It’s no secret that politics is an ugly business. “Politics ain’t bean bag” is a quote old enough to have outlived bean bag or anyone with a memory of it, whatever it was.
When you put your name out there for public office, you know you are putting your entire history on display for public view and ridicule. Because perception is reality, many first time candidates are shocked to learn that even things that were perfectly above board or “normal” can be twisted into a devastating negative.
So imagine if you will you’re a candidate with both an ugly divorce and a serious bout with depression that followed. You know the attacks will come – you’ve experienced this before.
But this is now 2020. The attacks no longer have to come from your opponent. They don’t even have to come from a group that discloses who is behind it. All it takes is a facebook page and a strong desire to dehumanize a candidate.
Having a record in office guarantees attacks from the “anti-establishment” angle. Having the temerity to getting elected makes you part of the problem to a disaffected electorate. If you can just pour some negative personal history on top of that, it’s gas on the fire.
Women, especially Republican women, have a harder time with this. When they do the same things men do as committee chairmen, they don’t get praised for their intestinal fortitude. Instead, they too often get ascribed another “B” word. Simultaneously, their accomplishments are all but disappeared by political media because Republican women don’t fit the current narrative of approved “women’s” issues.
To be clear, I’ve had my issues over policy with Senator Unterman in the past. I’ve criticized her on camera and in print. You can disagree with someone over policy or even practice without having to make them less than human.
My opinion on Senator Unterman changed greatly during a snow storm 3 years ago, when I found myself surprisingly caring for my former Editor and Gwinnett GOP stalwart Jon Richards.
Jon had been admitted to Gwinnett Medical Center for what we now know was terminal cancer. My mother was simultaneously in Piedmont-Newnan Hospital with congestive heart failure. While trying to manage the diagnosis and treatment of both, I found myself snowed in with Mom.
Many people called about helping. Senator Unterman was one of them.
Everyone expressed empathy with the situation. Senator Unterman got out in the middle of a snow event to go physically check on Jon and check up on his ongoing diagnostics.
It was an active, tangible, and very human act. One that I very much needed at that time. One that I still appreciate more than these typed words can convey.
Senator Unterman is very, very human. No name calling from the shadows of the internet are going to change that.
In fact, the attack was most likely a mistake on their part. Because there’s one other thing that her past and countless election cycles later have demonstrated. Renee Unterman is also a survivor.
The full text of Senator Unterman’s response is as follows:
Unterman: “When it comes to mental health, the attacks are no laughing matter.”
Women deserve better than this. Those who’ve struggled with mental health issues and had the courage to speak out deserve better than this. And, yes, Ideserve better than this.
There’s no bar of decency that my opponent and his supporters won’t slither under. This graphic that they’ve put out reflects their depravity; it shows who they are; it tells you what you need to know about their preferred candidate.
I have served my community for decades. I have given voice to our most vulnerable. And I have stood courageously for conservative principles as a Georgia legislator. Throughout that time, I’ve also had my struggles, and I’ve talked openly about those because I know so many others have gone through those same tough times and need to know they’re not alone.
Years ago, I went through a tumultuous, painful divorce. Even though I was trapped in a manipulative, abusive relationship, I — like so many women — tried to keep my family together. The breakup of my marriage destroyed me. I suffered deep depression, an issue that I had faced at different points in my life. There were times when I thought I couldn’t go on, and there were actions that I look back on now and know were desperate cries for help.
Luckily, I was able to get help. Getting back to some sense of normal was a process, not a flip of a switch. But through it all, I continued to serve. I’ve found that helping others contributes greatly to the recovery process.
As I seek to continue my service in Congress, my opponent and his henchmen have mocked this painful history. It hurts me to get dragged through the mud, but it enrages me that anyone in a campaign would stoop so low as to denigrate those with a history of mental illness. It’s that kind of stigma that causes so many to suffer in silence rather than get lifesaving treatment.
Sadly, my strong conservative record has been falsely smeared by more than $600k in attacks by the Club for Growth, the original Never Trump Washington swamp interest group that spent millions trying to take down Donald Trump and Doug Collins. They’re committed to globalism, open borders and mass immigration to drive down the cost of labor. No wonder they don’t want a true conservative like me. Their unlimited dollars may bruise my campaign, but those most vulnerable in our community for whom I fight every day will be the real victims of their fake attacks from Washington. Even though I don’t have the unlimited financial resources they have, I pledge to continue fighting for the families of Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, and keep fighting to ensure you get the best representation in Congress.
It’s laughable to those who know me that the attacks call me a liberal. But twisting someone’s record is part of politics. When it comes to mental health, the attacks are no laughing matter.
We need someone in Washington who can represent us with decency. I stand ready.
Publisher of GeorgiaPol.com
UGA & GSU degrees in Economics
Executive Director for PolicyBEST
Interests are public policy solutions in Education, Science & Medicine, and Transportation that keep GA competitive and a great place to live.