Mar. 28, 2005: New Trend in Georgia Politics is Music To My Ears

You may have read about H.B. 244. This Republican-backed bill would require registered voters to show some sort of photo identification before they step into the voting booth. The proposal enraged black legislators. I am with them on this issue. If I had to show poll workers my driver’s license picture, they would fall down laughing and I would be too embarrassed to vote. My photo looks like Forrest Gump with a hangover.

What was interesting is how some of these legislators chose to register their displeasure. The best protest came on Family Day at the Capitol when legislators’ families were supposed to see firsthand what Mommy and Daddy do all day beside scarf down free food. State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, a young firebrand from Cobb County, used the festive occasion to go to the well of the House of Representatives and trash the bill by singing, “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Turn Me Around.” Despite House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s insistence that she stop showboating in front of the visitors, she kept right on singing. Political observers disagree on whether Richardson’s irritation was due to the fact that Morgan had gone past her allotted time or because her singing reminds one of a mortally wounded frog.

Rep. Morgan’s antics have led some in the media to compare her to our Ambassador to Outer Space Cynthia McKinney. (If Morgan’s lawyers are reading this, I think there is a libel suit just waiting to be filed.)

We could be witnessing an exciting new trend in political persuasion: Singing. Why make long-winded speeches? Why waste money on high-priced lobbyists? Why purchase advocacy ads? From now on, if you have a political axe to grind, just sing about it. Can you imagine how successful the flaggers would have been if instead of threatening anybody who disagreed with them, they had gathered at the Capitol, locked arms and sang to the tune of “Camptown Races”:

“We don’t like the new state flag, doo-dah, doo-dah.

And we’re gonna be a constant nag, all the doo-dah day.”

It simply boggles the mind.

Or, what if the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism had formed a glee club and adapted “Georgia on my Mind” to sell the highly-unpopular H.R. 218, which shields details of economic development negotiations from public view:

“Georgia, Georgia, no one needs to know

The deals we must make if Georgia is to grow.”

There is no question that we would have a state-of-the-art toxic waste site up and running at this very moment if the tourism folks could have carried a tune in a bucket.

The Board of Regents is catching a lot of flak these days, thanks to the questionable public behavior of one of its members, along with efforts to hide donor information from the public. The board currently has a favorability rating slightly below that of syndicated newspaper columnists. Perhaps Georgia taxpayers would be more understanding of their high-handed methods if the regents would defend their actions with the help of Georgia Tech’s “Rambling Wreck” fight song:

“We’re in charge of schools, we set the rules,

And a helluva mess we’ve made.

Rah! Rah! Rah!”

And then, there is the dysfunctional City of Atlanta, which couldn’t manage a two-car funeral if you spotted them both vehicles. After much public debate, the Atlanta City Council recently gave firefighters and police officers a 4 percent pay raise, and while everybody was in a warm and fuzzy mood, awarded themselves a 22 percent increase. If there is a public backlash to the group’s self-serving actions — or if anybody in Atlanta even cares anymore, which I doubt — council members can break out in song. Maybe an updated version of “Trees”:

“I think that you shall never see

A better-paid incompetent than me.”

Surely, no one can argue with that.
If the trend of singing our political issues catches on, it will only be a matter of time before I begin furnishing you a weekly sing-along version of this column. Before I can do that, however, I will need to think of something that rhymes with “Liberal Weenie.” Doo-dah. Doo-dah.