This week’s Courier Herald column:
The second last thing I wanted to write a column about this week was the Georgia Guide Stones. The last thing was Kandiss Taylor, a former candidate for Governor in this year’s primary elections as well as a candidate in the 2020 Special Election for U.S. Senate.
If you’re aware of Taylor, you likely follow Republican politics closely or are a fan of late night and cable comedy shows. Her candidacies, often described as “fringe”, were largely grassroots efforts.
Virtually unknown in 2020 and overshadowed and outspent in GOP circles by Senator Kelly Loeffler and Congressman Doug Collins, she was easy to miss in a field of 21 candidates. During her 2022 primary challenge for Governor in a field of five candidates, she was harder to miss but equally hard to take seriously.
In a battle between a popular incumbent and a Donald Trump backed former U.S. Senator, even the best and brightest yet underfunded candidate would be a longshot at best. Mrs. Taylor’s best foot to put forward was an attention getting bus blazing the three bullet point slogan, “ *Jesus *Guns *Babies”.
Taylor didn’t just embrace the stolen election theories of the 2020 elections, but after receiving roughly 3% of the vote in her Gubernatorial primary, she asked her dedicated supporters to sign and return affidavits to prove fraud this time around, too. A video posted after her loss showed Taylor defiantly refusing to concede, citing “cheating”. She was still soliciting affidavits a few days ago via Twitter.
To be clear, Taylor has demonstrated a loyal following of about 40,000 voters. These are the certified number of votes, plus or minus, she got in both her Senate and Gubernatorial races. Forty thousand voters are enough to feed an echo-chamber, but not enough to win a statewide race in Georgia.
The part of Taylor’s platform that remains on her website – much of it now disabled due to YouTube restricting access to embedded channels – is her tenth and final proposed executive order. It was designed to get her significant earned media in the final days of a waning campaign, and it worked, in so far as getting the attention of cable hosts like HBO’s John Oliver.
Taylor pledged “On my first day as Governor of Georgia, I will move to DEMOLISH the demonic plans of our enemy. The Satanic agenda is NOT welcome in our state…watch as I turn the Georgia Guidestones into dust!”. Perhaps “ *Jesus *Guns *Babies” had just been too subtle?
The Guide Stones, located in Northeast Georgia’s Elbert County, have often been called Georgia’s Stonehenge. Commissioned in 1979 by an anonymous benefactor using a pseudonym, the 19-foot-tall slabs of granite from local quarries were designed and erected to use the sun to note a calendar, lunar cycle, and solstices.
Messages were carved in 8 languages, generally believed to be instructions for life when repopulating the earth after an apocalyptic event. Context for the time the stones were built is likely helpful in understanding the message specifically targeting at maintaining a population of under 500,000,000 people. We were at the height of the cold war, with the U.S. and the Soviet Union having a regular stare down.
Defenders of the Guide Stones argue that passage was perhaps a new growth target and cap after a nuclear war, coupled with the second instruction to “guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.” Those hostile to the presence of granite not used for driveways or countertops argue this was a call for eugenics and then generally go on a rant about Satanism.
About 4am on the morning of July 6th, the Guide Stones – then unknown to many Georgians and to most of the rest of the world, were heavily damaged by an explosion. The slabs left standing were later demolished, presumably to avoid a safety hazard from the remains.
Hours after the incident, Taylor tweeted “God is God all by Himself. He can do ANYTHING he wants to do. That includes striking down Satanic Guidestones.” According to video released later in the day by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, God may have not acted by Himself, as someone left the scene in a silver vehicle shortly after the explosion.
What happens from here is yet to be written. Elbert County has lost both a tourist attraction and a literal monument to a relatively obscure industry that remains a great source of pride in the area. Taylor and her supports are not unbowed but emboldened.
The Guide Stones could be replaced or may be gone forever. Taylor, meanwhile, will have all the attention she has been begging for, along with scrutiny that she has earned.