These days, Eugene Talmadge would be a Republican.
We hate and fear Trump because he is a boorish, dangerous, immoral liar with absolutely no experience in government other than what he has picked up since his “huge” inauguration. You hate Obama because he is black. I know, I know, but that’s the way we see it, and we believe we’re right, just like you think you’re right to believe in Donald Trump but not climate change or Planned Parenthood.
So look, I mean, it has always been this way in Georgia. People loved and hated Eugene Talmadge and his son Herman and their lieutenant Marvin Griffin and our friend Cal Sanders and our nemesis Lester Maddox, but who can hate our old pol Nathan Deal? He has to preside over a government that is run by a legislature full of crazies, who want the Georgia Power Company to ride high off the rates it charges us to build non-existent nuclear power plants, but don’t want the most vulnerable among us to get help from our national government in the form of tax money paid in by wealthier states in our union.
Such Georgia legislators are all Republicans, but back when the Talmadges were doing it, all the legislators were Democrats. Succoring the rich and soaking the poor is non-partisan and non-denominational in Georgia. The main thing is that the state be run for the good of white men in suits—not black men in suits or overalls or anything else; not white women, not black women, not gay men or women, white or black, not transgender people. Georgia is run for the benefit of white men in suits.
Look at the legislature. Look at the Board of Regents. Look at the Public Service Commission. Sure, you’ll see the very occasional black man in a suit or a white woman in pantyhose, but mainly it is white men. And those white men, for instance, did not want the $4 billion or so that Obamacare would have sent into Georgia to help our old and disabled and addicted and children and hospitals and nursing homes, because all that money had the name of a black man attached to it and it would have helped some black people along with a lot of white people, so that could not be. It’s exactly the same thing as when our Sen. Richard B. Russell prevented President Harry Truman from creating universal health care 70 years ago, because it would mean that black people would be in the same hospitals as white people. And these Republicans, including our congressman, Jody Hice, are the same people now delighted with the prospect that the repeal of Obamacare would result in 963,200 Georgians losing their health insurance. (See Georgia Report in this issue.)
So, how does all that trickle down to our wonderful, liberal Athens, GA? Since this is Athens, our Republicans are more sophisticated than those racist hayseeds in the Georgia legislature. Our Republicans got so tired of progressive liberal Democrat (sic) college professors kicking sand in their faces that, by God, they wised up. When we were nice enough to help them lift the onus of their party off of local elections, they found themselves a candidate, a woman (gasp) who looked for all the world like a (non-partisan) Democrat but who, when elected, acted just like a (non-partisan) Republican, using all her skill to help the developers and the banks and the dorm builders as they do everything in their considerable power to turn our charming little oasis into a Roswell Road replica.
Oh, but don’t worry. Kelly Girtz is going to deliver us from all that. We’ll be back on track when Kelly is elected, just you wait and see.
Yeah, you wait and see. You wait and see whether the (non-partisan) Republicans have found themselves another stalking horse in Harry Sims. Do the math: the Republican vote, the black vote, the Christian vote. I know Harry is black, but so is Nancy a woman. The (non-partisan) Republicans would prefer a white man in a suit, but winning with a candidate compatible with them is the only thing that counts. It remains to be seen whether young progressives, black and white, have enough energy to end the politics of the past and lead Athens into the present.