Governor Nathan Deal, in his second day in office, continues to deal with a “State of Emergency” that was declared prior to his official swearing in. It’s not what he had planned, and instead of enjoying the efforts of his innaugural committee’s hard work, he’s been mostly having to figure out the logistics of how to get his administration started when legislators couldn’t even get to the Capitol without assistance, and many more state employees either can’t get to work, or can’t get home.
Thus, in his first meeting with the press, Governor Deal said this:
The weather has to cooperate in order for us to do what we really need to do. So I would just urge everyone to make sure they take care of themselves, and that they do not put themselves in a position of danger,”
Which brought quick commentary from Atlanta’s queen of social media and our friend, SpaceyG:
Nathan Deal’s first emergency in office, starting on Day One, included the glaringly un-populist behaviors of: telling Georgians they’re on their own out there in snowed-in conditions, using state office/power to shuttle legislators (only) around in government vehicles (remember, in the emergency we’re under), and not answering any questions from press. What an amazing 48 hours of utterly UN-responsive new leadership in Georgia! Is this going to be a great 4-years around here or what?
While I’ll give her points on the refusal to answer questions (Deal needs to appear comfortable in front of the press), I’m actually glad he didn’t offer any false platitudes that somehow the government can trump mother nature, or provide a false sense of security. The fact is, if we are going to believe in “limited government”, then we have to understand that government has practical limits. It would be nice if we could fund heated streets and vast armadas of salt trucks with ice removal devices, able to cover a metropolitian area larger that most norther states where folks who take mass transit brag about their ability to drive in the snow. The fact of the matter is there is an opportunity cost to spending money on these things that will have little effect just a few days every other year.
Furthermore, Deal asserted that we as individuals first and foremost are responsible for our safety. The GEMA, State Patrol, and GA National Guard folks who stand at the ready to assist are mostly a re-active force when it comes to safety. Government can possibly rescue you after you crash, but its better if everyone understood the physics of a 5,000 pound car crossing ice at 50mph, and concluded that it was best to stay home until the ice melts. Luckily for the first responders and Georgia’s citizens, most are doing just that, and thus, are the most safe.
Let’s hope this relatively off the cuff statement represents the ongoing philosophy of Government from the Deal administration. Government is here to help, but individuals must take appropriate responsibilities for their actions first.