>The dumbing down of Georgia voters

>My home state of Georgia is home to this country’s most successful businesses, such as Home Depot, The Weather Channel, UPS, Coca-Cola, etc. It’s the ninth largest state by population, home to former President Jimmy Carter and other notable politicians and activists and its capital city of Atlanta in 1996 hosted the Olympics. 

People over the past decade have flocked to the Peach State in search of lower taxes, lower cost of living and a diverse offering of single- and multi-family homes. Even though Georgia is the hub of the so-called New South and home to the city that’s Too Busy To Hate, our politicians and those who run the well-oiled political machines continue to treat the state’s residents as if we spend our days sitting on our antebellum-style front porches, sipping sweet tea, using paper fans to keep ourselves cool from the summer heat and speaking to each other in various Deep South drawls. 

Take the Dale Peterson Says 1-minute television ad against Democratic candidate (and former governor) Roy Barnes:


Not only is this ad downright ridiculous, it’s completely condescending and is seeped in the stereotype that Georgians are nothing but white men in cowboy hats who randomly keep shotguns in barns. 

Yet another one:

At least these two guys are drinking coffee and not picking up random 12-gauge shotguns…But, the ad tows the same line as the previous one: white men with the Dixie drawwwwl, sitting around a table talking in good ol’ boy phrases with the traditional Southern-style harmonica music blaring in the background. 

When you think there couldn’t be anymore…


There’s that checkered table cloth again! 

Now, from looking at these ads, one would think Georgia is a hotbed of middle-aged to retired white men who have nothing but time on their hands to sip coffee and talk politics. One would think Georgia is this vast rural area where 12-gauge shotguns and men in cowboy hats are as common as kudzu. 

As an aside, the governor’s race has been one of sheer disappointment. Both Barnes and Republican candidate Nathan Deal have me feeling nonchalant about the upcoming Election Day. Yes, I will vote, but neither of these two men have me convinced of their ability to lead the state. What’s further troubling is how both candidates and the PACs running ads on their behalf have treated the Georgia voter as if we are a bunch of hicks who talk in slow, dragged out sentences filled with Georgia vernacular.  

In these aforementioned ads, the Georgia voter is treated as one who barely graduated high school and can only talk to people using some form of Southern speak. These ads show us the only way to appeal to our sensibilities is to use white men toting shotguns (or sitting around a table with a checkered table cloth chatting with Bubba or Billy Bob) to get us to pay attention to the governor’s race. The mere use of a shot gun and a man whose voice connotes redneck is not only patronizing, but downright disgusting. 

Georgia voters are not only college educated, but they have six-year degrees and beyond. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, mayors, city managers, business owners, journalists and the like. They are black, white, Native American, Arab, Christian, atheists, Muslim, Sikhs, Asian, gays, lesbians, transgendered, high school dropouts, women, etc. They are as varied as state’s terrain, from the flat plains of the south to the mountainous region to the north. 

This season’s political ads are a disgrace to the politicians who are represented in them and to the organizations that bank roll them. The Georgia electorate deserves better political advertising than the ones that seek to envision Georgia as a place where only the middle aged white man’s vote mattered.