My list of the humor-deficient respondents is impressive in its diversity. It includes flaggers who act as if it is still 1861, loud-talking Yankees expatriates who like to criticize us but wouldn't move back north if you bought them a bus, Baptists who think women in the pulpit is worse than a toe fungus and Catholics who see nothing wrong with denying an innocent child her first communion because she couldn't tolerate wheat. (To the latter issue, an anonymous blogger said he'd bet I wouldn't say this kind of stuff in Baltimore. Well, if you know anybody in Baltimore, tell them what I said and tell them to read Matthew 19:14. While you are at it, tell them that being the birthplace of Nancy Pelosi and Spiro Agnew is like kissing a goat - nothing to brag about.)
I have long considered the Libertarian Party among the humor deprived. Sure enough, after relentlessly twitting Bob Barr's dud of a presidential campaign last year, Jim Serrate, a Cobb County Libertarian and a member of their state executive committee, let me know of his displeasure with my smart-alecky comments. No surprise there.
What was surprising is that Serrate invited me to join him for a cup of coffee (which he bought) and a generous helping of Libertarian philosophy. He turned out to be imbued with a great sense of humor and a noticeable lack of self-importance. Rats.
Say what you will about the Libertarians and their head-in-the-clouds approach to today's issues, but they have a smart political operative in Jim Serrate. The man knows his politics, and he is realistic about the kind of obstacles his party faces in becoming relevant in Georgia.
One thing Republicans and Democrats agree on is that the election process in Georgia is a closed affair and no outsiders are welcomed. The two ruling parties enforce their doctrine by making Libertarians and others compile citizen petitions to secure a place on the Georgia ballot. That's not easy, and it isn't meant to be. Serrate shrugs, "I don't blame them. Why share power if you don't have to?"
Serrate says it is going to take patience for the Libertarians to become a force in the state instead of the butt of jokes from wiseacre columnists. "We are working hard to attract young people to the Libertarian Party. We've got to start at the bottom in local elections and work our way up. We've got to attract people who are discontented with the major political parties and understand there is little difference between them these days."
Jim Serrate is originally from Cuba and has the accent to boot, even after 50 years in the United States. Unlike many Americans, he believes that, if our country is to survive, we must involve ourselves in the political process instead of sitting on the sidelines. He related the story of a former senator from the nation of Colombia who reminded him that, whether we get involved or not, "Politics affects everybody's life every day." He is right as rain.
Serrate has his work cut out for him. He knows that Libertarians are a long way from being a viable political option in Georgia, but that doesn't stop him from trying. "I am not going to quit. I can't sit home and do nothing. I have to try to make life better for my family and for future generations" - even if that includes pushing a political snowball uphill.
Jim Serrate is a rarity: a true believer with a disarming style who makes his case without self-righteous sputtering. I'm just relieved that he isn't a Confederate flag-waving, know-it-all Yankee who is part Baptist and part Catholic. Then, I would be left with nothing to write about except omega-3 whatevers. And bad breath.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com, P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139, or Web site: www.dickyarbrough.com.