Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● The smartest of those on the Left are beginning to recognize that race-based redistricting to protect black incumbents may not be such a swell idea. Why? It tends to drive politicians leftward — and therefore unappealing to the mainstream. That can be a real obstacle to those who run statewide. The 25-year extension of some provisions of the Voting Rights Act pretty much guaranteed another quarter century of racial polarization in covered states, including Georgia. One way to avoid partisan wrangling over “packing” districts would be for the Legislative Black Caucus or the Democratic Party to fix a percentage of minority voters they want in legislative and congressional districts. “Reformers” think the solution is to have “nonpartisans” draw district lines. For the next 25 years, though, that won’t be practical. The reason? Black incumbents, a majority of them Dems, are effectively protected by the feds. White incumbents, a majority Republican, aren’t. Nonpartisanship, thus, would start with protected Democrats and exposed Republicans.
● If, indeed, migrant farm workers are bypassing Georgia, might the conclusion be drawn that those who make that choice lack proper documentation? If so, HB 87 works in the same way that seat-belt laws work. It’s not so much a crackdown that brings compliance. It’s awareness that the law exists and has consequences.
● Memo to politicians, celebrities and other attention-seekers: It really is OK not to share your sexual preferences with us. We aren’t asking.
● Georgia public schools pick up one more family-responsibility obligation: Making certain children are not little fatties. America’s child problem has gone from hunger to obesity. One of these days mothers will be advised simply to deliver newborns to schoolhouses for child-rearing.
● The adult in me knows that the wanderlust of a 97-year-old Atlantan who has tried at least half a dozen times to leave a care-giving daughter’s home and return to her native North Carolina should not be encouraged. But secretly I cheer that with the help of well-intentioned do-gooders and Greyhound, Mary Helen Walker made it 414 miles to Fayetteville, N.C., where she is staying with a friend. “I’m an intelligent person,” she told the AJC. “I finished college. I try to travel like a lady.” Go lady go. Life ends much too soon to leave dreams unfulfilled.
● Headline: “Fulton students still want textbooks.” Demanding little things, these students.
● Georgia needs the same level of oversight of the Student Scholarship Organizations that it exercises over private-sector retailers and service-providers — and beyond that oversight on a case-to-be-made basis. Under the law, couples are allowed to take a state tax credit of up to $2,500 for helping to educate other people’s children. The scholarship’s critics would have more credibility if they weren’t determined to kill the program, which they see as competition for the government school monopoly. Money individuals contribute to the scholarships is not redirected government money. It’s personal money that individuals use to purchase education services that serve the public interest generally, and parents’ interests specifically.
● The secret to selling the transportation tax is to convince voters that they’re getting something that somebody else is paying for. Clayton County discontinued C-Tran bus service when its taxpayers were providing the subsidy. But now, Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell told the AJC, “the most important [project] for the county and the region is bus service for Clayton. It will connect the southern crescent … to the airport, Atlanta and northern arteries.” Lots of projects “make sense” when somebody else is paying.
Jim Wooten, an Opinion columnist, writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His column appears Friday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.