This week, Ga. conservatives pushing for discrimination in the name of religion and a reckless new law that would legalize guns on campus faced stinging criticism from an unlikely source. The editorial board at The Gainesville Times, a conservative newspaper in Gov. Deal’s home town, delivered the takedown in their thoughtful editorial, “Legislature obsessed with prayers and pistols.”
“Conservative,” they write, “means to act with caution and discretion, to think things through carefully before jumping into massive changes. Funny how the meaning of that word has changed, and is embraced by many politicians who can’t wait to increase government’s power and influence over those it serves. Big government is bad, it seems, unless you’re in it.”
Throughout The Gainesville Times piece, the writers call out the Georgia’s right-wing lawmakers for their hypocrisy. Our conservative legislature is fighting to make it legal for a 21-year-old student to take a gun into classrooms, libraries and campus day cares, despite strong opposition from university presidents, professors, students, parents and police.
Meanwhile, the same legislature is blocking a bill that would provide safe medical marijuana access to children and adults suffering from seizure disorders and other serious diseases, despite support from 85 percent of Georgia voters. Lawmakers’ reason for blocking the bill? “Safety concerns.”
The Times editorial is a reminder of just how far those on the far-right have swung and how out of touch they’ve become. It’s also a reminder that not all conservatives are extremists. But until Georgians become more engaged in the political process and start voting in every, single election, low voter turnout will continue to propel politicians who kowtow to the radical fringe rather than representing the will of the sensible majority.