To Our Governor-Elect
As this was written before the results of Tuesday’s election were known, I’m addressing this to both candidates. Most applies to both contenders, in one way or another.
To the Honorable next Governor of Georgia: congratulations on winning a hard-fought election to the highest office in our State. Your campaign appealed to barely half of the people who voted, so my first challenge: you must find ways to unify us. You must reach out to the other half who not only didn’t vote for you, but was encouraged by media and campaigners alike to consider you worse than the Anti-Christ.
Mr. Kemp, your first steps in Atlanta shouldn’t be to the governor’s mansion; you need to walk through neighborhoods like Sweet Auburn and actually talk to the folks who live there and worship at Ebenezer Baptist. Leave your advisors in the limo and just listen. Next week, go to downtown Edison or Sparta and show them there’s room for all in your administration.
Ms. Abrams, you were AWOL in southeast Georgia during the campaign. Dare to stand in a cornfield and meet with people who choose to farm and love doing it. Sit in a duck blind or eat a wild game meal and see not all gun owners are crazy fanatics. Prove to those you ignored or demonized over the last year that you truly mean all are welcome.
Your campaigns looked at Georgians using a different arrow of time. Brian, not everyone understands or cares about southern traditions, they came here for better jobs and a cheaper cost of living. Stacey, even as you push the future, understand those whose ancestors lie in sanctified ground honor their memory. You both need to accept that not every White person is from a slave-owning family, nor can every African-American claim slave heritage. Asian and Latino newcomers have their own history and traditions that are leaving marks in many towns across the State.
You cannot bankrupt the State with your campaign promises. Our relatively low taxes and pro-business climate has brought us out of recession faster than many states, even as our school funding lags. Be careful with the budget!
Finally, park your party credentials at the mansion door. The Democrats presided over the worst of the Jim Crow times; current Republicans have sounded pretty bigoted themselves. Prove to us you can govern all of us.
To Our Governor-Elect