A conservative North Georgia newspaper describes how Gov. Perdue and House Speaker Richaradson are engaging in a Raping of the Good People of Georgia.
Rape of the People
The temptation is to say that Democrats are getting what they deserve.
After all, for the more than a century that they controlled the Georgia General Assembly they didn't really acknowledge Republicans as partners or contributors in running the state. They generally banished them to the back benches.
In that light, given that "to the winner belong the spoils" and "winner takes all," it is not surprising that the GOP's new procedural rules, particularly in the House, would be a heavy dose of "turnabout is fair play."
Unfortunately, the GOP appears even more inclined to exact its ounce of flesh than the Democrats were and, in its exuberance, has done a better job of carving that flesh out of the voters than the opposition party.
Perhaps the House Republicans won't actually use their new, draconian style of governing. Perhaps the procedural changes are designed to be something more akin to a "warning shot" -- especially to those within Republican ranks who might be more moderate and progressive than the Neanderthal-inclined present leadership.
After all, with the Republicans in full and total control of everything, and now holding majorities not only on the floor but in every committee, why would the new House speaker, Glenn Richardson of Dallas, feel that he needs the power to boot any member off any committee at any time, send in wild-card extra voters to any committee on the verge of rebelling, and change any piece of legislation without going through an amendment or floor debate process?
Frankly, those injured by this new way to run a railroad -- with Richardson as the engineer and Gov. Sonny Perdue as the conductor and no brakeman aboard -- are the people of Georgia and particularly those represented by either Democrats or middle-of-the-road Republicans. They have been totally disenfranchised. Their power to rule themselves has been violated -- raped.
In Floyd County, for example, the folks in the City of Rome and the southern, western and most of the northern unincorporated area now likely have no effective representation in the General Assembly. Their interests will mainly go nowhere; likely no legislation offered on their behalf will be considered. Worse, there will likely be no debate or discussion permitted, no objections to the Richardson/Perdue steamroller allowed. Only in the Senate, where the lieutenant governor is constitutionally empowered as presiding officer and is a Democrat, might those of that persuasion even be allowed to speak.
The American invention of representative democracy, sometimes described as having created some of the greatest debating societies in the world, has been outlawed in the Georgia House.
When the House minority leader, DuBose Porter of Dublin, started asking questions about how the new GOP House rules would work, Richardson cut him off. When other Democrats sought to seek information, Richardson would not even recognize them.
Let's be plain here: No state legislature in this country is presently run as Richardson has made it clear he will run Georgia's. No speaker in this country has anywhere near this absolute and dictatorial authority. None. Not even close.
When Democrats controlled the House under the near-perpetual leadership of Tom Murphy of Bremen, the speaker was notorious for running the show with an iron hand -- and loudly and continual criticized in this space for doing so. However, Murphy, for all his faults, was a believer in the democratic process and the give-and-take -- and sometimes even compromise -- of hashing things out. Murphy was sometimes outmaneuvered, even from time to time successfully rebelled against by the people's representatives. In other words, he didn't always get his way.
Apparently Richardson has decided that this actually made Murphy a weak-kneed wimp.
In their years on "the outside looking in," the state's Republicans perpetually yammered about how the process had to be inclusive, how the minority had to be given a seat at the table by the majority.
Now, with House Republicans as the "insiders" they appear to instantly have proven that this was just political propaganda and not part of their core beliefs.
The proof yet remains to be shown in how this particular pudding is cooked in coming days. Nonetheless, even those who previously supported the current new regime and agree with its legislative intentions, have serious reason to pause and wonder what they -- and all of us -- have gotten themselves into.
Even when one wants government and society to change course, the way to do it is not to spin the wheel hard right and then smash the steering system.
The concerns raised by the new House leadership and its methods are far more fundamental than party politics and transcend them. There appears cause to worry whether not only Democrats' viewpoints but also those of anyone else not a "yes man" to the present rulers will even be allowed.
Georgia has not so much fallen into the hands of "right-wing extremists" as it has under the sway of those with mentalities very much akin to totalitarian dictators. If this bunch acts on the threats to freedom implied in this new handbook on how the people's business is to be conducted, the Republicans may shortly learn that they can be made the minority party again for another century.
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican to win a national election, said that. Georgia Republicans would be wise to heed him instead of imitating Fidel Castro.
What a powerful piece of quality jounalism!
On page three of my Web site I have Pres. Lincoln's full quote that may well prove to be the case this time with this political overreaching and demonstration of lack of trust of fellow GOP members.
President Lincoln's complete observation that is indeed ageless:
"If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."