Sep. 2, 2002: A Few Questions Without Ready Answers

Some days I find I have more questions than answers, an admission sure to amaze my friends and confound my enemies.

For example, why did only one in four eligible voters take time to cast their ballots in the September primary in Georgia? This dismal record is nothing new for us. According to Secretary of State Cathy Cox’s office, never in our state’s history have more than 50 percent of eligible citizens participated in an election. There should be a law that says if you don’t vote, you are forbidden to gripe about anything the government does. Violators would be forced to watch all of Jerry Lewis’ old movies. I suspect that some do-gooder from the ACLU would immediately have the law overturned, saying it infringes on our You-Know-Who-given right to thumb our noses at our civic responsibilities.

Why didn’t black preachers in Atlanta like Joseph Lowery and Tim McDonald criticize Rep. Billy McKinney for slandering Jews during his loopy daughter Cynthia’s failed bid for reelection to Congress? They yammered incessantly about former Atlanta Braves John Rocker’s ill-stated comments a couple of years ago, but not a peep from either of them after McKinney’s diatribes. Could it be they condone racial epithets from their own people, but not from others? Do they understand what a disservice they do to the ministry by their hypocrisy? Do they care?

Is Senator Max Cleland’s record so abysmal that ultra-popular Senator Zell Miller has to shill for him? I have seen more of Miller defending Cleland’s record over the past month that I have seen of Cleland. If he has done such a great job in his six years in the Senate, why does Cleland have to send Miller to tell us about it? Will Republican challenger Saxby Chambliss remember to ask Cleland that question?

At a time when Arab nations hold us hostage to their oil, why do American automobile manufacturers insist on producing gas guzzlers like the Cadillac Escalade (12 mpg), the Ford Expedition (12-15 mpg) and the GMC Yukon (12-14 mpg)? And why do we buy them? Whose side are we on?

Remember Adolf Hitler? If not, read up on him. He was a madman who built a fanatical following among the German people. Much of the world, including the United States, spent several years trying to appease Hitler or ignore him. As a result, more than 20 million people lost their lives in World War II. Four hundred thousand were Americans. Today, we have another madman named Saddam Hussein on the loose, and the world is trying to appease him or ignore him. This time the results could be even worse. Do we ever learn anything?

Would Georgia rank last in the country in SAT scores if we kicked the politicians and the lawyers and the social scientists out of the state’s educational system and let teachers teach? As a bonus, why not give teachers the right to tan the fannies of some of the smart-mouthed kids they have to endure? Trying couldn’t hurt. Whatever we are doing now doesn’t seem to be working.

Why are our politicians loath to strengthen the state’s ethics laws, which are among the weakest in the nation? Word among political observers is that House Speaker Tom Murphy won’t support Governor Roy Barnes’ proposal to put some teeth into the law — something the governor should have done four years ago — and give the public the confidence that our elected officials are free of conflicts of interest. Why would Tom Murphy not support ethics reform? Who elected him king? Does he understand that this kind of arrogance further alienates the people of the state from their government and gives us another excuse not to vote? Why doesn’t Murphy retire?

Do we really care that politicians thumb their noses at us? Are we going to let race-mongers like Billy McKinney continue to feed at the public trough? Are we going to keep driving gas-guzzlers and thereby remain hostage to Arab oil? Will we ignore Saddam Hussein, hoping he just goes away? Are we going to demand that our public schools improve? Do we care enough about anything to get off our duff and vote this November?

I’ve got a lot more questions, but my head hurts. I like the world better when I have all the answers. Don’t you?