The protest to nowhere

How is a rally's blind negativity expected to elevate Augusta?

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This city’s mayor will be at a star-studded national summit Monday, explaining how Augusta became the model for wounded warrior care at a veterans hospital.

It’s the same city where, in March, national coffee chain Starbucks announced the construction of a new $172 million manufacturing plant. It’s part of the company’s American jobs initiative, creating 140 jobs here alone.

This is also the city where Rockwood Color Pigment and Services announced last December that it’s building a new $115 million plant near the airport. And where two universities are about to merge and Fort Gordon continues to grow and, nearby, Plant Vogtle is about to become the site of the nation’s first new commercial nuclear reactors in decades.

So, what does Mayor Deke Copenhaver think of two Augusta commissioners’ planned involvement in a May 14 rally at the courthouse to protest “the many changes that have occurred as a result of commission votes and action by the state delegation and others ...”?

“Whatever,” the mayor said.

“I’m going to focus on the big picture. I’m focused on creating jobs and opportunity and bringing positive national attention to Augusta.”

Though word of the rally “wasn’t intended for citywide distribution,” a Chronicle story Thursday revealed that Commissioners Al Mason and Bill Lockett are asking 1,000 people to attend the rally. What they’re protesting, however, is a bit vague.

“I don’t know,” Copenhaver admitted Thursday.

It’s no secret, however, that the two commissioners have opposed a number of commission actions and the legislature’s redistricting efforts this past year.

It certainly is an odd and rather ineffective path: utilizing the Civil Rights model of public protest to, in effect, rail against the very commission they sit on. The Civil Rights model is a poor substitute for actual governing. It assumes one is “speaking truth to power.” The truth is, however, that elected officials have power.

If they don’t also have the power of persuasion, and the ability to work with others and convince others that they’re right, then that’s not anyone else’s fault.

Folks are free to follow this parade down the dead end of negativity and confrontation, and turn out for a protest to nowhere over something nobody seems able to put their finger on.

Or they can follow real leadership – the kind that creates a positive, progressive, forward-looking environment for job growth in which we are all free to actualize and become our best selves.

We’re reminded of an editorial cartoon from the 1990s, when things were actually pretty good but the public mood was strangely sour. In the cartoon, a pollster asks a resident if he’s better off than he was four years ago. “Yes!” he says. “And I’m not going to take it anymore!”

We urge Augustans not to be seduced into anger and blind negativism – by their supposed leaders, no less. Whatever we visualize and work toward for Augusta will likely come true. It’s our choice whether that is something positive or negative.

The mayor has made his own choice, as job growth here shows signs of confounding the national trend.

“We are about to transform faster than anybody can imagine,” he says. “We are feeling it in this office. Everybody better hang on. We’re about to go big. I can’t waste time and energy.”

It’s a sorry shame that others can.

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FriedFacts
61
Points
FriedFacts 05/05/12 - 10:58 pm
0
0
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Unpublished

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs would put self-actualization at the top of the ladder, far above physical needs. Feeling loved and a sense of belonging has to be met before actualization can be reached.

The whole problem with the politics of Augusta is that the racial make-up of the public officials does not reflect the reality of the population. Have you viewed the 2010 census and racial demographics?

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 05/05/12 - 11:27 pm
0
0
Either, quite a lot is being

Either, quite a lot is being said about nothing or little is being said about much . I guess people will need to discover which for themselves.

seenitB4
87453
Points
seenitB4 05/06/12 - 06:11 am
4
3
Gee.....maybe they have a

Gee.....maybe they have a right to protest....maybe some don't see Augusta through Dekes eyes....maybe some are tired of the same -o same o....with the crime in south Augusta I would protest EVERYDAY....
get over yourselves....this article is so slanted I'm falling over in my chair!!

dichotomy
33099
Points
dichotomy 05/06/12 - 10:42 am
6
3
Mason and Lockhart do not

Mason and Lockhart do not appear to be intelligent enough to articulate what they are protesting against.......or maybe they don't want to be quoted saying what they are unhappy about.....like "we want to keep RC in the 60s and as racially divided and stagnant as possible"....or...."we don't want things to run well because we would lose our power as agitators".....which follows the same path as most of their votes as commissioners.

Lori Davis
929
Points
Lori Davis 05/06/12 - 11:06 am
2
1
I would encourage people to

I would encourage people to not believe everything they read here. Everyone just might be pleasantly surprised. Amazing how an editorial is written about an event before it even takes place.

Conservative Man
5572
Points
Conservative Man 05/06/12 - 11:15 am
3
0
Agree with seenit, maybe they

Agree with seenit, maybe they are just tired of the "good ole boy" system in place right now. As a conservative I've seen very little that Bill and Alvin have voted on that I DON'T agree with. Most of their actions have been geared towards rooting out waste and "crony capitalism" which runs rampant through city government. It's so easy for the AC and the ruling elite in Augusta to paint everything as racial. It polarizes everyone and allows them to do what they want behind the scenes while everyone argues about skin color. It's a shame the editorial staff at the AC has fallen prey to this....Funny how the only mention of "civil rights", code for race relations, came from this editorial and not from the reports of the rally.....interesting.....

Lori Davis
929
Points
Lori Davis 05/06/12 - 11:24 am
6
1
As for the comments about

As for the comments about Bill Lockett, I have had the privilege to get to know Commissioner Lockett very well and those who continue to write and speak of him in a negative manner must have never met him or attended a Commission meeting. Mr. Lockett is one of the few commissioners who comes prepared for the meetings and is not afraid to ask the hard questions. How do I know this? Simply because I am there. Don't think I've seen anyone from the AC editorial staff there lately.

Cdr4500
20
Points
Cdr4500 05/06/12 - 12:04 pm
1
1
My best friend's murderer got
Unpublished

My best friend's murderer got away with it because of the Georgia Good Ole' boy system. That's why no one trusts anyone in a position of authority anymore.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 05/06/12 - 12:29 pm
2
0
There does seem to be a

There does seem to be a 'system' in place in Augusta. I know I've been robbed, assaulted, and the 'system' was more interested in saving the criminal than me. The judges, DA, and attorneys there are not to be trusted. There is corruption in every govt system there - EVERYWHERE. Sure hope they get it together before they end up in national news.

Lori Davis
929
Points
Lori Davis 05/06/12 - 12:59 pm
5
0
Patty, We need a lot of this

Patty, We need a lot of this to end up in National news. This might be one of the only ways this city begins to change. Sometimes shaming goes a long way in particular social circles. The AC tells us only what they want us to know so that,"The system," stays in place. Social media is fast changing this and they know it.

corgimom
32627
Points
corgimom 05/06/12 - 01:17 pm
4
1
The commissioners have every

The commissioners have every right to protest. I guess the idea of the right to peacefully assemble and protest against the government is something that the ultra-conservative, ultra-patriotic ACES is against- that pesky Constitution just gets in the way sometimes, doesn't it?

I wonder how the ACES thinks it's great for the Tea Party to have assemblies and rallies to protest government, but the commissioners cannot. Equal protection under the law.

The commissioners must be onto something, otherwise the ACES wouldn't be writing editorials against it.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 05/06/12 - 01:29 pm
2
0
Well while the mayor is

Well while the mayor is attending this 'national conference', he may as well tell the world how he's working on the corrupt local government he's working with, the crime, etc etc....

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 05/06/12 - 02:51 pm
0
0
or at least clue them in to

or at least clue them in to how exactically he's Augusta's first 'green' mayor...

Truth Matters
6886
Points
Truth Matters 05/06/12 - 04:28 pm
1
0
Ditto Ms. Davis. Mr. Lockett

Ditto Ms. Davis. Mr. Lockett is indeed a most dedicated public servant.

Whenever the ACES comes out opposing the two commissioners who have done the most to advocate being good stewards of tax payers’ dollars, we should all be very concerned.

The real dividers are the Augusta Chronicle. Recently a high school classmate called to inquire about moving to this area after he retires in about a year. After I told him about the strong faith community, golf, two of the top high schools in the state, a wonderful medical community, that small town feel, yet close proximity to major cities such as Atlanta, Charleston and Charlotte where one is able to take in art and theater (access to theater and the arts were requisites), they asked about the political climate. It seems they had already read the AC online and picked up on a lot of negativity. I had no defense for this newspaper. What I think the Chronicle and its leadership do not appreciate is that many people make decisions to move or not move into a community based on the political climate. This newspaper does very little, in my opinion, to add to the positive political climate. It vilifies those with differing political views and blames others when it is politically expedient to do so. Your readers can appreciate that a newspaper has a political position, but it is so distasteful to be fed a steady diet of subjective bias day in and day out.
Was there a problem with the Tea Party Rally held here for the last three years?

I didn’t think so!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 05/06/12 - 05:35 pm
0
0
When there is more negative

When there is more negative to report than positive by way of local politics, I would say it needs to be in the news. People need to know what type of area they are moving into. Sure wish I'd known before I moved there.

willie7
955
Points
willie7 05/06/12 - 08:21 pm
1
0
The Protest will be to
Unpublished

The Protest will be to Somewhere rather than nowhere as called by the Chronicle. Yes, we will be protesting and exposing the crooked city business that goes on ---the good ole boy system is alive and well. We must stop it and spread the truth to our citizens. Conjgraulations Commissioners Lockett and Mason ,for standing up for right.
I will be there and bring serval persons with me.
Let us call it the "One Thousand Citizens Rally".Ralling For Good and Honest Local Government. Power To the People!!!!!

Little Lamb
46074
Points
Little Lamb 05/07/12 - 07:55 am
0
0
Lori Davis posted: Mr.

Lori Davis posted:

Mr. Lockett is one of the few commissioners who comes prepared for the meetings and is not afraid to ask the hard questions.

The trouble is, Mr. Lockett does not get any answers. He asks questions that hint at wrongdoing, but he never produces a smoking gun. There is never enough substance in Lockett's questions to pin anyone down, so the questions remain unanswered, hence this upcoming protest.

It is a Jerry Seinfeld protest — a protest against nothing.

Lori Davis
929
Points
Lori Davis 05/07/12 - 10:08 am
1
0
Patty, It takes a lot of

Patty, It takes a lot of Open Records Requests to piece together a corrupt government, but I can assure you that it is being worked on, on a daily basis. One day all of the pieces will be there for public scrutiny, but it will never be in the AC because the AC is a huge part of the problem. The story will make National news which is where it needs to be.

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