An Open Letter from Georgia:
Posted on April 30, 2014 by Rev. Francys Johnson, NAACP Georgia State Conference President
As of last night, at the stroke of midnight, the clock of human progress turned back decades in Georgia. Extremists in Georgia have caused unfair, unjust and harmful consequences for regular everyday Georgians with the passage of HB 990, HB 772, HB 714 and SB 98.
Sadly, Governor Deal's inaction has and will continue to cost real lives and hardships for Georgians who are already struggling. You have chosen politics over principle, a short term view of narrow self-interest over a long term vision of what's actually best for Georgia, making public policy turns that further marginalize our most vulnerable citizens while also crippling the state's prospects for economic recovery and prosperity.
Politicians lack of regard and compassion for the 650,000 hard working Georgians who would benefit from Medicaid expansion is very troubling. You have signed death warrants for thousands who will die needlessly every year without it. Out of your office we continued to hear the same justification for not accepting Medicaid expansion; Georgia couldn't afford it. While repeating a lie over and over again might work in your political universe it doesn't make it less of a lie. Medicaid expansion would turn the 650,000 hard working Georgians that are forced to go to the emergency center as their only means to healthcare into paying customers with access to preventative care. It would bring over 45 billion dollars of revenue and over 70,000 good paying jobs to our
state. As it turns out, doing what's morally right is also economically smart.
When we and future generations look back in history, we will see a Governor who failed to understand this. That is why he restricted affordable healthcare and expanded gun rights, publicly celebrating the most dangerous and irresponsible gun bill to be passed in the country. We will see a Governor who allowed and supported attacks on the rights of women by further limited access to reproductive choice. A governor, who condoned removing unemployment benefits to the same bus drivers that protected our children during an unnecessary snow crisis. We will see a Governor that supported drug testing of food stamp recipients and continues to place road blocks against the Affordable Care Act. You have continually shown your support for the few rich at the cost of the overwhelming poor and working class Georgians by capping income taxes, and restricting loans and scholarships for our states students.
Georgia deserves better than this Governor Deal. When we look at the past legislative session through a moral lens we see our state's priorities with deep concern. We see a Governor more concerned with party agendas than the welfare and progress of the people he represents. Although this is of deep concern to us, we are hopeful that moral responsibility will be reflected in the future legislation of Georgia.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King:
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.