I recently submitted an initial warning regarding the brewing battle between the Establishment Machine of Georgia politics and the growing Conservative movement that seeks to return the power of government to the rightful hands of the people as the Founding Fathers intended.
I will present more on that front in the coming weeks, but in light of the current runoff environment here at home, I feel it important to stress that Bartow County is ground zero for that same face off between the established powers that be and we the people of Bartow County.
Most people who pay any attention to the local political goings-on, and even a few who don’t, have complained about the “powers that be.” In small towns like most of the ones in Bartow, we’re all aware of the good ol’ boy networks and the cliques that exist in local government and society at large.
A quick search through property records will usually give a hint as to who are the most prominent players in the local game of monopoly. In America though, this is what it’s all about right?
If you work hard and make good decisions, you can put yourself in a position to purchase property and choose your lifestyle. No American should ever resent someone who does those things and puts themselves in a position of independence.
The problem comes when groups of such people work together to maintain a certain level of power and influence over all of the decisions that affect an entire city or county population. It’s amazing how easy it is for a clique to maintain power because, for the most part, they are made up of good and decent people.
They include our family members, neighbors, friends and business associates. They’re the “cool kids” that everyone wants to be around. They do good things for all the charities and causes around town. They seek to grow the county for the county’s best interest, but as the clicks become more and more powerful, it’s inevitably the same people who actually stand to profit the most from the county’s growth.
That profit motive in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s what drives the free market and it’s what motivates the pursuit of most great discoveries in the world. Again, the problem comes in when networks of powerful people work together to protect that power from anyone they perceive to be an “outsider.”
Typically anyone who speaks out in opposition to any project or tries to stand up to the machine in any way is promptly shunned both socially and in business circles. Sometimes the repercussions of opposing the machine go beyond being shunned and reach a level of revenge that has put people out of business or even driven them to move away from the county for lack of opportunity.
So if we’re all aware of this establishment that exists, why do we keep voting for the people who perpetuate it? I contend it’s because most of us don’t really analyze the various positions we’re voting for and look at the people objectively with regard to their qualifications and experience.
We cast a ballot for our old friend "Joe Smith," or our best friend’s uncle Bob who did us a favor once. It’s innocent enough. It’s no big conspiracy, but that doesn’t make it right. If we truly want to pass on a better Bartow for all of the future citizens, including our children and grandchildren, then we need to stop voting in the very establishment that we complain about and vote for the best people to get the job done.
Please go out and vote in the runoff election on Aug. 21. The turnout will be low and your voice can be the difference between more of the same and new horizons for all of us!