NewsPub Notes

Pete’s Cheat Sheet

My father-in-law used to say, “I’m not trying to tell you how to run your life,” and then he would—and his was always good advice.

There are a few Flagpole readers who over the years have become dependent on guidance from this column on how to vote. They assumed that since I was covering the news I’d have inside knowledge about how to vote. I’m not really covering the news anymore and have lately shied away from offering my opinion on voting. This election, though, is pretty straightforward, so I hazard here a few suggestions, the main one being to vote Democratic. That is always my bent, though I did, under the influence of our friend Bucky Redwine, recommend a Republican candidate for governor years ago, back when such creatures could actually entertain a progressive thought or two.

Taking it from the top, no need to suggest a presidential candidate to you, other than the customary caution: Don’t waste it on the Libertarians. Georgia is in play this year, and Democrats need every vote possible to counteract the endemic voter suppression that will be a thumb on the scale for the other side.

We get to vote for two—count ‘em, two— U.S. senators. Jon Ossof, for sure, against David Perdue, and Raphael Warnock looks like the best choice in the special election, where the Democratic vote will be so split up because of all the Ralph Nader wannabes that Republican Doug Collins and Kelly Loeffler might both make it into a runoff. Warnock is pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and you may have seen him so graciously officiating at the funeral of Congressman John Lewis. It would be one of the greatest political upsets in Georgia history if this fine man could win the Senate seat away from the stone-cold Trump enabler Loeffler and her rival Trumpster Collins.

For public service commissioner, vote for the Democrats. The incumbent Republicans are owned lock, stock and barrel by Georgia Power, and they approve whatever rate hike and cost overrun that utility or any other demands.

In the 9th Congressional District, it’s retired soldier and Democrat Devin Pandy against local gun purveyor and radical-right Republican Andrew Clyde, who is a sure shot to win. Waste your vote for Pandy, just because he’s not Clyde.

For the 10th Congressional District, Democrat Tabitha Johnson-Green doesn’t have much chance against Jody Hice, the congressman from the gated Lake Oconee community who loves Trump much more than he loves Jesus, but vote for her anyway.

State Senate District 46: Democrat Zachary Perry, of course. Bill Cowsert represents the Republicans under the dome, rather than Athens.

State Senate District 47: the Democrat, Dawn Johnson. Republican Frank Ginn doesn’t even remember how to drive into Athens.

This year, if you find yourself in their legislative districts, it is important to vote for Democrats Mokah Jasmine Johnson (District 117) and Jonathan Wallace (District 119). Statewide, Democrats have the longshot possibility of electing a majority in the Georgia House of Representatives, and it would be a real boost if we can send two Democrats from our area. Wallace has been there before and knows his way around. Johnson has a long record of community activism here and would be a breath of fresh air in Atlanta, especially compared to the Kemp/Trump-loving Republican incumbents.

The district attorney race is a little harder choice. Of the two Democrats—Deborah Gonzalez and Brian Patterson—Patterson has long experience under former DA Ken Mauldin. Gonzalez has no prosecuting experience, but she is running as sort of a people’s DA and could bring a whole new perspective to law enforcement here. Vote Gonzalez.

For sheriff, John Q. Williams, the Democrat, is experienced and ready to modernize the sheriff’s department. He gets my vote.

And here’s the good news: For once, the two proposed constitutional amendments and the statewide referendum are all worth a “Yes” vote. No. 1 requires that state fees earmarked for specific purposes, such as car tags supporting wildlife, actually be spent as intended, instead of being siphoned off for other uses. No. 2 allows citizens to get some relief from the courts when the state government acts wrongly against them. The statewide referendum grants property tax relief to organizations like the Athens Land Trust that are building or repairing affordable single-family housing.

We all know this election is above all a referendum on Trumpism and all it means to our nation, our state and our community. Democrats are by no means perfect, but whatever else they are, they are not Republicans, and Republicans at all levels of government have bought into the cult of Donald Trump that has undermined every institution of our government. It’s make or break for America, and that’s why I’m voting Democratic. I hope you are, too. If you’re not, maybe you’d better just stay away from the polls for the sake of your health, and you know better than to vote absentee, because He says it’s crooked.

Make America Great!