NewsPub Notes

Athens Only Really Has One State Representative, and That’s Spencer Frye

Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) is for us. The rest of them are against us.

Well, I was going to slip in a snide little column about the small inconveniences still associated with absentee voting, thanks to “our” Republican legislators: Bill Cowsert, Frank Ginn, Marcus Wiedower and Houston Gaines. I put “our” in quotation marks, because these representatives don’t represent Athens, even though we are in their districts. Their districts primarily represent the rural counties surrounding us, and Athens is carefully dismembered so that an insignificant part of us shows up in each of their districts.The truth is that Athens has no representation in the Georgia legislature except for our lone Democrat, Spencer Frye, and of course he is usually outvoted over there by Gaines, Wiedower, Ginn, Cowsert and all their ilk.

The intrepid citizen journalist Lee Becker, in his blog Oconee County Observations, explained recently in a deep dive into the results of the latest Republican reapportionment and an analysis of political contributions just how little of Athens the gang of four represent, and just why they feel free instead of representing us to attack us. Watch for Becker’s analysis in Flagpole next week or soon. It’s worth reading. 

Meanwhile, all hell has broken loose. Donald Trump’s Supreme Court, as expected, has thrown out 50 years of established law and put Cowsert, Ginn, Wiedower and Gaines into the bedrooms and doctors’ offices of all Georgia women. Those guys and their counterparts all over the country now have control over women’s bodies in this state and 20 others. Moreover, Georgia native Justice Clarence Thomas has signaled that Cowsert, Ginn, Wiedower and Gaines can soon go after birth control, same-sex marriage and sex itself. 

And all this is right on the heels of the January 6 Committee showing definitively how three other Republicans narrowly prevented our guys’ leader from taking over the Justice Department and thereby reversing the election that defeated him. Those Justice Department lawyers showed real political courage in the face of all the pressure Trump could bring to bear. Cowsert, Ginn, Wiedower and Gaines just bought into the Big Lie and passed legislation in Georgia to combat the kind of rampant voter fraud their leader was willing to purge the Justice Department to concoct.

They say all politics is local, and for sure all voting is local, and the Jan. 6 hearings also showed just how low Trump went to make up a vicious lie with no proof that two Atlanta elections workers, mother and daughter, were caught cheating. They weren’t. Trump was caught cheating. No election fraud was ever proven in Georgia. Nevertheless, knowing full well that there was no fraud in Georgia, our Republican legislators threw a whole new layer of inconvenience on top of voters and poll workers purely for the intended reason of lessening voter turnout with the aim of suppressing the Democratic vote.

They didn’t suppress mine and Gay’s vote; they just made it a little less convenient. In the big, perfectly honest (fact: proven) Georgia election of 2020, you will recall, that old vote suppressor Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, because of the pandemic, sent out absentee ballots to all Georgia voters, and Georgia voters gratefully used them. 

This time around you had to apply for an absentee ballot, and you had to have a good reason, like being old and/or disabled. If you were old, you would automatically get the ballot for a runoff. If you weren’t old, you had to apply again all over.

Anyway, Gay and I got our ballots, although they were late coming; you know what the Republicans have done to our once-efficient post office. Mail is taking so long now, because of that Trump appointee they can’t get rid of, that I’ve got to quit paying my bills through my bank, because they’re coming in with past-due amounts even though I paid them three weeks ago. So, I was afraid to put the ballots into the mail. Instead, I figured I’d better drive them down to the elections office and put them in the drop box. Of course, I had a hard time finding a place to park and then didn’t have a quarter, and the meter wouldn’t take my credit card, so I had to gamble on a $20 ticket, hoping it was so hot the parking enforcement officers wouldn’t be out there like I was. So, I hoofed it over to the elections office, where in 2020 the drop box was right out front at all hours, and you just, you know, dropped it in. This year, I had to mask up and go into the office, where the box was right inside the door. But, not so fast. First I had to register and then, because I also had Gay’s ballot, I had to fill out a form attesting that I was legally qualified to drop her ballot into the box through being her spouse. 

OK, I know that the problems of two little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, but still, it’s just one more tiny example of how the Republican Party has lost its mind and its soul to a crooked shyster whom they will not repudiate—which Cowsert, Ginn, Wiedower and Gaines could easily do if instead of Watkinsville, Winder, Monroe, Jefferson, Danielsville and Lawrenceville they represented Athens.