policy isn’t all USDA and trade requires involvement from the U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce Department.

Foreign Aid/Affairs:  Agriculture gets exciting when you think that our farmers could change the world as much as our troops.  Farmers could ease war and conflict with bread rather than bullets in some situations.  Starving people need our corn, wheat and even peanut paste.  But long term, the research colleges and universities funded by the Farm Bill could teach North Africans better farm practices to avoid ruining their topsoil.  With better topsoil, drought would not devastate the region and thousands of refugees wouldn’t be pouring into an unwelcoming Europe.

Can our farm technology help Latin America develop better crops to trade, stabilize their nations and stem the flood of refugees at our southern border?  While we are at it, South America and Southeast Asia need new cash crops with our assistance because their drug related crops are killing us.

Rural Development: The federal government puts most of urban development under HUD and rural development under USDA.  The president and the secretary of agriculture could creatively consider almost anything to be rural development.  Rural housing, economic development, broadband internet, rural hospitals, community facilities and water and sewer infrastructure fall under this section.  Residents in America’s biggest cities should love rural development because urban sprawl is a beast.  Everyone can’t live in the city and city people often dream about retiring to their rural hometowns for a quiet life near family and friends.  USDA Rural Development across the South was ready when the film industry came looking for new locations.

Research: The Farm Bill promotes research on college campuses and research in the agriculture industry that makes better seeds, less chemicals and higher yields.  Ag scientists are reducing are dependence on fossil fuels by turning wheat straw, peanut shells, used cooking oil and even algae into fuel.   The research and extension services carried out at our land grant colleges and university are why Americans pay the lowest percentage of their income for food than any nation on the globe.

Conservation:  The agriculture industry must be good stewards of clean air, water and land.  The chemicals used in production don’t need to appear in the water supply or in foods.  Trees and grasslands are essential in photosynthesis and everyone likes breathing.

Summary: The 2018 Farm Bill or Law is nearly 1000 pages and therefore not easily summarized.  But, the programs the Farm Bill authorizes touch all of us.  We should also remember from high school government class that authorization of programs is “checked and balanced” by annual appropriations.  The process is similar to a small business having an operations manager who decides a new truck is needed, a budget manager checking to see if funds are in the budget and still another manager cutting the actual check.  All eaters should monitor every future Farm Bill.