By Craig Hardegree

Before we go all glory-hallelujah backslapping-happy heaping praise and platitudes on good ole ethically-challenged Georgia Governor “Art-of-The” Deal for vetoing HB 757 which allows faith-based organizations to fire employees or deny service to people whose beliefs or lifestyles violate the organization’s “sincerely held religious beliefs,” don’t lose sight of the fact that he did this solely and purely because Georgia-founded-and-based Coca-Cola and Home Depot and Delta and UPS; and, job-providers Apple and Microsoft and Twitter; and, the economy-pumping film industry all asked him to do it.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that if the people harmed by the legislation didn’t have high-rolling friends, he’d still be listening to holy-rolling conservatives.

Don’t think for a minute that he would have given a flying fiddle stick about the people harmed by the legislation if they had been poor and black with nothing to offer him and no high-wattage voices, instead of being predominantly-white and supported by wealthy white CEOs with the power to affect the economy and a pocket full of lucrative post-governor lobbying positions available.

Don’t forget — in your white-privileged haste to laud and applaud your new hero — there are more than 225,000 black Georgians and 75,000 white Georgians living below the poverty line with no health insurance solely because Governor Deal refused to veto the legislation, passed by the same racist Republicans in the Georgia legislature, that prohibits Georgia from accepting the federal funds for the Expansion of Medicaid that would have provided coverage for these people at little cost to Georgia. Don’t forget about the additional 170,000 Georgians in the “gap” between 100% and 138% of the poverty level, who also have no insurance, due solely to the governor’s refusal to veto white-passed legislation that was driven purely by racist perceptions that ObamaCare “takes money from ‘hard-working’ white folks and gives it to ‘lazy’ blacks.”

It’s easy — even for white liberals — to get distracted from struggles that don’t affect us personally. We simply forget. Until the next police shooting of an unarmed black male. The next abridgement of black voting rights — that we think might affect the chances of a white champion. The next awards’ show slight. The next viral recording of a celebrity using the n-word.

But the fact that we can resume our white-bred lives between national outrages is one of the reasons progress is so slow. And it’s the very definition of “white-privilege.”

We need to do better.

We can’t grow weary in our well-doing.

We have to be ever-vigilant of the fierce urgency of now.

“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of discrimination to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963. March on Washington.

Photo Note: The gorgeous pristine wilderness of Sweetwater Creek State Park 20 minutes from our home where my wife and I go often to walk. It’s the place where highest-grossing-action-heroine-of-all-time Jennifer Lawrence was filmed in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay in 2014 and where Killing Season starring John Travolta and Robert De Niro was filmed in 2013. In 2013, the total economic impact created by the film and television industry in Georgia was $1 billion dollars. By 2014, that number had grown to $5 billion, all of which was at risk without today’s veto.


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