I reminded her recently that the primaries are upon us and following that, the general election in November. I said it was time to get her up-to-date on the issues so that she could make an informed decision in the voting booth. “I don’t need you to tell me how to vote,” she said. “I am perfectly capable of making up my own mind.” She then reminded me that in school, she had been a member of the high school National Honor Society and that I had flunked biology. I hate it when she brings that up.
“Besides, if I need something, I will call Johnny Isakson and let him know,” she said. You can’t do that, I smirked. He is a United States senator. You can’t just pick up the phone and call a U.S. senator.
“Yes, I can,” she said. “Want to see me do it?”
No, I said. That’s just showing off. Besides, what if he asks you your opinion on the growing trade imbalance with China? What will you say then?
“I’ll tell him to use his best judgment,” she replied. “He is closer to that issue than I am. Incidentally, what are your thoughts on lowering the trade imbalance with China? I haven’t been keeping up with it lately. I do know that in 2011, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $295 billion, which is about eight percent higher than the previous year’s numbers of $273 billion. But I am sure you are right up to date since you know so much about politics, dear.”
It is hard to tell but I thought I detected a slight hint of sarcasm in her voice.
I explained there is a lot more to politics than national trade imbalances and a lot of it is taking place in our own state. There are a number of complex issues with which we as Georgians must deal and, fortunately, my status as a modest and much-beloved columnist gives me access to the highest levels of state government.
“That is very comforting,” she said, “but Rich Golick is my state representative, and if I need something, I will just call him.”
Not so fast, I countered, I am not sure that the Department of Justice has given final approval of the state’s redistricting plans so he is not officially your representative just yet. Redistricting is very complex, and perhaps it would be helpful if I took a few minutes and explained the process to you.
“Why?” she asked. “He has always been my representative. It doesn’t matter what district he is in. When he was first running for office, he stopped by the house one Saturday afternoon. It was very hot and I gave him a bottle of cold water. He still remembers that. So, while you deal at the very highest levels of state government, I will call Rich Golick and we can see who gets their call returned first.”
This conversation was going downhill quickly.
Good for you, I said, but neither Sen. Isakson nor Rep. Golick can help you if somebody decides to build a Motel 6 next door. You had better know somebody at the local level. That is where I come in. I am thick as fleas with the movers-and-shakers in Cobb County.
“That’s wonderful, dear,” she cooed, “If I ever need to talk to Commissioner Bob Ott about the possibility of someone wanting to build a Motel 6 next door, I will certainly tell him how important you are. I know he will be very impressed. Just remember, though, that I was a nurse at Delta Air Lines and he, of course, is a captain with Delta. There is a great loyalty among Delta people to help each other even though we aren’t into the flea thing as much as you seem to be.”
With that, she told me how much she appreciated the tutorial on politics but now she needed to get back to work. She said she had to call Johnny about the trade imbalance issue, then cover the latest redistricting maps with Rich and update Bob on a zoning matter. I’m not sure who or what she was talking about.
I just know she is lucky to have someone with my political acumen so near at hand.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.