Politics keeps getting weirder by the day. That must be frustrating to the wingnuts on both extremes of the political spectrum who think a middle ground doesn’t exist.
Witness Gov. Brian Kemp. He pushes through the Heartbeat Bill, banishing abortions after six weeks which thrills conservatives and throws the pro-choice crowd into a frenzy. Then he sets about making his appointments to government agencies.
The governor appoints the first Hispanic to serve as a constitutional officer and the first black (and female) as Cobb County’s district attorney. Of the eight Superior Court judges Kemp has selected, five are women and three are black. Roughly 80 appointments he has made since taking office are female and about a fourth of those are minorities. At least three — maybe more — are LGBTQ.
Even Democrats begrudgingly praise the governor for his appointments thus far. I am sure they will hyperventilate if he appoints a white guy to anything.
While some conservatives scratch their heads at Gov. Kemp appointing females, blacks, Hispanics and gays to prominent roles in state government, Weenie World has its own issues.
The bunch of wannabes running for the Democratic nomination for president thought they had found the perfect issue to rein in front-runner and former vice president, Joe Biden. Biden says that as a senator he had worked well with known segregationists like Sen. James Eastland of Mississippi and Georgia’s Herman Talmadge.
Just as the wannabes began their collective wail of condemnation at Biden’s comments, up steps Georgia Congressman John Lewis in his defense. Whoops!
Lewis, whose leadership role in the civil rights struggles of the ’60s is beyond question, said, “During the height of the civil rights movement, we worked with people and got to know people that were members of the Klan, people who opposed us, even people who beat us, arrested us and jailed us. We never gave up on our fellow human beings, and I will not give up on any human being.”
A word about Sen. James Eastland, of Mississippi. When I showed up in Washington in the late ’70s as director of public affairs for AT&T, I thought I was political expert. In fact, I was a neophyte. I learned quickly that politics — and politicians — do make strange bedfellows.
Mr. Eastland was one of the most powerful and respected members of the U.S. Senate. He was a go-to source for new senators of both parties on how that body worked and the arcane ways in which it did.
In the evenings, the senator and a group of his colleagues would gather in his hideaway office in the bowels of the Senate for adult libations and conversations. One of the senators he took under his wing during that time was a prominent young liberal from the Northeast who considered Eastland a mentor. I will leave it to you to figure out the rest.
In the meantime, Junior E. Lee, the general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, and a pest control professional, recently pondered in this space what would be the role of candidate Pete Buttigieg’s male partner should Buttigieg get himself elected president. Would he be first husband? A fair question, Junior thought, but one that engendered the predictable spate of sputtering. Junior doesn’t handle sputtering well. Most pest control professionals don’t.
Junior suggested his critics go waggle their finger at the Rev. Rodric Reid. a black pastor in Buttigieg’s home state of Indiana, who told the Indianapolis Star that the South Bend mayor’s marriage to another man “is going to be an obstacle. That is really still a touchy subject, specifically and especially in the African American church.”
In fact, it was due in part to the strong objections of the African churches that a recent effort to approve gay ministers and gay marriages in the Methodist Church failed.
So, here we have a conservative Republican governor making a lot of non-traditional appointments, a civil rights icon defending the actions of a presidential candidate who worked with segregationists and a black minister showing his political incorrectness by publicly questioning the lifestyle of a gay candidate for president.
If you are a political wingnut, it seems to be getting harder and harder to distinguish your friends from your enemies these days. I mentioned that fact to Junior E. Lee, who was spraying for ticks at Arvel Ridley’s barn. He just grunted. I have a feeling Junior doesn’t care much for political wingnuts. I can’t say that I blame him.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.