Forward into the Past

Forward into the Past February 25, 2014

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:

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/02/new-bill-georgia-would-allow-businesses-kick-gay-people-out-diners

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…”

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