An Open Letter to Georgia Democrats

We need to talk. It’s time to wake up. You need to get out there on the field and look alive.

You’ve been struggling for some time. The tables starting turning in favor of Republicans back in 2002 and they now have a choke hold on the state house, the state senate, and the Governor’s office. And every Constitutional office in the state, both U.S. Senate seats, and 10 of the 14 Congressional seats.

That stinks for Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, and anyone who does not fit the cookie cutter Republican mold. We see so much criticism on the federal level when a single party has control over two chambers and a Presidency. There is fear of steamrolling and disenfranchisement, but that does not happen on the state level -at least not here in Georgia. It is time we talk about the Democrats in the state legislature.

First, what on EARTH are you doing?

That is a real question. There is no fight, Democrats do not challenge hardly anything, and there often is not even an attempt to speak out. I am convinced some of you disconnected the wiring of your NO button on your voting machine. House Democrats, especially, are refusing to use their platform as an opportunity to push their ideals or philosophy. You basically occupy an office to provide constituent services.

In 2016, as a Party, you stood against religious freedom legislation, legalizing fireworks, and campus carry.

You supported the Opportunity School District legislation, which was the Governor’s initiative and the dissolution of a watchdog agency for judges. You sat back as bill after bill included mandatory minimum sentences and increased the traffic to private probation companies. Aren’t you supposed to be for justice reform?

State representatives voted 914 times (minus 40 attendance votes) in the House during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions. Only 29 times was a voting block of Democrats represented with NO votes or any type of initiative as a party. 29 times Democrats disagreed with Republicans. That’s 0.0331. Or 3.3%

So, are Republican policies so terrible that even the Democrats love them or are Georgia Democrats so terrible that they love Republican policies?

It is one of the two.

Over in the Senate, Democrats are at least trying. The numbers aren’t even close to “favorable,” but there is a continued effort to propose amendments from the floor and vote NO on issues on which they disagree. You can see a Party, a philosophical difference, a distinguished set of principles. When I watch the Senate, I know who believes what.

But I know House Republicans (that’s plural) who have cast more NO votes in the last few years than you House Democrats.

I’ve heard the argument that Democrats have to play along in the Republican-controlled chambers if they want any of their bills to pass, but I’ve been watching pretty closely for the last five years and I can think of very few bills that have passed. None of them are hard hitting enough to have a true effect on the state.

Don’t get me wrong – I do not want your policies governing my state. At least not all of them. I am a recovering former Republican that now leans libertarian. I hate political parties as much as the Founders, but if we are going to have them, shouldn’t they at least be different?

I see the value in policies from both sides and I see a benefit in having Democrats keep Republicans in check. I see a value in a policy debate that has two sides. This is not a radical concept.

Tell us when something is wrong, tell us why, tell us how you think it should be. Even if some of us do not agree with you, at least we know you have an opinion on the issue any issue.

There is certainly legislation on which the two parties agree. Cannabis oil, infrastructure, pay raises for police officers…and those are all important issues. It is good for state progress when the two can work together. But I just cannot grasp so 99% of the bills passing with no dissent from your Party. You all have the ability to annihilate some bills that hit the Floor, and, at a minimum, have an influence on the discussion. You seem to have forgotten that there are Republicans who would stand beside you in some NO votes. You could resist if you wanted to.

So, what are you so afraid of? Districts are so gerrymandered that you probably do not have to worry about a Republican running against you and even if one did, the Georgia GOP is so broke, resources would not flow all that freely. No one will pull funding from your district because it would make it nearly impossible for even a right-leaning moderate to run sometime in the future. So, again, what are you so afraid of?

More importantly, what do you tell your district of constituents? Right now, it is hard to tell if you are even present, let alone awake. We all see one Party, not two.

So, are Republicans passing liberal policies that you just cannot resist or are Georgia Democrats so terrible that they just continuously vote with Republicans?


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