Cathy Eads, of Atlanta, surveys Georgia’s political landscape. If you would like to submit a post to Clearing the Fog, please contact us here.
Once again, it appears the state of Georgia will be the center of the political campaigning universe in the United States during 2022.
With David Perdue’s entry into the gubernatorial race, the plot thickens. Months ago, when Herschel Walker announced his candidacy as a Republican opponent to Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock, I started writing a post entitled “Run, Herschel, Run (right back to Texas).” Now his campaign is just one ingredient in the Georgia political stew.
I still think it’s unethical for Herschel Walker to “move back” to Georgia two weeks before filing as a candidate to represent the people in a state he left in 2011. Walker also has a history of mental illness and alleged domestic violence. But this is politics, folks. Laws and ethics don’t seem to influence (or apply to) the behavior of many political figures. While some of us may believe it’s unethical, under the Constitution it is perfectly legal for him to run. Of course, University of Georgia football is a religion all its own, so Walker is like a god to many Dawgs fans. Plus, he may get the endorsement of 45, which will garner him much favor with the far-right crowd.
The former president could be a significant problem for Brian Kemp in his campaign for re-election as Governor. If you recall, Kemp refused to help “find votes” to reverse Biden’s win in the Georgia presidential election. Now David Perdue presents a challenge as well. Democrats are quietly celebrating the entry of Perdue, as his candidacy will likely force a Republican run-off election. That makes three Republican gubernatorial candidates, including Big Lie supporter Vernon Jones. I’m sure there are bookies taking bets on who 45 will back: Perdue or Jones? What might he say or do to retaliate against Kemp’s disloyal behavior? Stay tuned for what is bound to be the worst kind of reality TV.
Just a few years ago, the idea that Georgia would elect two Democratic U.S. Senators, and that we were a swing state that could win Democratic control of the Senate, would have been laughable. In many Georgia communities, the Democratic party did not field candidates in local and state legislative races for roughly 20 years.
I have no doubt that voter registration and GOTV efforts for 2022 will be extraordinary. Stacey Abrams, her supporters, and the Fair Fight* organization excel at both. I believe electing Stacey Abrams Governor of Georgia will bring joy, hope, and continued motivation to Democrats, most African Americans, and many women. It will also represent a monumental achievement in a deep south state steeped in racism since colonial times.
Sixteen miles east of Atlanta lies Stone Mountain Park, where the largest bas-relief artwork in the world—featuring three Confederate leaders—was completed in 1972. The 90-foot-tall engraving looms over the patrons of the public park from the façade of Stone Mountain. A portion of funds for the Confederate memorial project came from the federal government’s 1925 issuance of fifty-cent commemorative coins featuring two Confederate generals. (Yes, that’s right. The federal government issued coins to commemorate traitors, and to help fund a monument to them.) The Ku Klux Klan held a revival during a 1915 cross burning atop Stone Mountain. According to an article by Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Joshua Sharpe, the most recent KKK permit request to burn a cross atop Stone Mountain was in August 2017, the same month as the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. That permit was denied.
In 2022, Georgians can elect Stacey Abrams as Governor and choose Renitta Shannon as Lieutenant Governor. Electing two African American women to top leadership in a state with such a sordid history around race and white supremacy will be a colossal achievement. In addition, we can select Georgia State House member, and daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Bee Nguyen as our next Secretary of State. And we can also choose gay State House member Matthew Wilson as our next Insurance Commissioner.
I look forward to the day when electing someone of a particular gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation doesn’t signify a great advancement in our society. Until then, I’ll mark these candidacies and their political wins as monuments—monuments that signify progress for the entire human race.
*Fair Fight works to register voters and protect voting rights across the United States. To learn more or get involved, visit https://fairfight.com/