Today my hat is off to Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown of Macon
Hours before Cagle announced that he would back a statement of regret for Georgia’s role in slavery, Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown of Macon took the well to defend the author of S.B. 283, the bill to have April declared Confederate history month.
Brown, who is African-American, gave an eight-minute defense of state Sen. Jeff Mullis, a Republican who hails from Chickamauga — the site of the battlefield.
Mullis’ bill had become the subject of strong comments, essentially for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Republican leaders had rejected calls for an apology for slavery, saying they were too focused on the future.
Then came Mullis’ bill. A version of it has been an annual ritual in the Legislature for years. This time, it didn’t look so harmless.
“I don’t want to get into the content of the bill, talking about the issue itself. The thing that I’m concerned about is the tenor and the tone of the debate that seems to be evolving,” Brown said.
Brown spoke up for Mullis’ character . . . .
“I think we have an obligation to be candid in our debate. I think we have to be above-board,” Brown said. “But I think we do ourselves, both individually and collectively, a disservice when we unnecessarily impune the character of an individual because we disagree with what they may be proposing.”
We caught up with Brown later Monday. And asked if he was trying to tamp down the hot talk so that the statement of regret could be worked out. He scoffed.
Brown said he didn’t want anything to do with a statement of apology for slavery. It wasn’t worth a moment of his time. But he said he’d heard Mullis called a racist. That was wrong, he said.