I have a feeling that few of our intrepid public servants under the Gold Dome are familiar with the English scientist Sir Isaac Newton, except that he was the guy that got conked on the head with an apple or maybe the one that invented the cookie with figs in it.
Chances are none have read Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica published way back in 1687 and better known as Newton’s laws of motion. In it, his third law of motion states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
That brings me to the brouhaha that has occurred with the passage of S.B. 202 in the last legislative session, changing the rules on how we will vote in Georgia going forward. Republicans say it was to make the election process more secure. That was the action. I assume they had considered the equal and opposite reaction that was to come. At this point, it has been more than equal.
Opponents of the measure have cowed a host of Georgia-based organizations — Delta Air Lines and the Coca-Cola Company specifically — with all sorts of threats of boycotts if they don’t speak out against the new law, which they claim discourages minorities (read: Democratic supporters) from going to the polls. So far, it seems to be working.
Major League Baseball has moved its All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver. Moviemaker/actor Will Smith announced he would not be filming his latest movie in Georgia, prompting an unimpressed State Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Cobb, to observe, “That will be one less film tax credit we have to pay. I’d say we’ll be money ahead when he leaves.” Zing!
While the actions of opponents of the measure have been long and loud, what about an equal and opposite reaction from supporters of the bill? All I have heard so far is a lot of mumbling and grumbling. Mumbling and grumbling have no impact on a company’s bottom line. It take action.
Democrats, including the President, are referring to the voting rights bill as “Jim Crow 2.0,” inferring it is racist. That very term scares the dickens out of companies who envision picket lines and bullhorns at their doorstep. Republicans badly need to refute the Democrats accusations with an equal and opposite message to these companies but I’m not hearing it.
Is there any effort on the part of supporters to call for a boycott of Coca-Cola to make the point that voting bill proponents also have clout? Anybody going out to Delta’s headquarters and picket? Anybody going to resolve to fly Southwestern instead? If so, nobody has told me.
I don’t think Sir Isaac covered this in his Principia, so let me. (We scientific geniuses must stick together.) There are only two ways to make a political decision — the application of pressure or the absence thereof. In this case, it is the opponents who are applying the pressure and the result is that companies are speaking openly against the new law.
And please don’t tell me Coke and Delta and others are doing this out of some altruistic motive. Remember, Delta even bragged about having helped write the bill before they got blowtorched by the bill’s opponents. It is all about protecting the bottom line.
These are publicly-owned companies with shareholders looking for a satisfactory rate of return on their investment. They are going to sway in whichever direction the strongest political wind is blowing. Right now, Democrats and their allies are applying gale force winds. The companies are guessing that there will be no equal and opposite reaction from supporters of S.B. 202.
In truth, Republicans in Georgia are so busy fighting among themselves and threatening to retaliate against each other over who is responsible for the lost presidential election that they seem to have lost sight of who the real enemy is.
American humorist Will Rogers once said he didn’t belong to an organized party, he was a Democrat. There is no question that given what is going on today, ol’ Will would be a card-carrying Republican.
It will be interesting to see what kind of action, if any, Republicans will take to counteract the Democrats regarding the voting rights bill. They had better do something equal and opposite and do it soon. Right now, they are losing the battle. And don’t say they haven’t been warned. When it comes to politics and physics, Sir Isaac Newton knows what he is talking about. And his fig cookies aren’t too bad, either.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.