A challenge from Better Georgia to Republicans: Fund an integrated Wilcox County prom

Better Georgia’s Seth Clark, via the AJC and Jim Galloway:

On the website of Better Georgia, the progressive group that often acts on behalf of Democrats, Seth Clark has issued what must be viewed as a worthy bipartisan challenge.

He’s asking state lawmakers, the governor and members of Congress to dip into their campaign treasuries to help fund an integrated high school prom in Wilcox County.”

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/political-insider/2013/apr/10/challenge-ga-politicians-help-fund-integrated-seni/

I think is an opportunity for Republicans; a lay-up, if they have the sense to take it.

The Republican Party is casting about — or should be — for ways to convey a sense of solidarity with people of color without seeming to compromise (too much) on conservative principles. Well, unless indifference to obvious segregation and racial intolerance is one of those principles, here’s an easy chance. A few grand for an integrated prom would buy a hell of a lot more goodwill than badly-targeted advertising.

It would also be a shot across the bow at the vestigial southern racism undergirding some of the party and — more to the point — a practical signal to black voters that Republicans are willing to stand up against racism when they see it. Done right, as a full-throated unambiguous rejection of segregation without the ridiculous throat-clearing preamble about “black people can be racists, too!” or “people have a right to associate however they like!” or “if we have a black history month, why not a white history month, too?” stuff, I suggest that this gesture might hold political as well as moral merit.

That said … is there anything in campaign finance rules that would make this kind of donation difficult?

26 comments

  1. Charlie says:

    Here’s my only issue with this. This isn’t about an integrated prom, it’s about Better Georgia.

    We covered the issue last Thursday.

    http://www.peachpundit.com/2013/04/04/segregation-still-alive-in-georgia/

    Much like other issues (Chip Rogers’ Agenda 21 seminar comes to mind), they ignore an issue until they decide they want it covered on their terms, about them, and spam the entire damn twitterverse to make sure it happens their way.

    Sorry, I’m not playing their reindeer games today.

      • Seth Clark says:

        Charlie,

        I wrote the piece Galloway cited. I pitched the piece because I have a relationship with Better Georgia and greatly respect what they do to keep elected officials accountable. If I knew you better, it would have been you. You covered it earlier, Better Georgia covered it today. That is beside the point. The point is, you both covered it and there is ample money in campaign coffers to fund an awesome prom.

        Please help us get the word out and stop the pettiness because that will overtake my original ask. I saw no challenge to politicians in the articles I read and saw way too much mention of the segregation itself and not enough of the students. That was my point.

        As I said in my piece and was stated in the PP piece, these average students are doing extraordinary things and are making history. Nothing should overshadow that whether it be their parents’ intolerance or our political disagreements over a hashtag.

        To our elected officials reading this, you can donate here: https://www.facebook.com/IntegratedProm2013/app_208195102528120

        • Charlie says:

          You lose the point when you take over Twitter and spam every person involved in Georgia Politics and render the #gapol hashtag useless. That’s not about getting the word out, that’s all about “hey look at me!”. And, as you well know, this is a tried and true practice of Better Georgia.

          Spam is spam, no matter what good cause you want to put behind it. And I’m not going to reward spam, no matter how many times you call me petty.

          • Seth Clark says:

            I just fundamentally disagree that using the hashtag and twitter to contact elected officials and those that are part of the GA Political scene to request that they support these kids financially is spam. I’m sorry you feel that way.

            • Charlie says:

              Funny thing, if you’re individually spamming politicians and media (and you are), then you don’t need the hashtag. Unless, of course, you want those tweets to be seen with that politicians name on it by everybody.

              So it’s not really about contacting the politicians, is it?

              Don’t bother answering, as we fundamentally already understand the answer.

    • George Chidi says:

      You may be right. It’s hard not to notice that Better Georgia is earning some free media attention with this challenge, to their benefit.

      But if we’re going to talk about games, I prefer to think about chess. Better Georgia’s gambit is the equivalent of exposing a bishop to capture a pawn. I suggest that Republicans have more to gain than lose, although I understand the reluctance to do so at the prodding of the ideological opposition.

      • Charlie says:

        If you’re going to compare it to chess, then you have to look at the whole board and Better Georgia’s role in executing “the Colorado Project” for 2018 here. That’s all well and good, and it’s up to Republicans to decide if they choose to respond in a way that allows this to work or not.

        What I’m specifically objecting to as someone who spends a ridiculous amount of his spare time covering Georgia politics, writing about issues of the day, and calling attention to bad actors or policies of those in my own party in addition to others, is to have another group decide that something is only news when they decide to cover it (and only then because they see a clear tactical advantage for their POV), then start spamming you demanding you cover something that you already have because it doesn’t count unless you meet their schedule.

        Frankly, it’s rude.

    • Resse says:

      At most school the students raise the money and prom tickets or sold and the cost of the tickets depend on how much money your class has raised. Wilcox “white” prom is a private party not sponsored by the school is my understanding. My child went to this prom and since we are from the merto area I was in shock. Right or wrong it is a private party not held on school property or paid for by school funds.

  2. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    Interesting way to view this.

    However, like most people I saw it on Facebook last week, encouraged them by “Liking” it and shared it around the inter webs, all the same things Better GA is asking us to do today. I’m not sure I understand the friction?

    Sometimes it takes people seeing something a half dozen times before it sinks in or is a “thing”. Like the red and pink equal signs all over FB and Twitter for a week. Ownership of that, or “I was here first” sort of misses the point. I got at least 30 fundraising asks about fighting Prop8 or repealing DOMA.

    I certainly don’t take it personally that for the last 8 years I’ve worked on issues of workplace equality and legal acceptance of same sex couples. So what if someone takes a little credit for getting a few more media hits and perhaps a some online petition signatures. If I believe in the issue, good for them.

    Maybe it’s just you don’t like Better GA’s opportunism? Ok that’s fair.. but seriously is this the issue to pick that fight?

  3. TheEiger says:

    Seems like having one prom would be cheaper. Why do they want money to have a single prom when they are currently paying for two? Doesn’t make since. Just another political trick.

  4. Don Weigel says:

    Sorry, Charlie!

    I did not realize that once Peach Pundit covered something, no one else was allowed to talk about it. I also didn’t realize that you own #gapol and thus feel the need to police it when people you don’t agree with politically use it. My bad!

    However, George Chidi is absolutely correct: this is a lay up for Republicans, or ANY elected official who wants to be on the side equality (and the right side of history).

    Since Democrats are already pretty firmly on the record opposing racism in any form, Republicans stand to gain much, much more by getting behind this effort. Especially Sen. John Crosby and Rep. Buddy Harden who represent the school district in Wilcox County.

    I hope they do step up and show their support for an integrated prom. And if they do I will be right there thanking them, along with every other elected official (regardless of party) who has the courage to do what’s right.

    This is really not a political issue, it’s a civil rights and equality issue. And it’s sad that we can’t all come together on even something as easy as this.

    If conservatives in Georgia follow your lead and refuse to do the right thing because a progressive thought of it first, it won’t take us until 2018 to win all back.

    • Charlie says:

      “I did not realize that once Peach Pundit covered something, no one else was allowed to talk about it.”

      Now you’re just being a douche.

      You can talk about it all you want. I’m not even claiming we were first. (and “we” was Eric the Younger, for the record). It’s the spamming for coverage about you that I’m objecting to. And I think that’s clear, no matter how much you want to spin your behavior.

      • danielenglish says:

        “Now you’re just being a douche.”

        Wow that will teach Don Weigel to think twice about challenging your rant. Where exactly did you learn to respond to people like that from? High school? Why is it that when someone has a valid point conservatives tend to insult the person, gather their toys, and stomp away pouting? I can only estimate that it is due to not having valid points or more so rational points.

    • griftdrift says:

      “And it’s sad that we can’t all come together on even something as easy as this.”

      We have an early front runner for passive aggressive political comment of the year.

  5. Edward Lindsey says:

    If there is one thing I have learned in politics it is that you get a whole more done if you do not care who gets the credit. Wilcox County is where my mother is from and where I spent every summer on my grandfather’s farm. I am proud of these students. Elizabeth and I have contributed to their cause. I ask everyone else on Peach Pundit do the same.

    State Representative Edward Lindsey
    Georgia House Majority Whip

  6. sockpuppet says:

    All right. I will be the huckleberry (reference from the movie Tombstone), be the bad guy and play this card.
    What is the illegitimacy rate for blacks in Wilcox County? For whites?
    What is the crime rate for blacks in Wilcox County? For whites?
    What is the high school dropout rate for blacks in Wilcox County? For whites?
    What are the average SAT/ACT scores for blacks in Wilcox County? For whites?

    If this group was really concerned about a “Better Georgia”, they would roll up their sleeves and get to work on addressing issues like those that matter, and not diverting funds and resources towards extraneous private parties. The sad thing is that a good black studies professor (or civil rights leader) will say that the existence of segregated proms points to the evidence of the existence of institutional racism and structural inequality that CAUSES bad outcomes in the black community like these. You know, having segregated proms demoralizes black people, robs them of their hope and dignity and causes them to perform poorly in school, rob liquor stores and have 4 children by 4 men by age 22. Or at the very least it is evidence of a white supremacy power structure conspiracy in Wilcox County that economically and politically marginalizes blacks and causes those negative outcomes.

    I say let the Democrats – who unlike the GOP (falsely) claims to provide leadership for blacks and represent their interests – be the ones to pass the hat around and go down to Wilcox County to address issues that actually matter to the black population of that region, and let everyone be free to attend (or not attend) whatever private party they want.

    Was that overboard? Well, I have two responses to that.
    1. Quoting Barry Goldwater: in my heart you know I am right
    2. Listen to the Brad Paisley and L.L. Cool J song “Accidental Racist” for some theme music

    And before anyone asks: no, I am not a Republican and no I am not a conservative. It is just that nonsense like this irks me. You have black run school boards in Clayton County and DeKalb County risking the economies and futures of the hundreds of thousands of blacks in their districts and Better Georgia chooses to grandstand on this issue. You have Obama exploiting the Hadiya Pendleton situation to shift the crime issue in Chicago from gangs and the conditions that cause it to gun control knowing full well that A) the gangs will still get their guns and B) even if they didn’t have guns they’d just go back to knifing people.

    Yep. Better Georgia really, truly cares about what is best for black people and aren’t just exploiting blacks for political props. NOT!!!

  7. George Chidi says:

    Lovely. I’ll accept your reply in the spirit I generously assume it was given: the intellectual challenge of defending the indefensible. Eventus stultorum magister.

    Of course there are more important problems to solve, most of which are also much harder to solve. There always will be. I’ll generally be the first one to advocate a focus on the big problems. But it says something about how much effort we’re really willing to exert fixing the big issues when we resist fixing small, easy things, especially when the return on investment is high. This is the equivalent of wiping out the last smallpox cases when you’ve got tubs of vaccine on hand.

    Yes, they’re grandstanding. But they shouldn’t be able to — that’s the point.

    There is a crass, raw, realpolitik calculation that, astonishingly enough, Republicans seem to be completely aware of and simultaneously resisting with exceptional effort — without either an incredible change in demographic trends or a marked increase in nonwhite voters choosing Republicans, the party will cease to be viable nationally and almost certainly will be contested for power at the state level within 10 years. This is an easy way to start fixing that problem.

  8. Jackster says:

    I’m not contributing money to this. Instead, I will voice my opposition to racism and stupid regional / cultural institutions by never ever moving to Wilcox county and pushing for them to be renamed as Hazard county.

    I don’t feel my cred as non racist has been impeded in the slightest by not contributing money to a community who can’t properly institute normal social constructs

    Better Georgia does a decent job sounding the bell on a few issues, but then they usually don’t have much bite (substance or actionable ideas) to bark. Which makes them… annoying. I do enjoy their tin hat moniker, though.

  9. saltycracker says:

    “This isn’t about an integrated prom, it’s about Better Georgia.”
    Charlie

    Time for a story on Better Georgia and guerrilla marketing……

  10. Just FYI – it may be helpful to read their Facebook page…. they’re already met their fundraising goal.

    “We would like to start by saying THANK YOU!!!!! Thank you to each and everyone of you all over the world for your outpouring of LOVE, SUPPORT, COMMITMENT, DONATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS. We would also like to give a very special thank you to MS. HARRIET HOLLIS of the SOUTHWEST GA PROJECT for RACIAL HEALING, of Albany, Ga.. Without them, we never would have gotten to you. Through your generosity, we are happy and overjoyed to say that we have met our goal for our Prom. If you would like to continue donating, the monies will be used for scholarships for the students who have worked tirelessly for this Prom since its inception, as well as, for the future generation of leaders.”

    https://www.facebook.com/IntegratedProm2013

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