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Opinion: Our politicians should be listening to us
09282017 STATE CAPITOL
Georgia's state Capitol in Atlanta. - photo by Associated Press

Please excuse me, but this is going to be a long and somewhat political rant. I am speaking entirely as a citizen of the great state of Georgia and it has nothing to do with any of the part-time jobs with which I am associated. Feel free to agree, disagree or even ignore my comments, but I just feel led to make them.

Tuesday, I was a visitor to a Georgia House committee hearing. It makes no difference which committee. What was disturbing to me was when the committee chairperson and several committee members lambasted Georgia voters and citizens for emailing and telephoning legislators opposing the bill being discussed. I do not claim to be a political scholar, but I thought it was the right of every Georgia voter to question their politicians. 

A line from one of my favorite movies, “The American President,” immediately came to mind. Michael J. Fox’s character stated “I'm a citizen, this is my president. And in this country, it is not only permissible to question our leaders, it's our responsibility!” It is my responsibility to question Georgia political leaders. 

Too often citizens, myself included, have not been active in the legislative process. We tend to stand on the sidelines and mope or wring our hands, but we do not take to the time to make our leaders understand our views. 

I would think politicians would welcome our input. Based on what I heard yesterday, I must be mistaken. I thought it was the responsibility of Georgia politicians to listen to the opinions of all Georgia citizens, regardless of if they agreed or disagreed. 

The committee chairperson even stated he deleted over 600 emails without even bothering to read them. Has it come to the point our politicians have decided they are above listening to their constituents? 

As I have frequently stated to people, I’m just an old, broken-down, dirt road school teacher. I don’t have answers to all the issues we face. Possibly we have all stood on the sidelines too long. Maybe some politicians have stayed in office too long and have forgotten to whom they are responsible. 

I leave you with a challenge. Send an email or make a phone call this week to your Georgia representatives. Nothing specific is necessary. Thank them for working for you. Thank them for listening. Ask a question. Just let them know we’re all out here, and we’re all watching them and listening to them. Remind them they work for us and not the other way around. 

Don’t know who to contact? Follow this link. Input your address and it will give you national and state leaders’ names and email addresses and office phone numbers. Let’s all stop sitting on the sidelines. 

Thank you for reading this far. I again point out that the views expressed here are purely my own. Get involved!

Johnny Smith

Gainesville

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