We have just concluded a very long election season, and you would think we might get a momentary reprieve from having to think about another season of political posturing, but it is probably not going to happen. In fact, in Georgia several men are already being mentioned as potential gubernatorial candidates for 2018.
I hope Georgia politicians have learned a lesson from the recent general election. The American people demonstrated that they are not content with politics as usual. The kind of self-perpetuating, self-serving, egocentric, bureaucratic politics to which we have become accustomed has obviously become anathema to a vast number of Americans and Georgians as well.
I know there are some men and women of faith and integrity who represent us in the halls of government. These dear governmental representatives make choices of conscience daily and their choices frequently transcend any consideration of partisanship and personal advantage. I thank God for them.
Even though we require our public figures to sacrifice time, privacy, and significant financial resources to compete for electoral office, we also have a right to expect them to “have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 25:16), because electoral office is a public trust.
I also believe there are literally millions of Georgians looking for a governor and governmental leaders who share their values and cannot be bought or influenced by the courtship of lobbyists, the lure of big business, the influence of the chamber of commerce, or the glamor of the movie industry.
We need statesmen who are servants of the people rather than politicians who are the pawns of special interest groups or, to be specific, the puppets of the gambling industry. In fact, the Atlanta Journal Constitution recently released a list of Georgia’s political leaders who have received campaign contributions from various gambling enterprises.
To their indignity, a total of at least $268,799 has been doled out to political candidates or to the Georgia House Republican Trust, the Democratic Party of Georgia, and the Georgia Republican Senatorial Committee.
When a candidate or political party accepts money from any entity, organization, or business logic reasons the candidate or party becomes obligated to that particular body. Can votes, influence, and conscience be bought? I think history will prove that it can be.
In Mike Griffin, Georgia Baptists have a public policy advocate under the Gold Dome, but he has no money to give to advance the cause of Georgia Baptists nor should he. We would not want to stoop to bribery or coercion to accomplish our objectives. Our appeal is always to urge our representatives be guided by values, honor, integrity, and what is right.
That being said, it would be difficult beyond description for me to vote for any candidate for governor or any other elected position who accepts money from the gambling industry. And, I would discourage anyone and everyone to refrain from voting for any candidate who has been on the “take” from that reprehensible and disreputable business that preys upon poor, unwary, vulnerable citizens.
And I would also ask those who aspire to be elected or re-elected, “Why would you take money for your campaign from a malevolent industry? What is the cost of your conscience?”