Watch out, y’all, it’s getting deep in here. For the past few weeks we politicos have been watching the tennis match between Deal and Carter play out over the court of public opinion. One serves, one returns. The ball girl this time comes in the form of the past head of the Ethics Commission. And, if you’d like to continue the metaphor, the state is playing doubles with Dekalb County’s Commission and their own ethics woes or……maybe with the pissing match between Barr and Loudermilk….or Hice and Collins…. or Perdue and Kingston- all trying to prove to Georgia who is more conservative. You take your pick. We’ll call match next week.
I ain’t impressed with any of the above.
What is left over for Georgia is a disenchantment with the process, disengagement of the voter, and distrust of the elected officials- whomever they may end up being. Interestingly enough, my last interaction with the AG was at a dinner in which he said that political consultants were essentially overpaid and lazy. Protip: Give the average voter something to believe in and they will be so engaged that you won’t need consultants.
No matter who wins any of these races the state of Georgia remains sitting on the cusp of a myriad of possibilities. The leaders who implement these will be the stuff of legends. Georgia misses these lions of our past: Miller, Murphy, Talmadge, Carter, Coverdell, and King. These men were not without faults, but those faults have faded as the historic legacies carry on. So whatever may come of these elections and ethics complaints, I sincerely hope that the newly electeds remember in January that to whom much is given, much is expected.
My suggestions would include:
Strengthening the Ethics Commission: give them more staff and their enforcement teeth and legislate ethics reform that curtails bad legislators, not just questionable lobbyists. Do this, Deal and/or Carter, and you won’t have to mudsling. But then again, maybe this is the biggest challenge: proving to Georgians either of you have ideas worth casting their vote.
Create a third party system for redistricting rather than allowing the party in power to determine district boundaries. Do this, and you’ll see our general elections matter more and our primary fights be less bloody.
Term limits: Institutional knowledge is great, but innovative ideas and idealistic young gun legislators are even better. Watch the Liberty Caucus in the House. I have high hopes for them.
Easier ballot access for Independent candidates. You want better policy and less partisanship, let Independents run and win on their own ideas- not party platforms.
Open up the markets: Crowdfunding is gaining in Georgia, and we need to foster it and all the great new ideas it can fund. Open it up and businesses will move here, and grow here. Years ago, the timber industry adopted the phrase, “Georgia, we grow trees”- I want to see it be, “Georgia, we grow business”.
Get local: Every Georgia town has history and every Georgia street has potential. Make setting up a business in local jurisdictions a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and make our Secretary of State the one-stop shop for businesses to set up statewide.
I know it’s challenging, but Georgia is worth it. It takes courage, sweat, and devotion. And a lot of times it takes letting others get the credit for your actions. But those actions speak your principles and your truth louder than any scandal or famous last name.
Don’t let mudslinging be your legacy. You’re all better men than that, and now, it’s your serve.
So there was a fire inside me. And that fire inside you, it can be turned into a negative form or a positive form. And I gradually realised that I had this fire and that it had to be used in a positive way. ~John Newcombe