Today I read in the AJC that the Georgia State Legislature is considering passing a bill that would honor former U.S. Senator and Georgia governor Zell Miller with a statue on the grounds of the state capital. It appears that state Republicans are pushing this legislation as yet another way to tweak Democrats, as Miller, a conservative Democrat, has been a notable critic of the national Democratic party.
I used to think those that represented us in the state legislature or in Congress were public servants but legislation like this has almost killed my idealism and belief in the concept of a “public servant”. It should be an embarrassment and stain upon the state of Georgia that every year we name a road, intersection, highway, or in some way honor a living, and sometimes still in office, politician.
I can’t go anywhere without seeing something named for a politician. Of course, Georgia isn’t alone in this. In New York you will find an airport named for John F. Kennedy, a road named for Franklin D. Roosevelt, and a road named after Martin Luther King, Jr. To contrast this, Atlanta has roads named after Cynthia McKinney, Jim Tysinger, Tom Murphy, and Matt Towery. Notice the difference?
The difference isn’t that everyone knows the names that I mentioned for New York. The difference is that the former group of names are all dead, while the latter group are all alive. This sends a terrible message to the citizens and taxpayers of the state of Georgia. It says that our politicians seek office to gain power and personal honor rather than to serve the people. This may sound old-fashioned but every year our distrust in government grows and measures like this aren’t helping.
Some of these people I mentioned above, including Zell Miller, may indeed be worthy of long-lasting remembrance and honor for their service. But don’t we owe them, and us, more careful consideration of those we honor?