Russia, first ladies and Georgia football

Published 8:30 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019

If anyone wonders why we have so little faith in our government and those within it, consider the obsession with the Mueller Report. It is about the only thing the Inside-the-Beltway crowd is talking about these days. Russian collusion. Impeachment. Impact on 2022 elections. Meanwhile, farmers in south Georgia continue to await help from the government after the devastation from Hurricane Michael last October estimated at more than $2.5 billion.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are arguing over how much money to give Puerto Rico. Sadly, that really isn’t the issue. It is all about political gamesmanship. As Gov. Brian Kemp said, “This gridlock exposes the rotten core of some in Congress. They would rather crush an entire industry — destroying the livelihood of countless Americans — than do something that the opposition party wants. This dire situation highlights the brokenness in Washington. We have reached a low point as a nation.” Amen.

You may or may not agree on how Gov. Kemp has managed his first 100 days in office, but there is no arguing that we have us another outstanding first lady. Marty Kemp has hit the ground running with her Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education Commission, a task force of public officials, law enforcement and subject matter experts dedicated to combating human trafficking in Georgia. It is a problem much more serious than many of us are aware. I have disagreed with our previous governors on numerous occasions over the years, but never with their choice of first ladies. They have all been assets to our state. Marty Kemp is the latest in that line.

These are troubling times for the Boy Scouts of America. A lot of states are beginning to adjust their statute-of-limitations laws so that victims of long-ago sexual abuse can sue the organization for damages. Georgia is not one of them. Currently in Georgia, you can sue the abuser but not the organization even if the organization was aware of the abuse. Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee: Chairman Jesse Stone, Waynesboro; Vice Chairman Bill Cowsert, of Athens, William Ligon, of Brunswick, and John Kennedy, Macon — all with direct or indirect ties to the Boy Scouts — blocked an effort to change that in the last session of the General Assembly. But rest assured the issue will be back next session. Be prepared.

Congratulations to my friend Milton “Woody” Woodside, who is retiring as president of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce after more than three decades on the job. The man is an institution in the Golden Isles. Happily, he intends to stay around town. Good for him. Good for the area.

I have gotten a lot of mail about my observations on the special session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church Methodist Church voting to continue its long-standing policy that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

As with many responses I get, some people want to read between the lines as to what they think I was really thinking based on what they are thinking. Let me make it easy for you. I think God loves everybody, even a sinner like me. How’s that?

Every time I read about Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech, Bryant-Denny Stadium at Alabama, Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn or (inhale) Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (exhale), I wonder when we are going to do the right thing and honor Georgia’s Hall of Fame football coach by naming the field at Sanford Stadium, Vince Dooley Field. Thanks to Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Tech man no less, a major impediment has been removed from the Board of Regents. Good riddance. It should have happened long before now. Time for the rest of us who love UGA to get to work on Vince Dooley Field.

Finally, next week will mark my 1,000th syndicated column. That’s roughly three-quarter-of-a-million words spread out over two decades and more misplaced commas than horseflies in a barnyard. Thank you for having been with me through the high spots and the lows.

We have laughed together, cried together and, on occasion, you have rapped my knuckles when you thought I deserved it. (And I probably did.) Going forward, if you are willing to keep reading, I’m willing to keep writing (assuming that is OK with the editors, of course.)

We are, after all, a team.