I strongly believe GA Democrats should not support the framework of a Republican proposal that will hurt kids by cutting early childhood education and barring access to higher education. Yeah, I know I'm not under the Gold Dome or an insider and that I lost my election by an enormous margin. In fact, a whole hell of a lot of Democrats more impressive than me got shellacked all over the country- not just in GA. However, that does not mean the Tea Party has some perverted mandate to destroy all of the great programs our state has adopted. Frankly, a movement to support the framework for cutting pre-kindergarten and the HOPE Scholarship is patently uninspiring. The youth of GA (an unquestionably vital Democratic constituency) do not ask for bi-partisan agreements that create barriers to their dreams and are certainly not inspired by them. Rather, the youth are pleading for HOPE to be protected and are only satisfied by action. Will GA Democrats fight to protect HOPE and pre-K, or be seen as taking it away by playing inside baseball with the GA Republicans? The same Republicans who have put forth perhaps the most shockingly awful legislative agenda in the nation: an unconstitutional AZ-style immigration bill, innumerable attacks on a woman's fundamental right to choose, cuts to corporate taxes, and the list goes on.
Right now, youth in Athens and elsewhere are taking notice. From what I have heard, there is near unanimity of outrage over the accommodating language that has sailed out of Democratic offices. "But this plan will save HOPE" you might hear. Want to really save HOPE? Fight to raise taxes on people who can afford to pay- like the millionaires who have enjoyed a full recovery of the stock market. Fight to create a tiered cap on income to determine HOPE eligibility because no one wants to subsidize the purchase of BMW's for stuck-up brats who get to go to UGA for free. Do ANYTHING except agree to cut the program. If we enable a Republican victory this time, they will not hesitate to fight for more cuts in the future. Make them own the cuts alone, so they can be held accountable come November. Meanwhile, we can build an army of teed-off college students to throw them out of office. We can't do that if Democrats are seen as part of the problem.
Here's where I claim full responsibility. Ultimately, the GA Republican Tea Party will continue its assault on our democratic government until progressives all work and communicate together to demand they stop. That's when GA Democrats will inspire people. That's when GA Democrats will win back the majority.
Our elected leaders cannot and should not shoulder the burden alone. It is up to all of us to answer the call to action to ensure all GA kids have an opportunity to live a life of human dignity. Fight to take early childhood education and the HOPE scholarship OFF of the chopping block. We have the power to make it so.