James Miller, a furloughed federal employee from Georgia, scheduled an appointment in Washington to speak with his representative in Congress about working without pay and the strain this causes.
Upon entering the representative’s office, he found a collection of items curated by the congressman displayed prominently in a glass case. One of the select items was a book, open to a specific passage. It was not the Holy Word of God, the founding fathers’ writings, or a document celebrating a legislative accomplishment of the congressman for his district.
Instead it was a book written of a prominent slave-owner, extolling the virtues of slavery and its inherent denial of human rights. It praised “The painful discipline … necessary for their instruction as a race” – discipline delivered through a whip. This appalling display of racism took place in the office of our congressman.
As he did when he commemorated the invasion of Normandy by posting a photo of the Nazis defending the beachhead, Rep. Ferguson immediately blamed his staff.
Rep. Ferguson’s behavior is unacceptable for anyone, let alone one who has taken an oath of office to serve a country founded on the principle of equality. Racism has no place in our country, especially in our elected leadership.
When I ran against Rep. Ferguson, voters knew where I stood. I campaigned to strengthen our economy, raise wages, improve our health care, protect veterans care and reduce weapons violence. I fought proudly for this platform. I stood strongest, though, for the equality proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence.
Members of my own party advised me not to speak so strongly about racial equality – advice I rejected. The 3rd District is heavily gerrymandered favoring the Republican Party, and the GOP nominee is all but guaranteed a victory in November.
It is time for local GOP leaders and community members to find better candidates for Georgia’s 3rd District and encourage them to run for office. Democrats and Republicans will not always agree, but at the very least we deserve a representative we all respect.
I unapologetically ran for office on my principles and look forward one day to doing so again. I hope our local Republicans can find a nominee for our district who embraces the diversity of humanity and the rights inherent in all of us, regardless of color. Our district deserves a nominee who represents us well with their character.