Posts Tagged ‘tifton’

Congressional redistricting should embrace split counties in some situations as the logical reflection of the divisions between people.  We know the cigar-chomping leaders will make the decisions behind closed doors and spin their maps as “the best interest of all Americans.”  But, a case can be made for putting like-minded people in the same districts because some of us are weary after a lifetime of constant fighting. 

Democrats and Republicans don’t understand each other and rarely communicate peacefully.  Heaven only knows how many people in south Georgia only have friends away from work who are just like them and that’s cool in a free society.  The problem is leaders of one party might make decisions that involved the entire area with limited input or knowledge of others.  From home schooling/private school to church, the only Blacks some people know are on Tyler Perry T.V. shows.  Have mercy.

During Georgia’s redistricting hearings, the usual suspects bounced up to the microphones to declare that this county or that county shouldn’t be divided because of the tremendous amounts of love and happiness inside those county or city lines.  Child, please.  Railroad tracks and highways divide most rural southern areas—east is east and west is west and never say they meet.  Oh, the Chamber of Commerce types will have you think that all is well and bless their hearts, all is well insider their worlds. 

In southwest Georgia, I wouldn’t mind seeing all strong Democrat population pockets placed in the 2nd Congressional district.  Yes, the neighboring 3rd, 8th and 1st districts would be even more GOP and that’s fine because they are “balling” down here or as the kids say, they are like “butter” because you know they are on a roll.

In Worth and Tift counties, U.S. Highway 82 neatly divides the GOP northern section from Blue areas in the south.  Some would also argue that the Red areas of Lee County deserve placement in the conservative 8th.  While I am a cosmopolitan guy with a wide variety of friends and associates across God’s green earth, it sincerely hurt my heart to hear that so many conservatives felt the centrist Democrat congressman in the 2nd didn’t listen to them at all…zero…zilch.  Really?  I know for a fact that said congressman breaks his neck to hear from everyone and while his final votes reflect the majority of his district, he tries to hear from the other side more that 99% of the southern GOP members of Congress try to hear from the Dem side.  When Georgia’s GOP senators dialog with Democrats, instant talk of primary challengers starts.

The fact that Georgia has two GOP senators is a game-changer for me anyway.  Here is the logic: everyone has two senators and one House member representing them in Washington.  Georgia’s senators are legislatively similar and also similar to most GOP House members.  If you are a non-conservative Georgian, you should hope like crazy that you have a Democrat House member to hear your concerns.  For me, that’s representation is more important that being connected with the other half of my county. 

At the redistricting hearing in Albany, Georgia, Brad Hughes, a promising young public servant from Early County, Georgia, stated that having two members of the state house serving his area was like the best of both worlds.  Well, the same logic could apply to congress for the next ten years.  Keith MacCants at Peanut Politics asked recently on his blog who should run against Rep. Bishop in 2012 since Mike Keown has decided to seek other office. Hughes, who ran against Bishop in the past, would be better than most conservatives at bridging the political divide.  Can he win?  No.  But he can position himself to be  appointed congressman by the governor if Bishop is selected by a president to be a cabinet secretary or maybe the historic next ambassador to ag nation Cuba.  You heard it here first and remember that a GOP president also would like a cool Dem or two on his team and despite the noise from last year, Bishop is one of the best peacemakers.   

I am uniquely qualified to write about peace between parties because I am a Democrat who supports Georgia’s GOP U.S. senators but please don’t tell anyone or the guys will get primary opposition.  If conservatives want out of my 2nd congressional district, I say good riddance and I hope you have the time of your life chilling with like-minded people somewhere else.  You should “get” while the getting is good because if Keown couldn’t turn the 2nd red in 2010, it can’t be done anytime soon. Green Day had it right with Good Riddance and Bill Joe was a big Obama support in 2008.

If you ask asked the people south of Hwy. 82 down here if they want to be in a Dem congressional district for the next ten years, they would look at you like you were crazy.  Heck yes, they want into the second congressional district and heck yes, the GOP people north of the Hwy. 82 would like to have a safer conservative in the 8th district for the same period of time.


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The NAACP Scholarship Banquet in Tifton, Georgia, “advanced” me profoundly last night but then again, they say the hardheaded never learned.  In college, we were too radical to be involved with this organization.  It was all about Public Enemy’s lyrics like “Mandela..cell dweller…Thatcher, you should tell her.”  In retrospect, the grassroots chapters of the NAACP have brought us from a mighty long way.

Rodney King was at my table.  Not that Rodney King but a 20-year-old fellow who won’t hesitate to tell you about the good works of his church.  Both Rodney Kings spent a lot of time in the hospital but this R.K. is employed a Tift Regional Hospital.  When I told him that my mother was there last year for several weeks and that he was luck because that camp is “full,” he looked at me as if too say “I am protected my check rather than being concerned with that stuff on the job.”

Young people from King’s church served the food at the banquet while other young people sang and praised dance.  Two young students from the community received scholarships and words of wisdom from Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham.   Justice Benham told the audience that they were in the wrong place if they wanted to hear negative information about the community because he would be speaking about positive experiences.  While he spoke, a slide show of Black history flashed images from the March on Washington to Little Rock to Medgar Evers to Obama speaking to the NAACP.  Justice Benham remained us that the NAACP has been fighting the good fight for years.  In his official capacity, he has ruled for and against the organization’s positions but he appreciated their efforts. 

Justice Benham was introduced by a long-time friend of his who isn’t Black and several of the honorees weren’t Black.  I remembered that Whites have always been involved in the NAACP.  I also remember that like any organization the NAACP has local chapters that are as different as leaves on a tree (that is what Helen Blocker Adams says about the Augusta Tea Party events.)   President Rev. L. Chris Solomon and the Tifton NAACP chapter seems to emphasis community improvement and encouraging the youth. 

Since I am often alone, I thought I mastered taking cellphone pictures of myself—I had to get one with the anti-lynching slide.  When I when to take a photo with Justice Benham, who told me he married an Albany State University grad, a women asked me why would I take a picture of myself when she could have the professional photographer do it.  Again, the hardheaded never learn that some things require the help of others; it’s called community. 

One of the honorees was a county commissioner with a long history of cleaning up the community street by street.  I met her a dozen years ago and told her husband and her congrats on their civil efforts.   Morehouse student Ambrose King help organize a fine program.  With old friends at NAACP events and the other contributor on this blog speaking at Tea Parties, community involvement is happening while I am sitting at his keyboard….blogging.  

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Election season can be awkward because the process doesn’t always allow the flexibility for voters to express themselves.  We have primaries, party slates and candidates who make assumptions from their election results.  I voted in the Republican primary six years ago because I wanted to support innovative Senate candidate Herman Cain but I skipped most of the other candidates because I basically wasn’t feeling them. 

In 2008, my political friends could have called me a rare S.O.B. because I voted for Saxby, Obama and Bishop (B.O.S. would have had less flair.)  Centrists are constantly weighing regional interests, party loyalty and personal views when selecting candidates.  While we are months away, I have no idea what I am going to do in the Senate race between two exceptional Georgians who have both served our state well.  I do know that my party doesn’t control all of my votes and that people should follow their guts.

The other day I was thinking that I was “ghost” on the other contests in that Republican primary since I was there to “primarily” support Cain.  Since people fought some hard for the right to vote, would skipping a contest on the ballot be wrong or a gesture of “none of the above.”

In a related situation, many incumbents have no primary opposition.  In a light bulb moment, I thought not voting for an unopposed incumbent in a primary could be away of letting that candidate know that we shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Of course, the candidate still advances to the general election but he or she knows that we are weighting our options.  Those options might include “ghost” voting in November if we choose—like none of the above.  After the primary, a candidate would discover that a significant number of people who voted in other races skipped his name. 

For example, the number of new Obama voters who only voted for president is alarming; that situation was flat silly since they didn’t know the importance of other offices.  The buzz term this election season is “low information voters” and it was created to label people who get their news from one very opinionated source.  To be fair, I think people in my community who vote a straight party slate and assume that a candidate with a “D” on his jersey is 100% “down for the cause” are also “low information voters.”

For sake of full disclosure, the election of President Obama was one of the coolest events of my life; I really like the guy and hope he is successful in improving our great nation.  As quiet as it is kept, my appreciation goes out to Republicans who also voted for him and Democrat centrists will give their party’s better candidates a good and fair look this year.

In Georgia, Representative Jim Marshall has wisely balanced his membership in the Democrat Party with the conservative views of large segments of his district.  In a perfect world, Marshall would be an independent who is free to vote his mind every time but in this political world, congressmen must slide with their team more often than not.  On several key votes, Marshall was ghost for the Democrat team but low information voters don’t know it. 

Actually, we never learned if Marshall voted for Obama or McCain but his skipping the Democrat National Convention wasn’t cool with me.  In addition to formal nominating a presidential candidate, those conventions are where officials like Marshall fight to pull the control of the party platform nearer the center of America and away from the far left.  He is a smart guy and when Obama/Biden needed him, he was ghost.  I have never seen a picture of Marshall and Obama—what up with that.  But, I remember him stating in campaign ads years ago that he did this and that with President Bush. 

Voters in middle Georgia remember Marshall’s quality leadership as mayor of Macon, Georgia, but a little wake up call might be helpful to remind him that we like him but love this President.  The Democrat Party can’t control us like sleep.  Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. is considering supporting a Republican friend running for Obama’s old Senate seat. Can he do that?   

Voters in the Democrat primary should consider “ghost voting” by not automatically voting for unopposed Marshall in the primary this summer and if he skips more major votes that the White House needs November could be up in the air.  I appericate the kind statements Macon’s current mayor made about Obama during the presidential campaign; he has a bright future. (Wink) While most of our community doesn’t care for Republicans, we occasionally vote for conservatives who might add a voice of reason in their meetings; we vote for Blue Dogs we considering moderate to conservative.  Heck, President Obama put several Republicans in his cabinet but only one  Blue Dog and zero members of the Congressional Black Caucus.  If the GOP takes the Congress, the influence and views of a few reasonable Republicans could be more important to the WH than a Dem with a history of being ghost. 

In the old school, we played the Police album “Ghost In The Machine” to death and love the cut “Spirits in the Material World.”  That song had the lyric “They subjugate the meek…but it’s the rhetoric of failure.”  Today, we are subjugating ourselves by locking in with one group and not listening to valid alternatives.  I have always respected the Police because they constantly acknowledge that their music is rooted in the reggae from Jamaica.  The current base of the Georgia Democrat Party is rooted in my community and that fact should be remember when we say help the President from our party. 

Party politics often centers on political machines, those groups of people who get the vote out in large numbers.  Machines often recommend candidates but don’t monitor them once elected.  In Tifton, Georgia, two years ago, I would tell people with Obama/Biden stickers that the local Democrat congressman wasn’t really a supporter of the ticket and their mouths would drop—low information voters.  Our modern-day “Ghost In The Machine” should be ghost-voting candidates who take us for granted.  The political machines wouldn’t like that very much but everyone would be on their toes. 

To my GOP friends (all both of you), your whole party seems like a great big machine at times.  If a Democrat has listened to you on regional issues, you should ignore national groups who say he or she is not fair and attentive.  You guys have some real ghost busters in your camp.  Your machine shouldn’t tell candidates to avoid any dialog with those of different opinions. 

This ghost voting idea could really be something. 

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GOP Georgia State Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton is running for Governor.  This news is interesting because Scott is famous for siding with Democrat Governor Roy Barnes to change the Georgia flag.  Without getting into a debate about the Stars and Bars, Scott displayed a heaping amount of intestinal fortitude for his history of bridge-building rather than traditional rural rock throwing.


In the Tifton Gazette article, Scott outlined an innovative fundraising plan to raise $100 from 100 people in each of Georgia’s 159 counties—the people in a dozen counties can’t afford to pay attention, so good luck there.  But, the plan sounds somewhat Obama-like and I have been writing that the GOP needs to shake things up with some young blood and fresh ideas.


To be honest, I wish Scott would challenge Rep. Jim Marshall for his congressional seat because Obama needs constructive conservatives in D.C. and I am still ticked-off that Marshall was never in candidate Obama’s corner.  What should the Black community do if we realize that the Democrat candidates for governor cannot win in this Red State (like no Dem will beat Senator Isakson, so save your campaign money and consider it a stimulus check from me.)


The logical action would be focusing on the GOP primary—where the governor will be selected- and supporting the most appealing candidate.  But, then again, that would be too much like right. 

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