My thoughts on the future of Black political centrists in the South have been two weeks and/or two decades in the making. So, brace yourself for an unusual brainstorm. The open U.S. Senate race in Georgia next year forces us to plot our best plan for representation.
Senator Saxby Chambliss is an establishment Republican and I have appreciated his service regarding the regional issues of agriculture, military and veterans. Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. Jack Kingston, now Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and those who went to congress in the early 1990s worked together on issues of vital importance to the peach state. In this Progressives vs. the Tea Party era, I miss that old school dialog.
For two weeks, I have been hearing that the Democrats won’t likely field a viable Senate candidate and the practical part of me says that moderate to conservative Georgia Dems could and should vote in the GOP primary next year to ensure that we don’t have a divider representing our diverse state.
I was thinking about who is a “natural” Democrat or “natural” Republican last week and it made my head hurt. While watching to the T.V. show TMZ, a story came on about Raspberry favoring of food. It turns out that a food can be labeled as naturally Raspberry because it is natural and taste like Raspberry but it comes from the backside of a beaver. http://www.befoodsmart.com/blog/tag/raspberry-flavor/
That isn’t natural to me and it’s not natural to force everyone in a big state like Georgia into two political parties and expected them to naturally and neatly stay there. A few years ago, the Georgia Dems lost two rising young stars to the GOP. Ashley Bell of Gainesville and blogger Andre Walker of Atlanta were on CNN explaining their rationale and it seemed natural to me. Before, they were my brothers and today they are still my brothers. Walker once wished happy birthday on facebook to the naturalized American actress Charlize Theron, whom he considered an African-American because she is an American born in South Africa. Huh?
I personally like the No Labels political movement because we shouldn’t run away trying to put people neatly into boxes and categories. Like they say at church, we should look at a person’s “thoughts, words, and deeds.”
A Black conservative from the ATL told me yesterday that Rep. Tom Price looks good to him in the race for U.S. Senate. I asked about his track record for explaining conservatism to non-conservatives and dude could say anything. Remember, the wave created by the Tea Party doesn’t cotton well to conservatives talking with others without yelling. Moderates and liberals are often viewed as the enemy.
Look, on Capitol Hill, I worked for Rep. Charles Hatcher, Rep. Don Johnson and Rep. Sanford Bishop and all three strongly insisted that we listened to and served everyone in the congressional district—not just the people who voted for them. I was personal friends with a staffer in Rep. Kingston’s office and would hang after work with her at conservative functions because she was a natural hair wearing, smart Spelman College woman. Yeah, Jack had a Spelman grad in a major position on his legislative team. I talked with Kingston alone at a reception one night for 15 minutes and came away with an appreciation for his commitment to southern Georgia. He mentioned that he promoted south Georgia colleges and universities during his time in the Georgia statehouse because students should get quality educations in our part of the state also.
We would trip about Kingston going to political forums at Savannah State University without staff. The guy loves the lively debate. Actually, he was the first member of congress to brave Stephan Colbert’s “Better Know a District” segment. Because Kingston briefly lived in Ethiopia as a child, Colbert decided that he is an African American—like Charlize Theron. There you have it; Jack Kingston is an African American who might run for U.S. Senate next year. Some wiseacre is going to Kingston knows as much about the southern African American experience as my man President Obama. I will leave that alone but he like knows more than most GOP candidates for Senate.