Tag Archives: Warnock

Georgia On My Mind

Not the famous song written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell in 1930, made a hit by Ray Charles in 1960 and by Willie Nelson. No, I’m thinking, and profoundly troubled, by the Senate race in Georgia that will be decided in a few days. The choices for Georgia voters are Rev. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker. Remarkably, even for these times, if you believe in poll data, the race is a practical dead heat. How is this possible, Georgia?

Walker’s “biography” on his campaign website is comprised of 530 total words, of which 319, or 60 percent, are related to athletics achievements. As great as those may be, they are not qualifications for serving as one of 100 in the United States Senate, considered by some as one of the great deliberative bodies in the world of politics. In an apparent effort to beef up his resume, Walker also notes that he “performed in the Fort Worth Ballet [one time], competed on The Apprentice, and won the Celebrity Cook-Off on the Food Network.” All of those are the gimmicky stunts of celebrities but provide nothing in qualifications for dealing with the serious business of a U.S. Senator. It is astonishing that a serious candidate for the U.S. Senate would offer such nonsense to prove his worth.

If Walker and Warnock share any other experiences, it is that both were raised in difficult circumstances in the backwaters of Georgia. But there the similarities end. Walker’s bio says little about his childhood, but he makes much of the fact that he suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) due to childhood traumas. This condition is described by the Cleveland Clinic this way:

People with DID have two or more separate identities. These personalities control their behavior at different times. Each identity has its own personal history, traits, likes and dislikes. DID can lead to gaps in memory and hallucinations (believing something is real when it isn’t).

Dissociative identity disorder used to be called multiple personality disorder or split personality disorder.  [https://cle.clinic/3fyU7uw]

People afflicted with this disorder are certainly worthy of empathy and support, but whether they should serve in the Senate is another matter. Walker claims to have written a book about his life with DID, but it seems certain that the real writing was done by the others listed as co-authors of the book. Listening to Walker speak suggests he is incapable of writing the often-sophisticated text in Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder. [Note: I have only read excerpts from the book] It is admirable, if true, that Walker has devoted part of his adult life to helping others suffering with DID, but that is a slim reed on which to build a Senate-qualifying resume.

Some people may be offended by the idea that Walker’s mental health issues should be held against him in his quest for high political office. But those people would surely agree, I hope, that a person afflicted with, say, pathological lying disorder (see https://bit.ly/3DB1DNB; see also Donald J. Trump) should not be a U.S. Senator. But DID is far from the only issue with Hershel Walker so let’s not get too distracted (I am not referring to allegations related to abortions and related issues – I don’t know what the evidence shows and don’t consider it particularly relevant. The multiple lies/misrepresentations about achievements in his past are relevant, however, and very troubling).

Rev. Warnock grew up with a large family in public housing, had a mother who picked cotton and tobacco in the summer, yet managed to graduate from Morehouse College, earn a PhD and be ordained in the ministry. His brief biography notes that “For over 16 years, Senator Warnock has served as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is the youngest pastor selected to serve in that leadership role at the historic church.”

I have heard Warnock and can affirm that he is a gifted speaker, a man of serious thoughts and competent intellect. He was elected to the United States Senate in the January 5, 2021, in a special election runoff for the term ending January 3, 2023, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Johnny Isakson, a seat previously held by appointed (and disgraced) Senator Kelly Loeffler.

Senator Warnock serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, as well as the Special Committee on Aging and the Joint Economic Committee. In his short time in the Senate, Warnock has sponsored this legislation:

            Affordable Electric Vehicles for America Act of 2022

            Housing Market Transparency Act

            Rent Relief Act of 2022

            Building More Housing for Servicemembers Act

            Increasing Home Ownership for Servicemembers Act

            Capping Drug Costs for Seniors Act of 2022

            Affordable Insulin Now Act

            Farm to Base Food Security Act

Capping Prescription Costs Act of 2021

Improving Care for Veterans Act

Preventing Election Subversion Act of 2021

And many others.

Among the other stark differences with Walker, Warnock has experience in government. Walker has none, at any level. Walker was a gifted athlete, for sure. He has capitalized on his popularity as well as he can. Fine. Good for him. But can you imagine, after listening to him, that he could command the intellectual horsepower to deal with the array of complex legislative issues that Warnock has faced in his multiple committee assignments?

The question for Georgians is whether there is a remote possibility that Walker can function effectively in the cauldron that the Senate has become. Not a scintilla of evidence, suggests that he can. He will be manipulated by the Republican leadership that will see him as a willing supplicant for attention. He will embarrass himself and fail to represent Georgia in any meaningful way.

Worse yet, he will be unable to understand the complexity and seriousness of the issues that the Senate routinely faces. Anyone who has spent time, as I have, interacting with members of the Senate on complex legislative issues will know that this is no place for Herschel Walker. He cannot be successful for Georgia, and he cannot be successful for the United States. Senators, of course, represent their states, but they also bear allegiance to the country as a whole. Whatever Herschel Walker’s talents may be, he is completely unqualified to meet the challenges of being a U.S. Senator.

And, yes, I am aware that there are plenty of limited intellects serving in the Senate now. How will the United States be made better by adding another?

If you live in Georgia and haven’t voted yet, or have friends or family there who haven’t voted, you owe it to yourself and your country to vote on election day for the plainly superior candidate, the sitting Senator, Rev. Raphael Warnock. The fate of American democracy hangs on a precipice. Don’t contribute to its fall by electing Herschel Walker to the Senate.

Acceptable Losses – How Many?

Acceptable Losses — a military euphemism for casualties or destruction inflicted by the enemy that are considered minor or tolerable.

That is where we are. Supported by the money from the National Rifle Association, the Republican Party has decided that the losses of hundreds of children at the hands of gun-wielding men with grievances is acceptable. It has happened again – this time in Texas. So far, 19 dead children and two dead teachers. So far.

This year – 27 school shootings. https://n.pr/3MPgqaS But it’s only May. Plenty of time to slaughter more kids. Thoughts and prayers. The NRA/Republican Party mantra – thoughts and prayers – but our guns, come and take ‘em. Just try. Nineteen dead children – acceptable losses.

The Gun Violence Archive, an independent data collection organization, has counted 212 mass shootings that have occurred so far this year…. It defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people were shot or killed, excluding the shooter.

Data on the mass shootings that have occurred so far this year can be found here.

The U.S. ended 2021 with 693 mass shootings, per the Gun Violence Archive. The year before saw 611. And 2019 had 417.

That’s the trend. A few weeks ago, another shooter killed ten people in a supermarket. The most “civilized/advanced country in the world,” we like to say, has more mass shootings, more children slaughtered by guns than any other country in the entire world.

How many would be enough? One hundred? A thousand? Think of it. A thousand dead children at the hands of angry men with guns. Would that be enough to move Republicans to moral action? How many? When do acceptable losses become unacceptable? Five thousand?

The ritualistic political reactions have, of course, already begun. Republican politicians holding press conferences, tweeting “thoughts and prayers.” I wonder what those “thoughts” actually are. And “prayers?  They comfort some people, I suppose. I wonder, though, if politicians’ prayers will comfort a parent or sibling devastated by yet another preventable massacre. It all seems just like ritual at this point.

Angry kid buys guns and slaughters helpless children in school. Police and others rush to the scene, usually killing the gunman. It’s always a gun man. But it’s always too late. The dead kids pile up and the Republican politicians head for the microphones to repeat the ritual. Thoughts and prayers. But no action.

I read now that Democratic political leaders are going to try yet again to negotiate some gun law improvements, anything at all that Republicans might accept. https://wapo.st/3NEE3CH But the past is almost certainly prologue. There is no reason at all to think Republican politicians will agree to anything meaningful. And if that’s true, the only point is to show the public, yet again, who the politicians are that resist all efforts to stop the massacres. Will it matter?

Consider that Republicans in Georgia have renominated Marjorie Taylor Greene to occupy a seat in the House of Representatives. The same one who embraced QAnon conspiracy theories and now said about the Texas massacre that the solution is to “embrace God.” Ritual. She really means, do nothing. Pray for help that will not come.

Consider that Republican voters in Georgia nominated Herschel Walker, a former football player, to occupy one of the 100 Senate seats. Walker seems to have trouble stringing two coherent sentences together. Republicans want him to represent them in the Senate, where he will be expected to think about and vote on complex budget and international policy issues, among many other subjects about which he has zero experience and likely even less knowledge.

Walker is running to displace the sitting Senator Raphael Warnock. Reverend Warnock grew up in public housing in Savannah. His mother grew up in Waycross where she spent summers picking tobacco and cotton. The Senator graduated from Morehouse College, earned a PhD, and was ordained in the ministry. For over 15 years, Senator Warnock has served as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is an exceptional orator and the youngest pastor selected to serve in that leadership role at the historic church.

Consider that multiple leading Republican politicians are going to attend the National Rifle Association conference in Houston this weekend. There they will engage in the ritual obeisance to the God of Guns and Ammo that funnels campaign contributions to willing recipients completely ready to do vote for the NRA’s agenda: keep the guns and to Hell with the children.

Yes, the ritual will go on. And on. Until the American public finally says: ENOUGH! There is no reason to think we’re there now. I would, of course, love to be wrong about that, but the rational part of my mind says, don’t be a fool. Republican politicians across the country have continued to embrace Donald Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election. Republican voters for the most part are fine with the fantasy. Is there any reason to think such people are going to care about a bunch of children they don’t know? Not very likely.

So, what to do? Complaining isn’t going to change anything. Only voting will. Along with many others, I have continued to note that “we” outnumber “them” by a substantial margin. Yet the future of the country literally depends on an issue on which the nation’s record is far from reassuring. It’s all about turnout. Will enough people who understand what is at stake actually vote in the next elections? Or will the Republicans regain control of one or both Houses of Congress and end, once and for all, any chance of protecting and advancing democracy in America? That is literally what is at stake. Because as sure as you are reading this, nothing is going to change until the supporters of violence against children are removed from office. Nothing.

Democrats could, of course, accomplish a lot by removing the filibuster. But they won’t. They’re apparently concerned about what would happen if Republicans get control of Congress. But if Republicans get control (more than they already have now), they will exercise their power mercilessly. It’s time to act while action is possible.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Democracy is under challenge around the globe. It will not save itself. Imagine what your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren will be like under a Republican managed government. Imagine.