Opinion Columns & Blogs

Too much, too little, too bad

wmarshall@macon.com

Remember the movie, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” starring Clint Eastwood? Well, this is “Too Much, Too Little and Too Bad,” and it deals with subjects just about as complicated and more important than the Eastwood movie. You read it, and you decide. It’s unfortunate that we can’t just write an ending to what’s happening in our country the way the producers did in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Too much. Leadership has, historically, been predicated on the leadership privilege being based in part on either the leader knowing more than the followers or at least the followers thinking that the leader knew more.

Let me give examples. When I was a youngster growing up in Perry, I remember three local political leaders who earned the mantle of leadership exactly because the followers felt they knew more — and many citizens looked up to them to give direction.

Mr. Sam Nunn, Sr., a highly respected local attorney, “voted” many Perryans at each and every election. Folks knew that “Mr. Sam” knew the politicians and knew what was happening politically, so they wanted his advice as to how they should vote. I suspect that most seeking advice voted like Mr. Sam recommended.

Likewise as to Mrs. Ruby Hodges. “Miss Ruby” was a forceful lady, and many ladies in Perry contacted Miss Ruby to find out how they should vote. She had no hesitancy in expressing her opinion, and I’m sure the inquiring always voted as instructed. Thankfully, she was always a supporter of mine, and I worked to keep it that way.

Bottom line: Mr. Sam and “Miss” Ruby voted lots of folks in Perry. And then there was Mrs. Sara Kezar in Elko. Not only did she tell voters how they should vote, but she also handled the poll in Elko. She was a political ally of mine, and a good one to have.

I’m confident that most small towns in Georgia had a Mr. Sam, a “Miss” Ruby, or “Miss” Sara Kezar.

Interestingly, when I was in politics, especially in the early days, some prospective voters wanted my recommendations on candidates and issues. This was not as true by the time I departed the Legislature in 2004. The internet was already instructing many of the undecided.

Now, there is so much information available (television, internet, etc.) that few ask anyone how they should vote. Everybody is an expert (on voting and most everything else), and they don’t seek advice from the “wise heads” in politics or in the community.

It is hard to be a leader (in the Congress of the United States or on the Unadilla City Council) when your constituents think they know as much or more about the issues than the elected officials do.

Too Little. We don’t talk with each other anymore. And, especially our political leaders don’t talk with each other.

When they do talk to each other — often the talk “to” is designed to make the listener look bad — but, they don’t talk “with” each other. It appears to me that in our national government, most of the talking is filtered through third parties, Fox and CNN being examples. Who elected these folks to guide the national debate?

And, by the way, when did our United States senators stop discussing the nation’s business in the United State Senate Chamber? How long has it been since you have seen or heard a debate in the Senate Chamber among our elected senators. We should demand that the people’s business be debated in the people’s building. Did you see the movie “Lincoln” staring Daniel Day Lewis? That’s the way our forefathers intended the nation’s business be handled.

We should demand that our congressional representatives debate “our” issues in the Congress, where Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Hancock, Gwinnett, Walton, Hall and other signers of the Declaration of Independence expected it to be ferreted out to find the best answers.

Too much information. Too little talking with each other. Too bad. Too sad.

Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: lwalker@whgmlaw.com.

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