Getting back in action after too long of an absence

Published 4:35 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

Okay, boys and girls, I’m back. I would say that I am as good as ever, but there are those humor-impaired grumps among us who would say that would say I was never that good to begin with. May they kiss my grits.

This has been a surreal experience. One day, I am a modest and much-beloved columnist with no shortage of opinions on anything and everything, and the next day I am on a gurney in the intensive care unit at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta with non-functioning kidneys and a precipitously low blood pressure (81 over something) suffering from septic shock. As the doctor told me later, “You almost died.”  Needless to say, I survived and am ready to get back in action. It has been too long.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that not a lot has changed since I emerged from the purple dusk of twilight time. We remain a nation deeply divided thanks to publicity-seeking fringe groups on both extremes of the political spectrum and self-serving politicians who fan the flames as well as a president that can’t put away his infernal Twitter machine. Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him?

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That is not the America I know and love. My America unites in times of catastrophes like Hurricane Harvey, which has wreaked havoc on the good people of Texas. No one cares about skin color or political beliefs or social standing. This is neighbor helping neighbor. Military and public safety personnel risking their lives to rescue stranded citizens. Strangers opening their hearts and pocketbooks to help those in need. That is the real America. Good people doing good things together. Sadly, it seems to take tragedy for us to find our better selves.

In the meantime, what goes around comes around. It wasn’t all that long ago that groups opposed to changing the Georgia state flag were strutting around, threatening to disrupt the Centennial Olympic Games, challenging anyone who opposed them and feeling pretty sure of themselves. How times have changed. Today, flaggers sit by helplessly and watch Confederate memorials drop like flies. I tried to tell them that their bullying tactics would one day come back to haunt them. They should have listened.

Today, we have another mean-spirited crowd seeking to rewrite history by destroying it. While the revisionists have managed to topple or cover statues of long-ago Confederate notables, that’s low-hanging fruit. If they are so determined to erase our past, will one of them tell me how they plan to handle the 14 counties in Georgia named for Confederate officers and politicians? And what about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom owned slaves? Are we going to change the name of the nation’s capital (Cornwallisville?) Then there is the notion of sandblasting the Confederate carvings off Stone Mountain, which will take the approval of the Legislature. Don’t hold your breath. 

Amid all the cacophony, civil rights icon Andrew Young says, “I think it’s too costly to refight the Civil War. We have paid too great a price in trying to bring people together.” Amen. The Civil War has been over for 152 years. Let it go, people,

Don’t look now but there is a governor’s race coming next year. Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, former House minority leader hopes to be the first female as well as black governor of Georgia. At a recent meeting of Democrats her supporters shut down rival Stacey Evans’ speech with signs and shouts of “Support black women.” (Can you imagine what would happen if someone waved signs and chanted “support white guys”? Supercilious liberals and their co-conspirators in the national media would suffer terminal hyperventilation.) Abrams blithely called it a “peaceful protest.” I call it an attack on free speech. Hopefully, Abrams will get what she deserves which doesn’t include the governor’s office.

On a happier note, I am pleased to report that the incoming freshman class at the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South, represents the most academically prepared entering class in UGA history, with the overall grade point average of 4.0 and an SAT average of 1344. Go Dawgs! Woof! Woof!

Before I go, thanks to the professionals at Piedmont Hospital for their good works and to my family for enduring the stress I put them through. And thanks to all of for you for your emails and cards. It is good to be back.