opposition through inaction?
February 19, 2003 10:02 AM   Subscribe

talking loud, voting on nothing. georgia's new governor is following through on his campaign promise to "let the people speak" regarding the design of our state flag. the flag was last redesigned in 2001 to put to rest a substantial amount of controversy revolving around the inclusion of a confederate battle flag.

this opportunity to voice an opinion will be offered to the populace next spring in the form of a non-binding referendum. and while the results will not result in an official decision either way, the mayor of atlanta has said she will take a strong stance in the matter by "purposely not [voting] either way on the ballot questions."

is doing nothing an effective means of protest? sounds more like a kid on a playground declaring themselves "switzerland" in the middle of a fight.
posted by grabbingsand (13 comments total)
I don't relate Switzerlands neutrality with an elected official not voting on an issue. It is basically her job to take a stance and represent her constituency, but not the "job" of an entire nation to take sides in a conflict. Anyway, don't Georgians have more pressing issues than what flag to fly?
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:25 AM on February 19, 2003

Ever heard of (more inside)?
posted by Raichle at 10:29 AM on February 19, 2003

"Anyway, don't Georgians have more pressing issues than what flag to fly?"

Boy, them's fighten' words. There are few things in Georgia more important than the flag.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:03 AM on February 19, 2003

didn't think my post had enough mass to justify a (more inside), raichle.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:10 AM on February 19, 2003

For reference, I live in Georgia (Atlanta, specifically).

Sonny Perdue, the new governor, is caught between a rock and a hard place. He never made the flag issue the cornerstone of his campaign. In fact, I don't think he expressed an opinion until cornered in a debate, when someone asked him if the flag should be restored. He answered something along the lines of "I think the people should decide."

But now, he can't set up a straight vote, because all of his corporate backers are leaning on him. If the old flag is re-adopted, the NCAA will boycott the state, costing millions in lost revenues. The NAACP will likely follow.

If Perdue doesn't set up a vote, he will likely be booted out of office by the same people that put him there. So now, it looks like he is trying to set up an unbinding, 2-stage vote that will purposely not result in a return to the old flag. Then he can say, "Well I tried my best" to all those rednecks that voted for him, but still keep his corporate owners happy.

As for Mayor Franklin, I find her statement puzzling. I know I'll hit the polls if the vote is held.
posted by toothless joe at 12:51 PM on February 19, 2003

the flag was never a cornerstone of perdue's, but it became a point of rally for several voters. and that did not go unnoticed by his campaign.

During the campaign, Mr. Perdue said he would support a statewide vote on returning to the old flag, two-thirds of which was covered by the Confederate battle emblem. - Augusta Chronicle, 11/7/02

and there is little doubt that the flag was responsible for his solid trouncing of democrat roy barnes.

Mr. Barnes conceded the role of the flag change in his defeat. "The flag did have something to do with it," the Democrat said. "I think it brought out a white rural vote." - Washington Times, 11/7/02
posted by grabbingsand at 2:24 PM on February 19, 2003

Franklin's issue (and that of the SCLU) is not so much whether the referendum should or not be held, but the nature of the questions on the referendum. They are:
Should the flag be changed?
Should the new flag be the pre-1956 flag or the post-1956 flag?
The problem is that both questions MUST be answered to count, BUT the second question is loaded because BOTH flags referenced are confederate battle flags. In effect, this referendum forces blacks to choose one confederate battle emblem or the other. Also, a small but growing grassroots campaign proclaims "Flag? We don't need no stinking flag!"

IMO, anything is better than the current convoluted piece of shit.
posted by mischief at 3:49 PM on February 19, 2003

Why was the flag changed in '56 anyway?
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:12 PM on February 19, 2003

"In early 1955, Atlanta attorney John Sammons Bell (who later served as a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals) suggested a new state flag for Georgia that would incorporate the Confederate Battle Flag. At the 1956 session of the General Assembly, state senators Jefferson Lee Davis and Willis Harden introduced Senate Bill 98 to change the state flag."
A lot of conjecture surrounds the answer to your question, reedjr, but racism sticks out its pointy little head even among the 'conservative' explanations, although just the name 'Jefferson Lee Davis' spells out quite a bit.
posted by mischief at 5:26 PM on February 19, 2003

Yeah, that's what I thought, even though I hoped... ah, who cares what I hoped?
A southern man don't need me around anyhow!
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:48 PM on February 19, 2003

You can hope, but whatever you say about the southern mentality (white or black, left or right, makes no difference), do not include logic as a part of it. ;-P
posted by mischief at 9:39 PM on February 19, 2003

Georgia ought to call the 1956 flag a "throwback flag," charge $200 for a replica of it and everybody will be happy.
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:33 PM on February 19, 2003

I live in GA too, and I have to say toothless joe is right on the money, except that Perdue knew exactly what he was doing by letting the flag become a campaign issue and just didn'd look ahead to see how it would come back to haunt him. The Republicans took advantage of the pro-flag sentiment as just another part of ther "southern strategy".
posted by TedW at 5:31 AM on February 20, 2003

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