Today marks the beginning of the legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly. The General Assembly has always convened in the winter months, giving a historic nod to Georgia’s agricultural economy. For me, it seems also appropriate that it sits snugly in the lull between the end of the Christian seasons of Christmas and Easter.
A few weeks ago, I found myself invited to a holiday party of a friend that is located in the town named after Jesus’ birthplace. On this evening, I attended what I have many times before in my hometown area: a live nativity scene. The congregants of the Nativity Lutheran and Bethlehem First United Methodist Churches gathered to tell the story of Jesus in the manger, and naturally there was a crowd of the devout.
The experience this time was different and somehow more poignant to me in a year of so much conflict and anything goes. Continue reading “Legislative Day 1: A Day of Hope?”
I feel I have either recently had an excellent reprisal on history lessons or politics has dwindled to nothing more than reuse and recycle. This idea crystallized for me watching Netflix (the bastion of intellect and high-minded shows that it is). Netflix has The Kennedys on tap right now, and after my binge watching of Mad Men and House of Cards in lieu of watching the Republican debates, this seemed like a natural order of viewing pleasure. The last episode I watched was the one where Kennedy has to send the National Guard down to Ole Miss to allow James Meredith to register for classes that led to a riot that killed two people. Prior to the riot, Governor Barnett stoked the flames of the already burning anger in the crowd by citing their outrage over all the “wrongs” the Kennedy Administration had done them, not disclosing that he and Kennedy had repeatedly been in discussion over the matter in an attempt to prevent the situation becoming a riot. The outrage that Barnett fueled reminded me so much of what’s going on now in politics. Not much has changed since the 1960s: Confederate flags, reproductive rights, belittling of women. The names have changed, but the song remains the same.
In each situation, the outraged party says someone has gone “too far”. I don’t disagree.
Personally, I find outrage to be a poor tool for getting anything actually done policy-wise. I have done my share of marching and angry finger-wagging to be sure, and once I recognized how little the other side listened to this (and how these stunts are used to manipulate the media), I chose a different path. There is a place for passionate discourse in politics- lord knows I have my soap boxes. Yet as soon as the conversation ends, you have no means for a workable solution, only fallout. You have no ability to interact across the aisle without the courtesy of respect for the other side.
But it sure gets you attention, does it not? Take a look at the headlines compiled over the weekend. Continue reading “Faux Outrage: Politics in the Era of Trump”
I am somewhere firmly in the middle.
Growing up in the bustling metropolis of Social Circle, Georgia was idyllic. I grew up on a farm where the gravel meets a road named after a Primitive Baptist Church. My parents believed very deeply in education as a key to my future success, and whereas my clothes and toys may have been limited by budget, my parents never allowed my love of books to be. The problem with rearing me was that I always asked questions and wanted to understand the hows and whys of things. My mother is a spitfire optimist who fiercely believes in the potential of all children, especially her own precocious one. When she hears of something new, she often wishes to try it, much to my father’s consternation. In me this fostered a love of innovation and an innate curiosity about whether a different method might be more effective. My father is a resolute pessimist who enjoys stories of yesteryear, traditions, and the quality of developed ritual. From him my love of folklore, politics, and ambition in business was cultivated. He is the steady; she is wide open. As I have aged, I am a strong representation of both and, like my geographical location, I am caught somewhere in the middle of hope and reluctance. Continue reading “Georgia: Somewhere Between Koinonia and “The City Too Busy To Hate””