As we near the Ides of June one thing is perfectly clear. This has already been one crazy, unforgettable year.
In a world where things go virtually viral on social media, a pandemic broke out that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives globally.
Routine daily lives are put on hold, sporting events are canceled, small businesses are endangered to a degree never imagined.
Then, in the midst of a time when people are supposed to stay as far apart from one another as possible, a rogue cop in Minnesota takes a knee on the throat of a suspect in a counterfeit cash investigation, taking the man’s life, which prompts protests, demonstrations, looting and arson in the streets all over the country.
And then, in Georgia at least, there was this election that was fraught with problems.
Wouldn’t it be nice if an election ran smoothly just once!
My issue is that, long before some of the polls, the political finger-pointing was already in high gear. The Democrats jumped on Secretary of State Raffensperger and started slinging arrows of voter suppression. Raffensperger quickly lashed back and tried to put the blame on some of the largely Democratic elections officials in several of the large metro counties for the problems.
C’mon guys, give it a rest.
Do you really believe that one side or the other INTENDED to screw things up so badly. That’s just crazy.
I’m going to invoke the Perfect Storm explanation here.
To begin with, as voters demanded better accountability, Georgia completely changed its method of voting to ensure there was a paper trail in this new electronic age. Accountability is never bad. The change to a new voting system was completely justified, however it was, using 20-20 hindsight, perhaps a bit rushed.
Just about the time most poll workers were starting to train on the new equipment, along comes this coronavirus and everybody goes home for weeks and weeks. Some poll workers, a large percentage of them senior citizens in the high risk for infection demographic, opt out of their service to the community. That leaves fewer workers dealing with new technology they’re not fully trained on — and honestly uncomfortable with, in the event something didn’t go just right and bad things start to happen.
Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady summed up the issues early one as, “Problems, no sir. Annoyances, yes sir.”
Politically biased? No way.
Later in the evening, software issues relative to the reading of the plethora of absentee ballots cropped up locally. Were those politically motivated? You’ve got be kidding!
Our nation has just gone through what amounts to nearly three weeks of demonstrations after a series of insane, let’s call them “law enforcement incidents” that resulted in the death of African Americans. It was like the 1960s all over again. A lot of it was ugly, real ugly. Most of it was peaceful, organized and offered folks an opportunity to express their justified frustrations.
In Rome, a movement ignited to completely remove a statue to Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest that sits in Myrtle Hill Cemetery.
Unquestionably racial issues are still a strong undercurrent across our nation.
I think the political Grand Canyon that exists in our country is equally, if not more, damaging to our nation’s future.
The political chasm, coupled with national media biases that are so obvious, are disgusting to so many of us.
It’s why finger-pointing like we saw before the polls were even closed Tuesday night is so rampant.
What happened to diplomacy, the art of compromise and statesmanship?
I’m going to oversimplify things at this point. To the extent that the wisdom of our founding fathers — a number of them slave owners, by the way — cobbled together a Constitution and Bill of Rights that outlined the freedoms we have to protect and speak our mind, I can’t imagine any of them would have envisioned career politicians living in Washington, D.C., and only returning home to their communities and constituents every other weekend or even less.
Professional politicians? It’s a nasty thought but that’s what has evolved over the decades.
That needs to end.
While I’m on a roll, another aspect of the extreme partisanship that really gets under my skin involves the judicial branch of our government.
I have got to start by saluting Chief Justice John Roberts, an appointee of President George W. Bush, who cast the key vote in upholding Obamacare. That was definitely a vote against the political grain.
Rare, to say the least.
Please do not read the preceding sentences as an endorsement of the Affordable Care Act. It was not.
Isn’t the Constitution the Constitution? How can the Bill of Rights be viewed differently by a Republican leaning judge than a Democratic leaning judge?