Honoring the Living

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?


  1. drjay says:

    i agree there are too many of these honors for people of little note and they should all be dead before they get a bridge or road or whatever–except in very ltd circumstances…

  2. rugby_fan says:

    The other difference between the NYC honorees and the ATL honorees, is that the ones in NYC did something.

  3. jaybird says:

    why not sell the naming rights to the highest bidder (within certain tasteful limits) and use the money to support transportation

  4. Skeptical says:

    I hope they do put a statue for him up. I promise to throw eggs at it everyday and to TP it on his, mine and just about anyone else’s birthday I can think of.

    It would be one thing if he were actually worthy of such an honor, but he’s not. Now if he’ll just go ahead and die, I might reconsider.

  5. Gag Halfrunt says:

    May I propose a compromise appropriate for a politician whose major claim to fame was speaking at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions?

    The Republicans get to decide whether we erect a statue and the Democrats get to decide what it looks like.

  6. atlantaman says:

    I’m a huge fan of Zell’s, but think this is a really bad idea.

    To Gingrich’s credit I remember right after he was elected Speaker, and everyone was so enamored with him, there was a movement afoot to rename a highway after him – Gingrich turned the honor down stating honors like that should only happen after the politician dies.

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