The 2012 Cam­paign starts here

The Covington News - - Opinion - Nat Har­well Colum­nist Nat Har­well is a long­time res­i­dent of Newton County. His col­umns ap­pear reg­u­larly on Sun­days.

I view the gover­nor as ba­si­cally a glo­ri­fied cheer­leader. Yes, there are con­sti­tu­tional reequire­ments. but pri­mar­ily the gover­nor needs to be one who can rec­on­cile dif­fer­ences be­tween parites to get things ac­com­plished...

Ge­or­gia’s re­cent gu­ber­na­to­rial race was a no-win sit­u­a­tion. I pretty much felt that I was choos­ing be­tween the lesser of two evils.

My frus­tra­tion with the is­sue led me to con­tact the of­fice of Ge­or­gia’s Sec­re­tary of State to in­quire if I could declare as a write-in can­di­date for gover­nor. Alas, Sept. 15 was the cut­off date for writein can­di­date no­ti­fi­ca­tion. I missed the boat...

What, you might ask, would drive me to con­sider run­ning for pub­lic of­fice? Af­ter all, I’ve never held any elected pub­lic of­fice in my life. Why, then, would I sud­denly be mo­ti­vated to in­habit the man­sion on At­lanta’s fash­ion­able West Paces Ferry Road?

I think it was be­cause of the neg­a­tive cam­paign­ing, fea­tur­ing both sides sling­ing mud at the other, and each con­tain­ing at least a lit­tle bit of ve­rac­ity. I don’t know if Roy Barnes ac­tu­ally won mil­lions of dol­lars by try­ing law­suits be­fore judges he ap­pointed dur­ing his first stint in the gover­nor’s chair. I don’t know if Nathan Deal was the most cor­rupt mem­ber of the United States Congress.

But I do know that Roy Barnes shafted Ge­or­gia’s teach­ers his first time around, as I was still in the so­cial stud­ies class­room back then. The old adage “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” elim­i­nated any chance of vot­ing for Barnes.

And there was enough smoke ob­scur­ing a clear view of Deal to make me think “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” So I didn’t want to vote for Deal, ei­ther.

I fig­ure what Ge­or­gia re­ally needs in the gover­nor’s of­fice is a per­son who first and fore­most loves this state. Give me some­one who trea­sures ev­ery nu­ance of Ge­or­gia, from the hid­den beauty of Cloud­land Canyon in the north­west across to Brasstown Bald in the north­east, from the Oke­feno­kee Swamp and the Bar­rier Is­lands in the south­east across to Thomasville in the south­west, and ev­ery­where in be­tween. Some­one who re­mem­bers Helen, Ga., when it was just an aban­doned con­crete build­ing over­look­ing the Chat­ta­hoochee River. Some­one who un­der­stands that it’s good for the soul to drive down a dirt road to visit the spot where a creek al­ways runs over it. Some­body who climbs Stone Moun­tain in the dead of win­ter, when it’s just you and the rock and the essence of what the red man had be­fore the Euro­peans came here.

Since dirt roads, red clay and pine trees course through my veins, I fig­ure I’m qual­i­fied on the first count.

Next, I’d re­ally like a gover­nor who is above pol­i­tics. This par­ti­san bick­er­ing has run its course and come full cir­cle to the point where noth­ing much gets done un­less it feath­ers some­body’s nest or scratches the back of them what helped get the gover­nor elected.

That’s got to come to an end, not only on the na­tional level, but on the state and lo­cal lev­els, as well. If a politician is out for his or her own glory, if they view a po­lit­i­cal of­fice as an end in­stead of as a means to serve the peo­ple whom they rep­re­sent, they don’t need to be there.

As one who’s never in his life voted a straight ticket, I fig­ure I’m qual­i­fied on the sec­ond count.

Fi­nally, I view the gover­nor as ba­si­cally a glo­ri­fied cheer­leader. Yes, there are con­sti­tu­tional re­quire­ments. But pri­mar­ily the gover­nor needs to be one who can rec­on­cile dif­fer­ences be­tween par­ties to get things ac­com­plished, ne­go­ti­ate in a con­cil­ia­tory man­ner with other states and Fed­eral agen­cies as to how best to solve a prob­lem (i.e.; it’s our wa­ter in Lake Lanier, not Alabama’s nor Florida’s), and to bal­ance the de­mand for progress with that of leav­ing the coun­try­side in bet­ter shape than it was when in­her­ited.

So I fig­ure I fit the bill on all counts. But, alas, I missed the dead­line for no­ti­fy­ing the Sec­re­tary of State to put me on the bal­lot as a write-in can­di­date for gover­nor. By my own sloven­li­ness at tak­ing ac­tion, I robbed the peo­ple of the largest state east of the Mis­sis­sippi River of an op­por­tu­nity to write-in the name of a per­son whose only mo­ti­va­tion is to serve his na­tive state to the best of his fee­ble abil­ity.

I’ve been kick­ing my­self ever since. And I’ve been ask­ing my­self what I could pos­si­bly do to make amends.

Well, my epiphany has ar­rived. Yes, it’s too late for me to help my na­tive state in the gu­ber­na­to­rial race of 2010, but the Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of 2012 is com­ing. For sure I won’t be vot­ing for the Demo­cratic in­cum­bent, but so far the Repub­li­cans have failed to of­fer any ca­pa­ble, charis­matic al­ter­na­tive.

So I be­lieve, boys and girls, that my hat’s in the ring. God bless you, and God bless our United States of Amer­ica.

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