On politics, racism, and enlightened debate

I’ve debated saying this, but I feel like I have to. Racism is a term thrown around far too often in the political arena. It is not racist to disagree with someone who has a different color skin. But telling someone to go back where you came from means that they don’t deserve a seat at the table, are less of an American, and has less intrinsic worth. This is inherently racist, to a level I would severely discipline or even fire an employee who made such statements.

The Republican party for years denounced the Democrats lack of holding Sen. Robert Bird accountable for his involvement in the Ku Klux Klan. Why can’t they now do the same thing with the President?

The American republic is never more than one generation from extinction. We are not perfect, but we should require ourselves to strive a little bit more toward perfection every day. That is the only way the, “Empire in many respects the most interesting in the world” will survive.

It is okay to disagree on policies. But disagreement doesn’t mean the other side hates America. They simply have a different view of where the country should be heading. Debate objectives. Debate policies. But if you want this country to survive, rise above personal attacks. They serve no purpose other than to weaken your arguments from enlightened debate to antagonistic mudslinging.

My Letter about Library Funding

I just sent this email to the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners concerning library funding. Be sure to let your elected officials know how you feel. Posting on Facebook is not enough. 

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I grew up in another county, but I jokingly referred to Milledgeville and Baldwin county as “the nearest civilization.” It was the nearest shopping, nearest dining, and the nearest large library. Today as a resident, the behavior I see from the city and county governments is anything but civilized. Mary Vinson library is being held hostage like a human shield in a western shootout.

I understand there is more to the agreement than just library funding. I understand jurisdictional agreements for water delivery are important. But, those issues pale in comparison with the resources the library provides. The Service Delivery Strategy expiration was not an unforeseen circumstance. This is not a surprise to anyone.

What is a surprise is how willing the county is denying its citizens vital resources. The library is not a luxury. It is where children continue learning over the summer. It is where a job seeker can have access to online resources and applications. It is where hobbies are built, relationships are formed, and the community becomes the best it can be. It is where ignorance is destroyed and citizenship is built.

It is not a resource to be used as a pawn in a political game of chess. It is not a sacrifice to make for brinkmanship. It is not a tool to achieve an end.

Fulfill your responsibility and come to an agreement that fully funds the library. You were elected to represent this community and tend to their interests. Ignoring that responsibility will not be tolerated.

—–
Daniel R. Simpson, MPA

So are we purple, or…

We’ve reached the end of election week, and basically everyone is disappointed. Republicans lost the house. Democrats failed to get the Senate. Here in Georgia, Republicans lost seats in both the State House and the State Senate, but maintained control. Meanwhile, there are two statewide seats going to a runoff and the not so simple matter of the governorship.

Yes, THAT race. The one where the Brian Kemp (R) has declared victory and that Stacy Abrams (D) is vowing to take to court to make sure every vote is counted. The one that is less than 13,000 votes from needing a runoff. That’s 0.33% of the vote total. It doesn’t get much closer than that. I’m having flashbacks to Bush v. Gore in 2000.

But the question remains, “Where do we go from here?” I had friends working on both sides. I have concurrently been mocked for being both conservative and liberal. In an era where people are more divided than ever, how do we function in a divided government?

To any elected official who may be reading this… Remember that you were elected to govern. Don’t let good ideas die because they came from the other side of the aisle. Represent your district, not your party. Work together on areas where there is common ground to get needed changes made. Immigration is more than just building a wall. Healthcare is more than the Affordable Care Act. We have rural areas of this state without basic infrastructure like high speed internet which is the key to education, technology, and being able to start a small business. Not to mention hospitals closing throughout the rural areas. I’m lucky to live near a hospital now. But people in the surrounding counties aren’t so lucky. Work to address these issues in a practical, achievable way.  And don’t forget about south Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and everywhere else IN THIS COUNTRY that are struggling to rebuild after major natural disasters.

To my friends who were fired up and working for this election: do not despair if your candidate lost. To the victors, don’t gloat. Your victory means nothing if your candidate makes a fool of themselves in office, or if the government is in worse condition at the end of their term than when they took office. Be an activist. Lobby for your views. Make sure your elected officials (and their staff) know your name. You don’t have to agree with them, but you can still let them know your views in a rational and professional manner.

But even more importantly, do YOUR part to make your community a better place. Volunteer for different projects. Locally, I’ll be happy to put you in touch with different non-profits who would love some extra help. You drove people to the polls? How about driving cancer patients to treatment? Instead of asking people to vote, get a group together and clean up a park on weekend. Don’t leave it to the elected officials. Do your part to make your community better.

We have at least two years of divided government. During that time, let’s start identifying as Georgians and Americans again instead of Republicans and Democrats.