May 22, 2018

There’s a glaring absence in 2018’s campaign chatter

   As I write this, my ballot is cast.  And by the time you read these words, maybe we’ll know how the votes stacked up on May 22.  Even if there are no runoff races, the campaign is just getting into gear for the November showdown.
     How about you? 
     I had a hard time making up my mind in too many races.  I know what the political strategists say: “Attack, attack, attack!”  Those high-dollar advisers preach that negative attack ads are the only way to move the needle in the polls. 
     Maybe I’m the oddball, but mudslinging doesn’t do it for me.
     We’ve heard plenty about guns, gangs, education and illegal immigrants.  Those are hot-button topics, but what we haven’t heard anything about is one of our most valuable assets—Georgia’s natural resources. 
     Aren’t our environment and its protection worth mentioning somewhere in all this campaign chatter?  If a candidate—Democrat or Republican—has promised to take a stand for the environment, I must have snoozed through that pledge. 
     No, I don’t want the government taking my guns.
     Yes, I want our children well-educated and our teachers well-paid.
     Yes, I want to be safe from gang violence.
     Yes, I want Georgia to continue to be the best place in America to do business.
     Jobs—good-paying jobs—are a cure for many social ills.  We want Georgia’s economy to be vibrant and growing.  But hold on right there.  Not all jobs are worth the money or risks if they harm our environment.
     What good is a job if you don’t have safe water to drink or clean air to breathe?
     Shouldn’t we be educating our children about the importance of being responsible stewards of the environment so that our water and air are healthy?
     Do I need to mention toxic coal ash?
     Yes, I do. 
     Because our political leadership has succumbed to industrial pressures to keep Georgia’s regulations too lax on this poisonous waste.  And that’s why other states—such as Florida and the Carolinas—are using Georgia as its dumping grounds.  Right now, convoys of dump trucks are rolling into the Peach State to deposit mountains of toxic coal ash. 
     Georgians should be outraged.
     Our leaders should be ashamed. 
     Score one for the polluters and their lobbyists.