Monday, February 9, 2009

Governor Barnes

February 6, 2009

Downtown Connector is a wonderful ministry of St. Luke’s Church that gathers people interested in and concerned about what is going on in Atlanta. We hear about development projects like the beltline, about the needs of the poor, about what we can expect about water policy and so on. This week we heard former Governor Roy Barnes addressing the historical tension between Atlanta and the rest of the state. He was a marvelous speaker with that Georgia politician’s facility with down home folksiness in the service of addressing c0omplex political matters without over simplifying. One friend said it was like listening to someone who had retired from singing the blues but when pressed into playing found that the music was still deep in his soul. That was not a bad analogy for what we saw and heard. You did not have to like what the governor was saying to realize that you were watching a true professional at work.

He commented on many things but saw the tension between Atlanta and the rest of the state being at heart a racial matter. He saw the development of the Atlanta metro region as the golden goose for business in the state. He expressed dismay as to what is going on at the capitol, reminding us of his idea that the first job of any governor is to keep his or her state of the front page of the New York Times and bemoaning how hard it is to get investors in a tight market when they ask ‘Do you really want to carry concealed weapons at the airport?’ He talked about how George Wallace’s commitment to segregation in Alabama allowed Atlanta rather than Birmingham to emerge as the ‘capital’ of the new South. All in all a tour de force from the governor.

No comments: