Opponents of Georgia’s election reforms have gone all out in expressing their ire. President Biden groused about the law being “Jim Crow on steroids” or, confusingly, “Jim Eagle,” saying it was “sick” to restrict voting hours. But even the Washington Post felt it necessary to call out the president for that last falsehood, since the new law does nothing of the kind.
From the panic on the left you’d think the 1965 Voting Rights Act had been nullified. But the hyperbole over the Georgia reforms betrays a shocking lack of historical knowledge about what real voter suppression looked like. There are no literacy tests in the new law, no grandfather clauses, no requirements to recite random parts of the Constitution, no limits on voter registration, no segregated polling places, no state-sanctioned violence, nothing of the kind. Critics of the law should spend more time studying history instead of erasing it.
Don’t follow the boycott Georgia movement
The saddest response has been the call to boycott Georgia, a cancel-culture move that will harm everyday Georgians and have zero impact on the law or the upcoming elections. It is especially insensitive as Georgians struggle to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than tearing the Peach State down, people should be finding ways to make a positive difference. In that spirit, here are nine ways to thwart the boycott:
Check Out TV and Films Made in Georgia: Georgia has been taking over media creation in recent years, and there are currently over 50 productions filming in the state. Whether it’s “Archer,” or “Lego Master,” or “Sweet Magnolias” or the African American-themed reboot of “The Wonder Years,” you can find a Georgia-based movie or TV show to suit your tastes.
Georgia state welcome sign. (Photo: Getty Images)
Go to a baseball game: This one might seem counter-intuitive, since Major League Baseball has jumped on the boycott bandwagon and yanked the 2021 All Star Game, with the Biden administration’s blessing. The people hurt by this virtue-signaling decision by wealthy sports executives are the stadium workers, merchants, vendors, and of course the fans. Going to a ball game, especially when the Atlanta Braves come to your city, is way to push back against this type of elitist ego-massaging – though it would also be perfectly understandable if Georgia fans deserted MLB altogether and switched to non-professional baseball played for the love of the game.
Have an Animal Encounter: Georgia has a variety of options for animal lovers of all ages, like the North Georgia Wildlife Park, the Bear Hollow Zoo, or Build an Ark Animal Rescue. You could also check out the Georgia Aquarium. Georgia is also a great place for hunting and fishing if you prefer those kinds of encounters.
See Civil War Sites: Georgia is home to many important sites relevant to the Civil War, such as Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, and Andersonville Prison. There is also the National Civil War Naval Museum and the Atlanta History Center. Learning, understand and preserving history is critical in these revisionist times, especially when echoes of those days continue to resonate in contemporary national politics.
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Learn About Civil Rights: Georgia was a center for the 20th century struggle for racial equality and civil rights. There are many places to learn about the civil rights movement, such as the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. It is important to have a deep and nuanced perspective on this important issue that you frankly will never get from the Twitter-fueled nonsense that pervades the political debate today.
History and culture to explore in Georgia
High Flight: If you are an airplane buff, the Museum of Aviation near Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia is a must-see, with 85 historic U.S. Air Force aircraft and other exhibits. Also check out the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force with its stories of heroism and sacrifice in the Second World War. The World War Two Home Front Museum is another good stop if you are interested in that era. Just don’t fly Delta Airlines to Georgia; the company’s maladroit intrusion into the state voting law issue has led to boycott calls from conservatives and liberals alike.
Jammin’ in Georgia: Georgia has a rich musical past and present, with everything from Country to Jazz to Hip-hop, from R&B to the B-52s. Maybe stop by Ray Charles Plaza or enjoy bluegrass and gospel at the Woodbine Opry, or check out the state’s many upcoming music festivals. Whatever old sweet songs you like, keep Georgia on your mind.
The Great Outdoors: In Georgia you can enjoy beaches, the mountains, forests, cityscapes, all manner of outdoor activities. These might be good options for people more concerned about the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and seeking some more serious social distance. Try hiking, boating, biking, hang-gliding — or just sitting on the sand watching the waves.
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When You’ve Done Everything Else: Finally, go see the Georgia Guidestones, also called America’s Stonehenge. This mystery monument erected anonymously in 1979 consists of massive stone slabs inscribed with ten cryptic messages repeated in eight different languages. Some say it is satanic, or part of a New World Order conspiracy. John Cage and Yoko Ono wrote a really bad song about it. And it still makes more sense than the Georgia boycott.
James S. Robbins, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors and author of “This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive,” has taught at the National Defense University and the Marine Corps University and served as a special assistant in the office of the secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration. Follow him on Twitter: @James_Robbins
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