Random thoughts on preachers, politics and Vidalia onions

Published 8:09 pm Thursday, April 19, 2018

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Dr. G. Gil Watson, a.k.a., the World’s Greatest Preacher, up and retired after two decades of trying to save my sorry soul. Not only was he my preacher, he was and is my friend. He did his best to resuscitate me. He just didn’t have a lot to work with.

Just when I thought I was off the hook and was already looking at which commandment to break first  — I was leaning toward bearing false witness to the health benefits of broccoli — in the door walks Dr. Bill Burch. Rats. So much for a respite. He has picked up right where Dr. Gil left off. I just can’t get a break. He, too, can preach up a storm in addition to closely tending to his flock, including this black sheep.

When you hear people talk about term limits for politicians, remind them we already have term limits. They are called elections. As my friend, Kyle Wingfield — recently of the Atlanta newspapers and now president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation — has pointed out, only one in five members of the state House of Representatives have been there more than 15 years. Sixteen members are not seeking re-election. Wingfield noted that in the state Senate, half of the members have served less than five years. In Congress, the median time of service is seven years. The politicians are not the problem.

It is the bureaucracy that needs term limits. They are beyond our reach. 

Speaking of our intrepid public servants, kudos to state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Cobb, for standing up for principle and stepping down as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. A former chairman of the Cobb County school board, he is wise in the ways of the issues facing public education, but he couldn’t and wouldn’t go along with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s state charter school funding proposal, which Tippins says would leave over a half-million Georgia students in 46 school districts receiving less funding than the average charter schools receive, so he resigned his post. Tippins says, “If that bill is reflective of their vision for education in the state of Georgia, they got the wrong person being the committee chairman.” No, Senator, it was the state Senate that got it wrong.

My passion for the University of Georgia is no secret. The place has given me more than I can ever repay. But that doesn’t stop me from trying. I am a proud part of an effort at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication to position the school as a leading resource in crisis communications leadership, through the efforts of Dr. Bryan Reber. More and more, the media is turning to Dr. Reber for his observations on current high-profile issues. Last week, the Wall Street Journal asked for his views on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress. (Dr. Reber wasn’t blown away, although he said it better than that.) An aside to the UGA leadership, staff and faculty: When the next crisis rolls around — as it surely will — don’t forget you have an excellent resource in the family. 

Thank you, Gov. Deal. You may not be the flashiest guy around, but you haven’t embarrassed us like Missouri’s governor, who has admitted to an affair with his hairdresser and a kinky one at that. Now, he faces impeachment (if he hasn’t resigned already). Maybe the guy didn’t have enough to do on his day job. Gov. Deal is a good family man, as have been his predecessors over many years, and we appreciate it. 

Speaking of affairs, isn’t it interesting that the religious right crowd remains strongly supportive of Donald Trump, despite his well-publicized peccadilloes and women’s groups didn’t raise a peep about Bill Clinton’s womanizing before and during his time in the White House? Shame on them both.

Finally, of all the good things our great state has to offer, put Vidalia onions at the top of the list.

Those sweet things are here and ready for your eating enjoyment.

If you are new to Georgia, please know that Vidalias are grown in a 20-county area of our state and nowhere else. Here we sit with the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, “Georgia on My Mind” as our state song and sweet Vidalia onions. Truly, we are a favored people.