While the state GOP seems to have eliminated a few of the leaders who knee-jerked every seemingly popular issue, they are now stuck with a government that they can hardly fund. Roads in the state lack proper signage, and no new ones can really be built; businesses are lured into the state, but others close up shop at the same time; the state really doesn't really have a motto or an ad campaign that even says, "Hey, we are here." A recent Twitter survey showed Georgia one of the five "saddest" states in the nation.
Georgia has a strong governor and legislature. But it needs something else.
All of this, of course, risks the ire of the Chamber of Commerce types who pat themselves on the back in every community in America. As we say in the South, "God Bless their souls." But if they thought about it, they would instead start retuning their story rather than kicking at critics.
The state is now one of the leading sites in the nation for the production of movies and television series. And Atlanta is either the home or second home to virtually every hip-hop and urban music artist. Georgia's flagship universities, the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology (known as Georgia Tech), have risen swiftly to become among the top public universities in the nation. And, contrary to the image many have from around the nation, the place is not only sophisticated but just plain cool. It has mountains, beaches and everything in between.
But I know when a place lacks cohesion, direction and fire in the belly. And by the way, that doesn't get fixed by government leaders alone. It comes from the so-called civic leaders taking off their blinders, putting away their medals and trophies of self congratulations, rolling up their sleeves, and getting real about what they have going for them and what they need to do to make it better.
I firmly believe the overly referenced Scarlett O'Hara would likely say, soil in hand, "As God as my witness this state will never be poor, or lack energy, or let some of its leaders strut around like the 'emperor with no clothes' ever again."
Georgia will come back. It just, as its famous native-Georgian singer, the late James Brown put it, needs "a hard roll and a cup of coffee" to wake up. The polls are that cup of coffee, and the mood of the public is the hard roll.
Matt Towery heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage. Follow him on Twitter @matttowery. To find out more about Matt Towery and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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