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Georgia editorial roundup

September 26, 2018

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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Sept. 25

The Savannah Morning News on Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams defining herself as a pragmatist:

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams wears more labels than a well-traveled musician’s guitar case.

Affixed to her by friends and foes alike — not to mention the press — the tags are meant to define her and make her more appealing to some segments of the voting population and more abhorrent to others. Such is this era of partisanship that ideology, not ideas or strategy, drives the campaign narrative.

Ask the candidate to define herself and she offers a label no one would expect.

“I’m a pragmatist,” she told this publication’s editorial board in an interview. “I want people to do well.”

A pragmatist. Not a radical, a socialist or an “unapologetic progressive” — at least not in the way she’s been portrayed. Not a proponent of government handouts with no plan for funding them. Not a Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren discipline or clone.

Her approach is more Rooseveltian: Teddy, not FDR. Policies over politics.

She insists she’s a “small p” progressive — as in progress, which Georgia has been in areas such as civil rights and economic developments. Likewise, she claims she is a “small c” conservative who favors practical ways that government can support its citizens.

Cutting through the clutter

Her ability to convince Georgians that she is indeed a pragmatist and not a liberal who is simply softening her messaging to appeal to swing voters will determine the November election.

She and her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, are in a dead heat, and the polls show the pool of undecided voters is small. The lone public poll has Abrams and Kemp tied with 45 percent each and 8 percent undecided. Internal campaign polling is said to reflect those numbers, as well.

The popular theory is Abrams’ hopes go as the turnout of African-American voters go. This is based on statistics — Democratic candidates have lost the past two elections by fewer than 250,000 votes, and close to a million eligible African Americans have declined to cast ballots.

Energize that voting bloc, and the result swings, the thinking goes.

While sound, the argument fails to account for the surge in conservative engagement. The 2016 presidential election brought disenfranchised voters to the polls, and the political narrative since has held their interest.

Getting new Democratic-leaning voters to the polls isn’t as much a key to victory as it is a matter of competitive survival.

This election, like so many before it, hinges on who the undecideds believe will better govern with their best interests in mind.

Making a business case

Given the deafening din of rhetoric surrounding Abrams, her challenge is great. She’s campaigning and canvassing, meeting voters at their town squares and doorsteps, but the negative advertising is constant — and not just against her. Attack ads aimed at Kemp tend to stain Abrams, as well, especially those that play loose with the facts.

And her positions and plans on hallmark issues — education, economic development and health care — must be explained and discussed. They don’t make for good sound bites or tweets in the “yep, I just said that” vein.

Her pitch for the governor’s job, at least in a small group setting, sounds more like a business case than a call to action.

As the election nears, voters must listen closely and consider carefully. Follow Abrams and her opponent, Kemp, on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Attend rallies and campaign stops. Block out Oct. 23 and Nov. 4 on your schedules to watch the televised debates, and stay alert for additional forums.

Georgians will decide if they agree that Abrams is a pragmatist as she claims or if another label fits more accurately.

Online: http://www.savannahnow.com

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Sept. 25

Augusta Chronicle on Tiger Woods winning the PGA Tour Championship:

Tiger’s back, despite Tiger’s back.

Perhaps a little lost in the media mayhem in Washington — but certainly not lost on the sporting world — golfing great Tiger Woods added to his already substantial legend by winning the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, the home course of another legend: Bobby Jones.

Woods survived four FedEx playoff tournaments, and four back surgeries before them, to win a tournament for the first time in five years, his 80th overall. Sam Snead won the most — so far — at 82.

As extraordinary as Woods’ golf has been over his career, his return from scandal, disgrace, injury, multiple rehabs and chronic back pain is, as Cameron Morfit writes at PGATour.com, “one of the most improbable comebacks in sports.” Ever. In any sport.

Perhaps it seemed improbable, if not impossible, because we don’t, as his caddie Joe LaCava notes, have any idea whatsoever how hard Woods has toiled in rare moments of obscurity in order to get back. And maybe because we’ve forgotten the grit he showed 10 years ago in winning the U.S. Open on the 19th hole of an 18-hole playoff. After tying Rocco Mediate with a birdie at 18 in regulation. All on a knee with torn ligaments and a lower leg with a double stress fracture.

Knowing history when they’re walking in it, the madding crowd following Woods to the 18th green Sunday would’ve been a match for Arnie’s Army, or any other one for that matter. The best shot of the day may have been the one from the blimp overhead, the only one to capture the magnitude of either the horde or the moment.

We don’t know what’s in Tiger Woods’ heart, except for tenacity. But there’s nothing quite so transcendent as a story of redemption. And this had all the earmarks of an epic one.

Online: http://www.augustachronicle.com/

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Sept. 24

The Brunswick News on bringing suicide prevention awareness to students:

It’s easy to wax nostalgic about your teenage years the older you get. Our memories usually focus on the good times — partying with friends, making a big play in a game, etc. — while the more awkward moments are lost to the sands of time.

Those moments still exist for kids and teens today and in the age of social media, those moments can become exasperated. It can be compounded further if the teen is one of five who have already developed a mental health condition by the age of 14.

That’s one of the stats Brooke Baskin, a counseling professional at St. Simons By the Sea, told Frederica Academy students when she met with them as part of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

“This can be very scary if you don’t know what to look for, what’s going on, what resources are available,” Baskin said.

Laura Nivens, counselor of the Upper School at Frederica Academy, said the school has annually provided literature about suicide prevention, but chose to bring in Baskin to talk with students this year instead of just doing pamphlets.

We applaud Frederica’s effort to help educate students on the problem. The biggest problem with mental health issues in the country is the stigma attached to them. That stigma leads people to just stay silent instead of talking about their problems so a solution can be found.

Glynn County Schools have also gotten involved in the discussion by joining other school districts across the nation in a campaign to end social isolation, bullying and youth violence as part of both National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but also National Bullying Prevention Month in October.

There are warning signs that may be detectable if someone is contemplating suicide, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness. Those signs include threats or comments about killing themselves, increased alcohol or drug use, aggressive behavior, social withdrawal from friends, family and the community, dramatic mood swings, talking, writing or thinking about death and impulsive or reckless behavior.

If you see those signs and suspect that someone you know needs help or if you need yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifetime at 800-273-8255.

It’s time to eliminate the stigma around mental health issues and get those in danger the help they desperately need.

Online: https://thebrunswicknews.com/

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