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BRIDGES: Images often paint 1,000 negative words
Chris Bridges
Chris Bridges

The actions of Brian Kemp have led to more backlash against the Georgia governor even as he tries to fight for his political life.

Kemp, behind closed and locked doors, signed into a law a bill which changes several aspects of the Georgia voting process. The move has been heralded by some, criticized by most on the left for going too far and even some on the extreme right for not going far enough.

Of course, the irony of all of this is that when Kemp was Georgia’s Secretary of State he was in favor of the aspects of voting in our state which in 2021 he has officially outlawed.

Can we really take Kemp at his word on anything now? During the days and weeks following the 2020 general election, the Georgia governor declared there was not a massive amount of voter fraud as former president Donald Trump claimed.

Kemp stood alongside, figuratively if not literally, current Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in claiming that the vote in our state was in fact legit. Three recounts proved as much. Not liking the outcome of an election does not mean it was rigged.

Of course, the governor was roundly criticized by former President Trump and others on the far right of the GOP.

Apparently now Kemp believes there were issues with how votes were made and signed into law changes which are certainly politically motivated.

Had President Trump won Georgia’s electoral votes in 2020 and if Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue won their respective races, then there would have been no issues with the voting process.

However, there is power in being in charge and in this case being governor. Kemp sees his political future flashing before his eyes. Clearly, he hopes by signing in this piece of legislation it will help him with the far-right wing of the state Republican Party and with those who backed President Trump without question 100% of the time.

It’s laughable really. Kemp is going to have primary opposition in 2022. Already two candidates have declared they are going to challenge the governor and even more high-profile names are all but sure to follow.

Perhaps the most lasting memory of the new voter bill signing was how an African-American elected official was arrested and dragged off by three rather physically imposing Georgia State Patrol officers. Park Cannon was seen knocking on the office door of the governor in an attempt to gain entrance to the closed signing.

Meanwhile inside the governor’s office, Kemp was surrounded by six white male lawmakers as he put pen to paper. 

First, the image of an elected official, regardless of color, being dragged away by state troopers is a horrible image in 2021. The fact the elected official was African-American made the display even worse.

Second, with so many African-American voters in Georgia decrying the bill, it looks completely inappropriate for Kemp to be surrounded by six white males. It is hard to fathom someone on Kemp’s public relations team did not say something to the governor beforehand. Perhaps they did.

It was a throwback to a different era in state politics when state troopers arrested African-American citizens without cause for voicing their opinion. While it is now decades later, images still play a huge role. It was that way in the 1960s when Americans outside the South saw television news footage of what was taking place in their neighboring states.

Had the incident involving Park Cannon only been talked about around the proverbial water color or read about in the newspaper or heard on the radio, it would not have had such a drastic impact. However, to see a female African-American elected official taken away by white state troopers gives the impression that the more things change the more they stay the same.

Make no mistake this voting bill signed into law by Kemp was all about politics. Most Republicans still cannot wrap their mind around the fact that President Biden won the state and that Georgia now has two Democratic US Senators. To them, if that happened then the votes must have been illegal.

This action could easily backfire on Republicans. With Democrats continuing to gain traction in the state, 2022 could be a year where the USS Georgia GOP sinks. This voting bill would be a key reason why.

Chris Bridges is a News correspondent and former sports editor. Email him at