One of the most interesting aspects of the Muscogee County Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Gala is the diversity of the attendees. You’d expect a lot of African-Americans, whites, Hispanics, and Asian Americans to be there. The Democratic Party prides itself on its big tent. But, there were also some very prominent Republicans in the audience.
No doubt some were there because a friend of their’s was being honored. I had one tell me that he and his wife were there because retired Columbus attorney and state legislator Milton Jones was one of the Democrats honored for his service to his communty, state, and country. I am on a friendly basis with every Republican I saw there.
This was a Democratic Party event, but it was also a community event. More than three hundred people paid $50-a-plate to attend. The party did raise some money, but not as much as you might think. The Columbus Convention and Trade Center ain’t cheap.
While those Republicans in attendance stood with everyone else to applaud keynote speaker and civil rights icon U.S. 5th Congressional District Rep. John Lewis, they did also have to endure some partisan talks, the best of which was made by my cousin Carol Porter who is running for Lt. Governor. She is a very articulate and forceful speaker.
The problem for her is that she was only speaking to three-hundred people, people – with the possible exception of some of the Republicans there – who are going to support her anyway. To get elected, she needs for hundreds of thousands of people to hear her message. Roy Barnes is getting to those hundreds of thousands because he has raised the money to do it. And some of that money came, no doubt, from some Republicans.
I think it’s generally agreed that CEOs of most businesses are Republicans, but it is a well-known fact that some give to both sides. They want whoever wins to pick up the phone when they call. There is a very good chance that Roy Barnes will win.
One definition of power is that it is the ability to do favors. I suppose the corollary to that would be the ability to do harm. Governors can do both.
And so can Lieutenant Governors. Maybe Carol Porter will benefit from those who hedge their bets by giving to both sides. With very little media coverage, she is running close to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the polls. If she can get her message across to enough voters, she can win.
The point is that some Republicans do support some Democrats and visa versa. And the point is that a lot of folks in Columbus, including me, are friends with a lot of people who identify with different parties. They also come together to get important things done for the community. It would be great if our representatives in Washington and Atlanta would follow the Columbus example. The meanness of spirit and polarization that is permeating our Capitols and our country is not good for America.
Yes, it is time for the country to return to civility and sanity. It is time for political leaders to put their country first instead of their party. It is hard to do when some powerful media personalities use hatred and fear to line their pockets with millions of dollars. But, it has to be done, or this great nation stands to lose its greatness.