Remember the nursery rhyme of three blind mice? The children’s fable of three little pigs? Perchance, might you recall "The Three Stooges?" If not, evidence suggests that all of them now serve as elected officials.
Worse, when considering the field of candidates in this fall’s general election, it’s obvious that the best of our best have completely opted out. We, the people, find ourselves choosing from the lesser of evils to guide our ship of state. So is it any wonder that the ship is foundering? With the hands of blind mice, pigs and stooges on the wheel, she’s bound to eventually run aground and break up on the rocks.
And just who is it that we put forth as candidates to lead us out of this morass of ineptitude? What charismatic, decent, accomplished and dedicated individuals have arisen from the masses?
Right. Kind of makes you a little sick to your stomach, doesn’t it?
For the sake of discussion, then, let’s consider the three levels of government and those who run, or hope to run, those respective operations. The Federal level is "Big Country," while "Jawjuh" will lead the state. "Newt" will save Newton County’s bacon.
The three issues facing Big Country are war, immigration and the economy, in that order. It irritates my soul, each and every day, that Big Country does not seem to understand America is at war. Daily our men and women go in harm’s way, for freedom’s sake, yet "America’s armed forces are at war; America is at the mall." Are you listening? If, indeed, the will of the people is to win and conclude those wars, then for God’s sake they need to be on the front burner. Yet Big Country shoots baskets with NBA stars at the White House to boost morale for the troops.
How about this: bring ‘em home, stationed along the Mexican border. Fly unmanned drones 24-7-365, apprehend illegals trying to slip across the border, and intercept illegal drug traffic. Inform the government of Mexico to stop drug cartel violence on their own, or for America’s national security we’ll send the Marines to do it for them.
That settles the war and immigration issue. Next, the economy. The greatest period of economic growth in America over the last 60 years was on Ronald Reagan’s watch. Big Country must simply admit it and adopt "trickle down Reagan-omics."
Jawjuh must address unemployment, the housing mess, and water rights. How about this: accept bids from private companies for upkeep of public thoroughfares and facilities, utilizing manual labor only. Interstates, highways, parks — all facilities — would be hand mown or cut with sling blades by tens of thousands of local workers. A one-cent tax on gasoline sales would finance it. Or, better yet, a statewide toll from border to border for use of our portion of interstate highways similar to the way Kansas and Illinois get away with it.
Look at the trickle-down effect of that one little fix. Working people buy houses, and become healthier from manual labor. The downward economic spiral stops and reverses direction, the housing market begins recovery, a healthier populace reduces healthcare costs.
Jawjuh must forcefully explain to Alabama, Florida and Big Country that Lake Lanier is in Georgia. It’s our water. Period.
"Newt" has the toughest job. Effective representation for the county at the state and federal level, taxation issues and operation of the schools, and unemployment are on the plate. For this county to have political clout, the Gerrymandered lines which have sliced and diced Newton County into virtually meaningless pieces of pie must be remedied. Newt must call in all favors, cash in all chips, rally all locals with means to effect their will, and re-establish county representation in Atlanta and Washington.
Until that happens, Newton County will continue as a bedroom community of renters and commuters. Collectively, those folks have little interest in the county’s long-term health. Property taxes will continue upward to pay for schools to babysit kids. Foreclosures will continue to occupy more than 40 pages in the weekly paper.
It’s amazing, considering today’s leadership, that any of our government levels function at all. Big Country blames his predecessor while taxing and spending out the wazoo. Jawjuh becomes either an ousted Democratic retread or a Republican who changed parties for political survival yet has the audacity to suggest that he won’t change his mind when it’s convenient. Newt worries about liquor by the drink as if 100 upscale couples having a margarita with their sushi is going to save our souls or send us all to Hell.
Three blind mice. See how they run. Big Country, Jawjuh and Newt, indeed. The cast of characters from which the electorate has to choose seems more like a remake of "The Three Stooges."
Nat Harwell is a long-time resident of Newton County. His columns appear regularly on Sundays.