We are about evenly matched in conservative/liberal tags, some black, some white, one Indian who hates “hyphenated American” tags and that is why he calls himself an “Indian.”
We are a mix and bound by enjoying the company. Feelings are left at the door, coming and going.
An amusing aspect of this coterie of shallow thinkers is how often we switch sides.
This week it ain't so. Everybody is hot and mad and it isn't just us.
The spark that lit up our hair is an in-depth article in the the state's largest daily newspaper regarding the state legislature, lobbyists, gifts and access.
Unfortunately, the paper is rarely seen south of the Georgia gnat-line, that imaginary boundary between middle and south Georgia.
In Georgia there are no limits on gifts to legislators nor a limit on what they may accept.
Legislators offered some well-thought responses but do these people really think they don't “look bought?”
One guy opined that legislators feel they aren't doing anything wrong by accepting sports tickets, dinners and trips from lobbyists and corporations.
“It might be legal but it ain't right. It looks wrong,” said the oldest.
There is no statute against a legislator voting on a law in which he has financial interest. None.
Who decides what is and isn't appropriate behavior for the legislature?
The legislature. They make their own rules.
No law forbids conflict of interest and the legislature is not subject to “open records law.”
According to the article some laws are written by lobbyists, handed to a friendly legislator on a committee and passed on for vote.
Why would a lobbyist go to the trouble if there was no benefit to him or his client?
Once, people were in awe of state government and it operated under a cloak of obfuscation.
The image of dealing in smoke-filled rooms was accurate in the 1950's. Legislative committees met informally in rooms of the old Henry Grady Hotel, then marched down the street under a sea of fedoras to vote in the State Capitol building.
Today the deals are more subtle and receiving gifts, trips, money is legal.
There are two troubling aspects: First, is the question of just who the legislators represent, and second, the issue of “character.”
Receiving a gift as a legislator might not be illegal but it looks wrong.
Lobbyists don't give campaign contributions without wanting something in return.
I think one dollar is a buck too much.
Nothing of value, nothing at all.
Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.