Deal Should Lead

A lot has been made over the last week about Governor Nathan Deal’s refusal to comment on the proposed integrated prom for Wilcox County High School. Students at the school tried, wilcox high school promand successfully, raised money to hold the first integrated prom in school history. The Governor’s spokesperson called Better Georgia’s request for comment on the effort a “silly publicity stunt”.  Finally, on Wednesday, after pressure from national media sources, the governor spoke on the issue. This is what he said:

“None of us condone things that would send the wrong message about where we are with regard to race relations. But by the same token, I think that people understand that some of these are just local issues and private issues, and not something that the state government needs to have its finger involved in.”

Translation: I am not a leader.

Of course the governor should encourage others to do what’s right without an exception for local politics.  That’s like a parent at home watching their child treat another child badly and responding by saying “that’s a child issue”.  Yes we elect politicians to manage government and set public policy, but we also expect them to use their bully pulpit to lead. Governor Deal failed in this instance.

But who is surprised? Certainly not us. This is the same person who called seniors without birth certificates “Ghetto Grandmothers”.  This is the same person who boasted about voting against the Voting Rights Act.  This is also the same person who when asked if President Obama was born in America said “I have no idea where he was born”.

The Governor’s belief on race relations is something only he knows.  In our opinion, each of the examples above says more about his willingness to lead in a diverse state in complex times.  Each statement was made when the Governor was either running, or about to run for Governor in 2010.  He was clearly trying to deliver a positive message to Republican Party primary voters instead of saying what, hopefully, he believes in his heart.

Now three years later, the same thing is happening with the Wilcox County prom. The Governor is obviously concerned about his primary election next year and getting challenged for being too moderate. It’s hard to believe a high school prom became a political football in the first place, but since it did, Deal should lead.


  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    Gov. Deal leads, just not the way you would lead if you were in his place.
    He was correct to stay out of this manufactured tempest in a teapot.
    Why don’t you offer for Governor so you can lead?

  2. You are correct, Burroughston. I would prefer use the bully pulpit to acknowledge and encourage Georgia’s youth when they take action to right the wrongs of the past. At close to 70 years old my best place in politics is on the sidelines. Or maybe on the blog.

    • Burroughston Broch says:

      You are only two years older than Hillary Clinton and she is running again for President. Where’s your spirit of adventure?

  3. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    {{“The Governor is obviously concerned about his primary election next year and getting challenged for being too moderate. It’s hard to believe a high school prom became a political football in the first place, but since it did, Deal should lead.”}}

    …Deal should lead for whom?…

    …The relatively geographically and numerically small blue island of progressives inside of I-285 who currently have very-little, if any, political pull statewide?

    …Or the infinitely much-larger sea of conservatives outside of I-285 who currently overwhelmingly numerically, socially, culturally and financially dominate and control the state’s political scene by way of GOP Primaries where statewide elections are decided these days?

    Of course Governor Deal is concerned about being challenged for being too moderate in an increasingly hard-edged GOP Primary process.

    It is the infinitely much-larger red sea of hard-line conservatives outside of I-285 who control Governor Deal’s political destiny because there are many more of them who actively participate in the state’s political process by way of said GOP Primary process.

    One must keep-in-mind that many of those hard-line conservative voters, who are still somewhat averse to the concept of desegregation and diversity, particularly in some parts of rural South Georgia below the Fall Line, are the voters who are going to be the most-likely to show up to vote in the GOP Primary.

    So, of course Governor Deal is not going to want to do or say too much to ruffle the feathers of those ultraconservative OTP and rural voters who hold his political fate in their hands, especially when prompted by a liberal political outfit like Better Georgia whose has openly admitted that one of primary objectives is to make Republicans look bad while paving the way for Democrats to eventually regain control of the state’s political scene.

    If anything, with the GOP Primary approaching, Deal is more likely to take this political play by Better Georgia and turn it into a way to appeal to the hard-line conservatives whose support he needs to be re-elected by appearing to stand-up to the political bullying of a left-wing organization.

  4. shirley says:

    The students of Wilcox High School aren’t D’s or R’s. They are youth who wanted to have a prom with their friends. Governors, mayors and other elected officials are best when they represent all…in this case, the young people who defied the tradition of separation and divisiveness…who live within the political jurisdiction. This Governor should recognize the aspirations of the students demonstrated their commitment to building a world where character not color or difference is the measure of the person.

    • Burroughston Broch says:

      Shirley, I don’t agree. The Governor was correct when he chose not to intrude.
      The proms are not sponsored or controlled by the Wilcox County Schools; as their website states, “Recently the high school has received some negative publicity for hosting segregated proms, but that is simply not true. The high school does not host a prom at all, and groups of students who host private parties have referred to the parties as their proms. The school system has no influence over private parties, but we are encouraged by recent events.”
      The State has no business intruding into private parties, whether they be in Wilcox County or elsewhere, unless the law is broken. No law was broken in the Wilcox County proms or the prom held in Cordele.