The closing days of the Georgia legislative session are always a little frenetic. Yesterday was no exception, as the Moral Monday protesters were out in force, hoping to convince legislators and the governor to expand Medicaid to more people, as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act.
The AJC has the details on the protests, which included a sit-in at the governor’s office and loud protests in the galleries of the House and Senate. Depending on which media source you read, between 39 and 41 were arrested as a result of Tuesday’s protests, the ninth time this session the group as made an appearance.
The New York Times took notice of the protests as well, wondering how effective the Moral Monday movement could be in a GOP dominated south. From their story:
“We are at the beginning of a new Southern strategy,” says Tim Franzen, 36, the lead organizer behind Moral Monday Georgia. “The changes we need to make in Georgia to transform the state are going to take years. But with the changing demographics of the South, our victory is inevitable. This train has left the station.”
If so, it may be a long, hard trip. While some supporters see a movement in its early stages, others, even many who are sympathetic, see an exercise in futility on the wrong side of the state’s political and cultural divide.
“The South belongs to the right wing,” says Ray Strother, 73, who has managed dozens of prominent political campaigns for Democrats across the South. “Moral Monday was just born out of frustration. It is a desperate battle for political relevance.”
The group’s efforts on Tuesday had no effect, as legislators passed bills to halt implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Georgia, and to move responsibility for deciding to expand Medicaid from the Governor to the legislature.
According to the Huffington Post, Moral Monday organizer Tim Franzen is considering whether Moral Monday will participate in more civil disobedience at Thursday’s last day of the session.