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News - Redneck rampage

Make way for the flag-wavin' Perdue brigade

Hell fire, y'all! White folks done voted to take Georgia back 40 years!

Well, that's it. The (white) people of Georgia have spoken, and they've told us that the confederate flag is more important than anything else in the world. And make no mistake, folks — as far as the governor's race was concerned, it was all about the state flag. Angry rural white people turned out at the polls in numbers not seen since the days of Lester Maddox to vent their fury at that danged ol' Liberal King Rat Roy Barnes.

What you heard on Nov. 5 was not a Republican earthquake. It was the sound of progressive men like William B. Hartsfield and Robert Woodruff and Charles Weltner rolling over in their graves. For the first time in a generation, the reins of Georgia government have been handed over to a wide-eyed hick who proudly panders to the neo-confederate crowd, a shadowy and racist gang of baccer-chewin' morons most city folks had believed to be extinct, if not permanently powerless.

And now these clueless crackers are running amok, planning to embarrass us all by restoring the confederate emblem to the state flag and transforming zombie-like Democratic state Senators into right-wing Republicans by the busload. And it's all being orchestrated by Ralph Reed. God help us.

History books say that Eugene Talmadge, the legendary race-baiting Georgia governor, often boasted of the fact that he'd "never carried a county with a streetcar." It was a pretentious rejection of modernity, as if being backwards was somehow a worthy attribute. But the Talmadge following was comprised of an ignorant gaggle of bumpkins and Klan-affiliated rednecks, so I guess there is a legitimate comparison to what happened to Georgia on Nov. 5. Just like "Ol' Gene," Perdue's victory came from an overwhelmingly rural base.

I am old enough to remember the Georgia countryside in the late 1960s, when "Maddox Country" signs were plentiful. I'd foolishly believed for most of my life that those days of racist politics in Georgia were long gone. When "Sonny Country" signs bearing the confederate flag began popping up earlier this year, it worried me — but not seriously. "Surely we have progressed beyond such foolishness," I said to myself.

Well, I was wrong, by God. Yee-haw!

Of course, suburban Republicans are now spinning their asses off, swearing to anyone who will listen that Perdue's election had nothing to do with race or the flag, but was actually due to Barnes' alleged "arrogance," a charge that anyone who has met the governor knows to be ridiculous. But try as they might to muddy the waters, establishment Republicans cannot dispute the shocking and disturbing videotape of Perdue supporters waving confederate flags on election night as the governor-elect mocked the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nor can they deny the backwater election demographics, or the legions of gloating boneheads from racist groups like the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and the League of the South, all of them taking credit for Perdue's victory.

Yes friends, the sleeping giant redneck has awakened, and he don't give a damn about what uppity colored folks think about the confederate flag. He's out stomping across Georgia like some kind of mutant yokel Godzilla, wreaking humiliation and destruction upon our hard-earned image as an enlightened place to do business.

To their credit, Democrats didn't play the race card during the election. And if they had, they would've probably been screwed anyway. It's tough to battle against a race-bating enemy like state GOP chairman Reed, who once said, "I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag."

Reed and his Republican nightriders may have lynched Barnes — but at what price? This klutzy clan has painted itself into a corner: If they put the flag to a vote, the state will pay mightily. If they don't, the rednecks will revolt, and the world may be subjected to a petulant spectacle of white-trash madness not seen since Sherman lit a match.

Either way, Georgia's hard-won image as the progressive leader of the south will suffer.

Jeff Berry is buying up confederate flags as fast as he can — and burning them.??





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