Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

That's exceptional, Georgia

That's exceptional, Georgia

 

While Sarah Palin makes her case for the presidency based on American exceptionalism, the ruling party of lawmakers in the U.S. state of Georgia (not to be confused with the Central Asian nation when John McCain is a citizen) has decided it wants to be exceptional FROM America:

In an apparent nod to state sovereignty, Senate Republicans will require members of their chamber to recite the pledge of allegiance to the state flag of Georgia every morning they gather – after a daily devotional and a pledge to the U.S. flag.

Nothing inherently wrong with that, although a Georgia House member explains it as a plea for a version of states' rights - the same battle cry that rallied the Southern segregationists of the 1950s and 1960s:

Afterwards, in the House, state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Cobb County) has led a small group of GOP lawmakers in a wildcat recitation of the Georgia pledge:

“I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.”

This afternoon, Franklin said the Senate was highly appropriate, “given the usurpations of Washington.”

The Georgia Senate move happened last week -- I just learned of it today in an email from Ray McBerry, a failed candidate for governor of Georgia earlier this year. I'm on his list because in researching my book "The Backlash," I spent a day in Atlanta at a "Tenth Amendment Summit" led by McBerry, which focused on ways the states can defy Washington's authority and featured speakers from the John Birch Society as well as two key founders, including McBerry himself, of a group called The League of the South. That's a neo-Confederate outfit that worships the antebellum South, before the "yoke of federal tyranny," as McBerry likes to call it, that arrived coincidentally at the same time as the end of slavery. (After the Tenth Amendment Summit, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that America peaked in 1850, or 13 years before the Emancipation Proclamation._

In the email, League of the South leader McBerry makes it clear he's thrilled by what the Georgia Senate is up to:

We applaud the stand taken this week by our state senators here in Georgia...Many of your leadership team here at Georgia First have still been hard at work promoting the cause of States' Rights even after our loss in the gubernatorial primary.

By the way, the Georgia flag that the lawmakers will be pledging allegiance to (pictured at top) is based upon the original flag of the Confederacy, the so-called "Stars and Bars" flag. Lest you think that's some ancient thing, the current flag dates way back to...2003, when Georgia, under pressure, had dropped its circa 1956 flag that included the better known -- and thus more offensive to many people -- Confederate battle flag. That is what I would call incremental progress, but then Neil Young did tell us that "Southern change gonna come at last"...

Ironically, not long after I received McBerry's crowing email, I saw that another former leader of The League of the South has apparently been elected as a state lawmaker in Arkansas. (By the way, the 10th Amendment Summit I attended along with the Birchers and League of the South-ers was moderated by a paid staffer to the U.S. congressman that I also profiled in "The Backlash," Paul Broun of Georgia, who later on the House floor spoke of "the Great War of Yankee Aggression."

What I don't get is why the states' rights movement is gaining steam now, at the dawn of the Age of Boehner. Does this mean that the Georgia lawmakers will pledge massive resistance to the repeal of "Obamacare," lower taxes for gazillionaires, and all the other "usurpations" we can now expect from our new insect overlords in Washington?

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Will Bunch
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