(ATLANTA :: 19 July 2010) Tomorrow is election day here in the city of Atlanta and across the state of Georgia. We have been barraged by a litany of ads that tout the conservative cred of our candidates - including a now-infamous slam on Karen Handel’s previous support on “gay-partner” benefits and adoptions. Here’s a sample:
This is a multifaceted political trainwreck in that, since this charge, Handel has renounced any and all progressive values as she seeks the GOP state of Georgia gubernatorial nomination - and the conservative Deal appears to think he can score points with voters here in our state by calling her on it. (He trails in the polls.) John Oxendine, also a GOP candidate in Georgia, tried to outdo Deal by associating himself with a mailer that basically used the same message.
Seriously? You’re so married to your conservatism - and so desperate to win at all costs - that you’d blatantly ignore and foment disgust within a segment of your constituency by maligning support of it?
My problem is that there are NO issues discussed in these mailers - NONE. Zip. Just a fraudulent indictment of someone who bucked her party on progressive issues in the past.
I am an independent voter who can at least appreciate when Roy Barnes, Democratic state candidate, calls out the GOP for its state shenanigans about succession and rejection of stem-cell research.
Get real, Mr. Deal, et. al. If you are to be considered for governor of this state, you must realize that you ALSO are asking to preside over the city of Atlanta, its people and its surrounding environs. The city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia’s relationship has only gotten more adversarial under the leadership of Sonny Perdue, who has thwarted key city funding and development, and even disturbingly lead a prayer in front of the statehouse for rain. I object to those and other of his policies, although there is evidence of a thawing in relations of late.
If I am to swallow your bitter advertising pill, Mr. Deal - and if you make it into office, or even if Handel does - YOU are also required to accept, acknowledge and nurture the moral, civil, cultural and commercial center of this great southern state.
Here’s a hint: it’s NOT the statehouse, nor does it live under the Gold Dome. It’s Atlanta. And we will be voting this season.
Atlanta - cited as the “gayest city in the nation” by the Advocate (a story picked up by the AJC, NPR, and our own ProjectQ Atlanta) - is a national treasure that includes gays and lesbians, Mr. Deal (Miss Karen, I’d pay attention to this, too). Your advertisement is disgusting and offensive, and will hopefully be ineffective as a dual-discriminatation, negative-attack ad.
I’d like to remind you that Atlantans - gay or straight, black or white, liberal or conservative - will continue to speak up and seek the gay-partner spousal rights and gay-adoption benefits you malign in your ad. We will ALWAYS try and speak truth to your pursuit of power, and keep you honest at every point in the process. In other words, the more the state of Georgia tries to marginalize and diminish this great city and its people, the taller we will stand in reminding you not to mess with us.
As an intended gay parent myself, I represent the opinions mentioned in Deal’s ridiculous ad or in Handel’s comments or in Oxendine’s direct-bigot mailer campaign - and I object to all methods AND the content of the argument. They are all, down to their very core, false promises intended to scare people into voting for you. And it’s utter nonsense.
Mr. Deal, Ms. Handel, Mr. Oxendine: I invite you to take 10 minutes to speak to a candidate like Graham Balch - he has a mature and open worldview and an understanding of urban life that seems to be lost on you (and he’s in a tough race of his own). He rejects the status quo. He sees a city and state where EVERYONE thrives, where all people are accepted and encouraged to enter into partnerships and parenthood if they so choose. He is fiercely protective of our environment and wants us to pay teachers fairly and create superb learning environments. He is the Democrat for Georgia State Senate District 39, so feel free to look him up.
This Atlantan will be in the voting booth tomorrow, and I will select those candidates who understand me, my friends and my family, and whomever can celebrate diversity - not use it to malign your opponents. (This post was sent to both the offices of Mr. Deal and Ms. Handel; I will update if I receive any official comment.) (Photo courtesy of 11Alive.com, Atlanta.)