Forward into the Past

It looks like my home state of Jawja is going to follow Arizona’s “lead” and is trying to pass legislation that would broadly permit discrimination against gay people:

Wow. This news definitely induces a sense of deja vu for me. When I was a kid growing up in the Atlanta area in the 1960′s there was a well-known noisy segregationist named Lester Maddox. Ol’ Lester was a card. He ran a fried chicken restaurant and used the profits to buy space in the Atlanta Journal to publish his tirades against MLK Jr. civil rights, and the Fed-rul Guv-ment (as he pronounced it). He could play the harmonica and ride a bicycle backwards. His most famous trick, though, was chasing black people out of his restaurant with ax handles. He was governor of Georgia from 1968-1972, and he definitely had entertainment value. He would dash out and lower the state flags to half staff when the Supreme Court made a ruling he disliked. When the novel A Patch of Blue (about a romance between a black man and a blind white woman) came out, Gov. Lester declared it “obscene,” which made it a local bestseller.

Now, over 40 years later, it is looking like Lester would feel right at home in the “new:”Georgia. If the bill becomes law, maybe people will start getting chased out of restaurants again, but this time for being gay, not black. “The more things change…”

About Keith Parsons
  • Jason Thibodeau

    Fortunately I don’t live in Jawja, so I can take no blame for this sorry state of affairs. Unfortunately, I do live in Atlanta so I have to live under the governance of people that Jawjans elect.

    • Keith Parsons


      No kidding! I did not know you were in Atlanta. I still think Atlanta is a great town despite being surrounded by Jawja. I have pretty much the same situation here in Houston. Houston is hot, and flat, and ugly, with bad traffic, but it has great restaurants, music, arts, and museums, and Anise Parker, our mayor, is the first openly-lesbian mayor of a major city. But, alas, the state is such that the ads for politicians basically amount to: “I am the real conservative!” “No! He is an Obama-lover! I am the real conservative!” One candidate, Dan Patrick, who has made his reputation as being rabidly anti-immigrant was recently disclosed (gasp!) to have been kind to an undocumented worker some thirty years ago. Since that revelation he has fervently and repeatedly denied ever treating an undocumented worker decently.

      At some point one stops being outraged and simply marvels.

      • Jason Thibodeau

        I tell people that Atlanta is a great place to live (except maybe when it snows) and it has a lot to offer. But you kind of have to ignore state politics. That can be difficult when, like me, the state writes your paycheck.

        The current race to replace Senator Saxby Chambliss is a great example of Georgia politics. One of the GOP contenders, Rep. Jack Kingston, got attacked by his opponents for saying that it would be irresponsible to just overturn Obamacare without finding some way of replacing it. It is not enough to be for the repeal of Obamacare, which Kingston is. Apparently, for some Georgians, the only acceptable option is to destroy Obamacare and damn the consequences.

        Well, this year the Democrats are trying the nepotism route. Former Sen. Sam Nunn’s daughter, Michelle, is running for Senate and Jimmy Carter’s grandson, Jason, is running for governor.

  • Victor_Reppert

    Apparently Jan Brewer hasn’t signed the AZ bill. I hate having to depend on her, but she has actually done the right thing a time or two. The business community is against it, and if it’s signed it will cost us a Super Bowl.

    • Keith Parsons


      Jan Brewer has about 30 I.Q. points over Georgia’s governor, Nathan “Big” Deal. I hope he will realize that Atlanta’s thriving convention business will drop precipitously if he signs it into law. However, this was the guy who ignored the snow warnings until the city was one huge traffic jam.

  • Eric Sotnak

    I’m not sure how confident I am in the Supreme Court, but perhaps it would be a good thing for one of these bills to end up there? I’d like to say the bills are clearly or obviously not within the appropriate scope of “free exercise”, but I am not always comforted by some of the decisions the Court makes.