Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Sick Leave Soliloquy



Well, seeing as I can't do anything else, I might as well blog. It's odd, I really don't remember the last time I was sick. And I'm not very sick at the moment. Just fuzzy-headed enough that I don't need to be driving -- or out in the cold weather. Oh well. Your loss.

I started the day off sleeping in. Something I never do. Then I started in on the internet. (Something I always do.) I so wish I could leave Facebook. But it's almost like saying I wish I could leave reality. I had a good time taking my time on Twitter today. I think I'm missing out a little on the Twitter experience in that internet coverage is so spotty down here. But I learn so much more from my Twitter feed than I do from my Facebook page. Well, at least about the stuff I want to learn about. Remembering somebody's birthday is nice. Seeing vacation pictures is nice. But I could live without the cat videos and most of what normal people consider "fun" about Facebook. Of course, as soon as I find something interesting on Twitter I go share it on Facebook. Sigh.

One of the things that got me fired up today was reading an article from John Cassidy ‏at The New Yorker.

Should the Democrats Give Up on the South?

"In an anguished and pointed column on the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky, the liberal journalist, says the Party should “dump Dixie” and concentrate its electoral efforts on other parts of the country."

Fortunately, Mr. Cassidy didn't sip that Kool-Aid.
"For a number of reasons, I think that would be going much too far. If the Democratic Party wants to be a national party of government, it needs to retain and expand its presence in the South, rather than neglecting it."

I had read Tomasky's article. I'd basically blown it off. But, evidently, others had paid attention. I agree with John Cassidy. They shouldn't have taken Tomasky's article to heart.

(For those that have forgotten, I was drafted into the position of Chairman of the Democratic Party of Pike County, Georgia a couple of years ago. That's sort of like being Jim Bowie at the Alamo. You might get famous but you'll most likely lose.)

When Tomasky talks about writing off Democrats in the South, he's talking about abandoning me. Unsurprisingly, I'm not real keen on the idea. But more to the point, it's stupid. There are smart political operators out there that will tell you it's politically smart. They're being stupid too. There are people down here that are dying for a real Democratic party to show up. Despite what seems to be the common wisdom about the South -- that liberal Democrats will have to soften their message to play in the South -- there are plenty of Southerns that wish the real Democrats would actually show up down here.

For instance, take Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter. Both had name recognition from their daddies. I wasn't real keen on that but, okay, the smart political people said it would play. They both ran away from Obama. Again, the smart money said that was the smart play. How'd that work out? Now, look at it from my perspective -- a somewhat liberal white guy in a very red county. What am I left to deal with? The only Democrat I have to fight for me is a President the rest of you ran away from.

I'm not a smart man. But even I could see it was stupid to run away from our own President. Win, Lose or Draw. It was stupid.



Here's a thought. If you want me to hold onto the Alamo at least let me take a shot at Santa Anna. If I'm going to die defending this place at least make the fight about something more important than a man (or a woman.) How about an important idea? Or a set of ideas? Do you think everybody in the South is against a minimum wage? Do you think everyone working in the new car factories down here is anti-union? More importantly, do you think they'll stay that way after working in an anti-union factory for a few years? Do you think everybody down here is racist?

Or can you grasp the idea that a supposed racist from the South rammed the Civil Rights Act through Congress? Can you grasp the fact that the largest strike ever to occur in America was in the South? Have you forgotten that our greatest Civil Rights leader was a Southerner? Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Is that the South Mr. Tomasky wants to write off?

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Take a look a the trends and the numbers. Check out farming.

Agriculture is still Georgia's largest industry. Farms are less "family" all the time. They're getting bigger. Who might be working these bigger, not-so-family farms (some smart guy, somewhere, might ask)? That's right. Less rednecks and more Hispanics. The internet parlor trick I leaned today was tracking population by counties on Google. Rural county's populations have flatlined in Georgia. Some (like mine) are even shrinking slightly. Try to keep up. The reddest counties in Georgia aren't growing. The bluest ones are.



Fulton and DeKalb are the Democratic base of Atlanta. Bibb County is Macon, GA, one of the mid-size cities in Georgia. All the counties on the bottom are among the reddest in the State -- each voting 80+% Republican in the 2012 (Presidential) election. Everybody that lives in Georgia understands that Atlanta is slowly consuming the State but no Republican wants to see the obvious: The "red" part of the State is withering away. It's only the "blue" parts that are generating growth.

Only stupid people would seriously consider pulling the Democratic Party out of the South. I understand Mr. Tomasky's depression. I live it. I forgive him. And I thank Mr. Cassidy for writing a reality check.

(Helpful tip: Jameson's does NOT make the best hot toddy. And I'm out of B&B. Curses!)

With that subtle segue let me bring you up to date on my life. My term as Party Chairman is ending in a few days. In searching for a political message that will sell in a rural, 80+% Republican county, I came up with the idea of parks. (Thank you Robert Moses/Robert Caro.) Specifically, a photography park. I intend to concentrate on turning that idea into a reality starting January 1st. That does not bode well for my blogging here.

I'll make no promises or close any doors. This blog will remain up and available for the foreseeable future. But I will be moving on. For those that have followed me all these years, I hope you can see the path I have taken. I am so far from where I began, yet the power of ideas still guides me -- even to places unexplored. An insider's belief in the good of government, a 40-year-old book, and a job that nobody wants has led me a unique idea. An idea that I hope will employ some people in good jobs, show citizens how government can work towards the common good and make the world a slightly more beautiful place.

See you around.

Don Brown
December 9, 2014

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