I live in Georgia. The General Assembly is in session. It is our annual celebration of stupidity, ignorance, pandering, baiting, and hate. It is open season on history, the Constitution, science, mutual respect, and common sense. It is a loathsome time. 40 days and $20 billion in public cash. One party, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for some.
This is an election year and our elected officials cannot legally accept campaign contributions while the legislature is in session. The pressure is on in a hurry to protect poor little Georgia from big meanie pants Washington. Blame Obama. Praise Jesus. All hail the NRA and Georgia Carry. Cut taxes, but give give give to bidness.
Now please don’t misunderstand: Many of our leaders are not stupid. They just lead the stupid. To be elected from most places in Georgia, a candidate has to have a Bible in one pocket, one hand on a gun*, the other in another pocket and both feet on the poor. The more outrageous cruelty they can spew, the more electable they become. But it is too early for the fall campaigns.
Let’s just talk about today. Here are examples from just this day’s headlines from our daily newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (the link will take you to subscriptions – yes, I subscribe and encourage you to subscribe). I provided links to the stories, but it is virtually impossible to read the AJC and find the identical stories on their website or app because of updating. One caution on following the links, no matter how many times you sign in as a subscriber, it won’t be enough – just buy the paper.
This bill would make it legal for business owners (corporations are people too so some must be racist, homophobic, misogynistic, nativist, etc. or all of the above) to discriminate based on your religious beliefs. This bill must be intended to appeal to people who are filled with hate for people they have never met. The backers pretend the guv’ment is forcing private businesses to sin by treating everyone equal. Combine this one with stand your ground and it feels just like the old days in Georgia.
This is another one of those bills that is attempting to fix something that has never been a problem. The bill would prevent people who don’t have legal status — but our government says can be here (deferred action) — from getting a driver’s license. This would include those “who were illegally brought here as children, battered spouses, parents with seriously ill children and crime victims who are serving as witnesses.” Another of those, beat-‘em-while-they-are-down bills. Just mean. Nasty. I know that some pink people are afraid of anyone who is able to learn another language or who has traveled internationally. I suppose it just makes the lawmakers feel small and inferior to encounter such people. A shame, really. Why couldn’t the lawmakers just get a lobbyist to pay for a language class or a fact-finding junket?
A bill that was withdrawn because almost all the members of the majority party were embarrassed that they would be voting against something that was perceived as libertarian but also would seem to some voters to help child molesters. The bill was intended to fix a problem with existing law, passed by the same people who were being asked to vote this time, which treats registered sex offenders and those loitering around schools the same.
The idea is simple: make sure there are enough stupid and ignorant voters in Georgia’s future that the party in charge will stay in charge.
This bill would increase from 58 MILLION DOLLARS to 100 MILLION DOLLARS the amount given to people and businesses (corporations are people, too) as tax deductions for scholarships to private schools for rich white kids. Where does Georgia get that kind of money? By taking it from public education. This governor and this legislature have starved Georgia schools, cutting per-student funding by almost 30% in the past five years. Without a good education, you can’t earn a living wage and desperate people equal cheap labor, and that’s good for business, especially Georgia’s private prison and parole industry.
I hate this time of year. It brings out the worst in me. Fits of anger only mollified by the absurdity of it all. Nausea followed by swallowing bile. Laughing at the irony when I can find it, always followed by sadness. Most of all, an overwhelming sense of powerlessness.
* I’ve got no issue with hunters, sports shooters, varmint killers and those trained to safely own and handle firearms. I just don’t know what other people who need all these pistols and automatic weapons are so afraid of or why they so often shoot themselves or family members or leave their loaded guns around for their kids to find after they have passed out drunk in their chairs. And I don’t know why they are so paranoid. We don’t want their guns. We just don’t want their guns used to shoot our kids or other people’s kids or our grandmas or people playing music too loud or people who look different or bathe more often than they do. I don’t even care that they can’t read the Constitution and believe their state militia’s rights to keep and bear arms apply to their small little lives even when the current Supreme Court agrees with them and not me. What’s the big deal? Surely there are enough gun people who are sane and wish to be protected from the gun wackos. Figure this out. Make life safer the old fashion way (and the way the rest of the developed world does) by not carrying unlicensed, unregistered guns around and locking them up when they are not needed to play with to make you feel more important and secure about erectile dysfunction. Or are you just too yellow and chicken to stand up for yourselves? Kidding, please don’t shoot.
Image: Composite image created by Lee Leslie – Georgia State Capital by Connor Cary via Wikipedia.org; Governor Deal’s head from Georgia Southern’s flickr photo stream – both images used creative commons license.