by Bill Simon
My copy of the 3rd edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of The English Language (published in 1992…yeah, a “real book” to you digitally-connected upstarts) defines “courage” according to the following definition: “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution.”
With this definition, I do not have to bother ‘qualifying’ the type of courage I am going to discuss with regards to people in the political arena because the word “courage” describes a state of mind, not a type of action.
Whether a person faces fear due to physical danger to life and limb on a battlefield of war, or they face fear of losing one’s livelihood or way of life by decisions they make, the “fear” of what might happen if you do “X”, “Y”, or “Z” is, in most cases, considered before every single act is taken.
To overcome any fear requires “self-possession, confidence, and resolution.”
To overcome fear requires the ability to silence all the negative thoughts in your head of the unknown “What-if this…and what-if that…and So-and-so might not like me anymore…and I won’t be invited to whatever”…and so on. That takes a significant degree of wisdom and self-awareness.
Courage in Georgia Politics
When Sonny Perdue switched parties back in 1998, I think that (regardless of his actual governorship in the 2000s) we can honestly recognize that that took courage for him to personally make that decision, and then take that act.
The Democrats were still in control of this state back then (House, Senate, Governor’s Office, and most of all the other constitutional offices). He was jumping to the minority party at that time, and, though there a lot of hope that year (1998), there was no definite forecast for a Republican takeover.
In the November election of 2002, Sonny Perdue defeated then-Governor Roy Barnes. The State House was still firmly in the hands of the Democrats, but, after the election results had rolled-in that night, the State Senate was within 4 seats of becoming a Republican majority.
I was in the “war room” of the state senate that election night when telephone negotiations were going on between Republican senate leaders and 4 key Democrat state senators. Things like “committee assignments” and “committee chairmanships” were promised to the Democrat state senators if they would switch parties and join the Republicans to “takeover” the state senate.
I put “takeover” in quotes for a reason because…those 4 Democrat state senators did not have a ‘courageous change of heart’ in their minds as to why they agreed to switch to the GOP: it was an opportunity to be a bigwig in the new majority party in the senate. And, as we’ve kinda discovered, there was a bit of a sellout on both sides of the aisle to recruit those party switchers.
House District 80
Current State Rep for HD 80 is Mike Jacobs. Jacobs was first elected to the State House in 2004, and served as a Democrat rep until…sometime in (I think) 2007, when he switched parties
Did that take courage? Probably…maybe…sorta…but, the Republicans were firmly in control of the Governor’s seat, the state house, and the state senate by that time.
So, I’m not sure of what “fear” Mike faced in his own mind then because I believe he was strongly recruited to switch by centrist Republicans, as opposed to deciding on his own that he didn’t wish to remain as a member of the Democratic Party, and this was more of a switch for opportunistic reasons (like the 4 state senators in 2002).
Challenging Mike Jacobs this cycle will be Catherine Bernard. I will go into more detail about Catherine shortly, but rather than listen to me (or, “read” me) about why I have such respect for her, and, why I support her in this race, I suggest you spend the next 11 minutes of your life listening to her speak about herself and her campaign for SH 80…it’s 11 minutes that will tell most people exactly what kind of person Catherine Bernard is:
This was recorded last Saturday at her campaign kick-off party. For the record, I was there. (For the record, I rarely go to any political events, but she is quite the different kind of candidate, and quite the different kind of person.)
Establishment Class vs. Everyone Else
To get into a meaningful discussion here of this race, everyone needs to understand the basis for what I will say, so, a few definitions:
1) Political Class: The political class are all the class of people who like the current state of politics and public policy, and are members of the “establishment.” They have no problem with crony-capitalism.
In fact, they all tend to be kinda-sorta engaged in it themselves. Crony capitalism, for the record, basically entails businesses lobbying government to use the force of taxation to either help special businesses grow larger, or to hurt smaller competitors, and, in the process, they tend to seek to steal money from people like you and I, the individual taxpayer. Both Republicans and Democrats enjoy participating in crony-capitalism to the hilt, and they chalk it up to “well, that’s the way it always works.”
2) Non-Political Class: People who are not part of the entrenched, “Establishment” of either of the two major political parties.
3) Liberty/Constitutional-focused People: These are people who truly believe in the God-granted rights to individual freedom, individual responsibility, economic freedom, personal liberty, and a Constitutionally-constrained government.
A lot of the 9-12 folks are very similar to the liberty-minded folks. Most of the people involved in Tea Party groups are liberty-minded as well.
The Republican Establishment HATES, with a fiery, jealous passion these “liberty-minded” folks.
Which, as an aside, is really kind of strange, actually…because when I see Establishment-types post excerpts of Ayn Rand books on their Facebook walls, where she has focused her writing on the individual liberties and economic freedom concepts, etc…and then you look at the disdain these same establishment types have for the liberty-minded people, the only thing that comes to my mind is “Wow…what a bad case of cognitive dissonance that person must suffer from.” (Well, truth be told, there is a shorter conclusion that I actually come to about that type of person, and it involves the use of a 9-character expression to describe their obvious state of mind.)
SO…here’s the gist of how this all relates to the HD 80 race: Mike Jacobs is an establishment-backed candidate. All the big-wig elected Republicans in the State House support and cherish Mike Jacobs. All the lobbyists support Mike Jacobs. All the chambers of commerce support Mike Jacobs…he will do their bidding with little to no regard for the deleterious effect the legislation actually has on the individual taxpayers in this state.
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce ranks Mike Jacobs at 100% in agreement with the Ga Chamber’s goals. For those of you who are not aware, the “chambers of commerce” are really not “good” for anyone who views the growth of government as a harmful thing. Anyone who lives in Gwinnett or Cobb knows exactly how pernicious these two chambers are to the individual taxpayers in each of these counties.
Last year, the Atlanta-Metro Chamber of Commerce played a BIG role in the promotion of the T-SPLOST. See, they don’t have the guts to come to your front door and stick a gun in your face to rob you of your living, so they support giving the government the power to do that (which, as an aside, also explains why most of the people at the top of the chamber of commerces would really like to see the 2nd Amendment be obliterated and the people forced into more slave labor situations to feed their corporate cronies who cannot figure out how to make a buck on their own in a more competitive, free-market environment).
So, when it comes to the “Republican Establishment,” well, Catherine Bernard, in her experience in Tampa in 2012, pretty much faced the toughest that the Republican Establishment could throw at her…and, she did not back down or cave to the “powers that be.”
THAT is an individual that has a demonstrative ability to not give a **** about the chamber of commerce types…or, the “House Leadership” or the Governor, or, really, anyone who might want her to bend to their will.
The Establishment is scared-to-death of Catherine Bernard (and, whomever she inspires). They know they will not be able to control her. They cannot intimidate her.
Watch her campaign speech, again. From the conversations I have had with her, …she is a very mature adult, and is a person who has tons of wisdom about the world for her age. She is a soft-spoken, kind-hearted person who cares a lot about correcting clear wrongs in society that the government, itself, has created…but, do not mistake her quiet demeanor or her soft voice for any kind of weakness, or an ability to push her around. She is nobody’s fool.
Now, in this video, Catherine makes several comments about her opposition. Some might think “Oh, she’s going negative early.”
No, in actuality, she’s responding to what Mike Jacobs’ rabid junkyard dog/political consultant stated in comments thru a couple of his daily newsletter editions in the previous weeks in reference to Catherine’s candidacy.
I observed those comments as well, just quietly biding my time. And, it is because of those comments made by the junkyard dog (along with some various Facebook comments I’ve witnessed from other junkyard dogs over the past month), that I, as a junkyard dog myself (and, sometimes quite the rabid one), am publicly coming-out in support of Catherine Bernard for this race.
I have nothing personal against Mike Jacobs…but, I do have something against him as a representative of the entrenched political class. I don’t perceive that he has the ability to recognize why he should change into someone more focused on a Constitutionally-restrained state government.
So, I must oppose his reelection, and throw my support to help Catherine Bernard where ever, and how ever, I can.
Mike Jacobs will likely be able to raise $150K to $300K from all of his establishment pals.
Catherine Bernard, in her speech, talks about needing $50,000. Why is money needed? Because it takes money to buy yard signs, pushcards, stamps, stationery, and pizza and soft drinks. Ain’t nothing free, and winning a race requires both a bunch of volunteers to help canvass and knock-on doors, as well as money to deliver the message via printed material.
She is out knocking on doors as I finish this up…she is running a totally grassroots, shoestring campaign…so, if you call and leave a message, she may not actually be able to return a phone call as quick as you’d like. (Be patient.)
So, please, if you are someone fed-up with the Establishment Political Class screwing you over, checkout Catherine Bernard’s website, her viewpoint on the issues she lists…and make a contribution to her campaign for State House District 80.
The maximum you can give is $2500 for her primary.
The election is May 20th, but early voting starts in 97 days. There is a “DONATE” link on her Website: http://www.votecatherine.com/
OR, if electronic/credit card donations are not your thing (and it will save her transaction fees), feel free to send a check to:
Catherine Bernard for State Representative
PO Box 190354
Atlanta, GA 31119
Please include your phone number, your home address, your Occupation, the company you work for, and the address of your employment. (If you are retired, just say that).
So, to loop this back to the beginning, the definition of “courage” is “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution.”
Well, I think Catherine Bernard demonstrated courage in refusing to cave to the vicissitudes of dealing with the likes of Sue Everhart, Reince Preibus, and whoever else attempted to browbeat her into signing a “loyalty oath” to vote for Mitt Romney at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
And, after I personally witnessed the extent of the cheating in the various Republican county and district conventions in Georgia in 2012, most of them designed to block the liberty-minded Republicans as a result of direction from Chairman Sue Everhart (and, a few of them simply designed to exact cruelty on their fellow man), it’s time to make a stand now against the tyranny of the establishment Republicans who expect party loyalists to continue to back everything they do without daring to question them.
This state needs more people like Catherine Bernard to step-up, place their name on a ballot, and run for office. I hope you will be as inspired by her as I am, and contribute money and/or time to help her canvass and contact voters.