As the second Tuesday in November approaches, I recall a story my father often told that related to local and national politics. It involved an old Baptist preacher who often sampled the spirits from his moonshine still hidden near a small creek behind his house on Saturday mornings before traveling to town in the afternoon to rail against the evils of alcohol on street corners before small crowds that urged him on mostly for entertainment. Once, when asked by a bystander if he was a bit tipsy himself, he paused and finally admitted. “Perhaps, but you must do what I say, not what I do.”
For years I thought it was a tongue-in-cheek fabrication until an uncle revealed the name of the preacher and his sons who were boyhood friends with my father.
A vision of the intoxicated preacher invariably comes to mind as I read checkered histories of candidates for offices to be decided this November. Some offerings by the Democratic and Republican parties for the 2022 mid-term elections would be ethically unacceptable for most Georgians of previous generations. Currently I find myself asking the same question I’ve heard from Democrats and Republicans in recent days. Is this the best we can do?
The Senate seat formally occupied by the late great Johnny Isakson is up for grabs, and Democrats and Republicans are spending enough money to operate a third world nation for several years to purchase it. Politically that is understandable; Isakson’s seat could swing control of the Senate to Republicans if Herschel Walker wins or to Democrats if Senator Raphael Warnock repeats.
But the obvious inconsistencies generated by a casual review of both candidates’ histories are sufficient to cause fillings to fall out from gritting one’s teeth. Herschel Walker is one of the best running backs in college football history, and I enjoyed watching him immensely on Saturday afternoons during his shortened career at Georgia. Herschel says he supports the second amendment, law enforcement, the military, and the traditional family, and he portrays himself as a staunch anti-abortion candidate.
Yet he reportedly has fathered several children out of wedlock by different women, and his former wife says he held a gun to her head and threated to blow her brains out. He allegedly encouraged a girlfriend to get an abortion, and she produced a $700 check she says he gave her to pay for that abortion. Their son supports her story. Herschel purportedly threatened to shoot an associate over what was described as a minor disagreement and allegedly threatened shootouts with police. During his debate with Rafael Warnock, he admitted never working as a police officer, but moments later he displayed a law enforcement badge to indicate he had some form of association with law enforcement. Apparently he believes, rightly perhaps, that voters have the attention span of a brick.
During Raphael Warnock’s previous senatorial bid, information circulated that he ran over his wife’s foot with a vehicle in a fit of rage, and now questions are arising about Ebenezer Baptist Church paying him a generous salary in addition to a $7,717.00 monthly housing allowance for his services as senior pastor while evicting residents from the Church owned Columbia Tower at Martin Luther King Village in downtown Atlanta for as little as $28.55 in past due rent. One resident fighting eviction is said to be representing himself because he can’t afford a lawyer.
The Church has a 99 percent ownership of Columbia Tower. Columbia Residential is the business partner of the Church and carries out day-to-day operations. According to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, residents had no idea that Ebenezer Baptist Church owned Columbia Tower. Predictably, media coverage of the issue has been limited.
In the 2020 election, Warnock charged Senator Kelly Loeffler of failing to protect Georgia families because she did not support COVID-19 eviction moratoriums.
For some reason, stubborn visions of the intoxicated preacher bloviating on a small town street corner just won’t go away. Again, is this the best we can do?
In 2016 I wrote sarcastically that my birddog Mike would be a more trustworthy candidate for President and suggested that disgruntled voters should write him in. Some readers said they tried. Perhaps we should consider his grandson, Ike, for the U.S. Senate in 2022. If honesty and integrity were considerations that actually mattered, it would be a landslide.