Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently took a rather quixotic stance to take on the issue of segregation in the year 2013. The group Better Georgia recently asked Deal if he publicly supported efforts by Wilcox County High School students to achieved a racially integrated prom. Deal's spokesperson, Brian Robinson, had quite the response. In an e-mail he said, "This is a leftist front group for the state Democratic Party and we're not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt."
Wilcox County High School was desegregated 30 years ago, but ever since then has had separate proms for white and African American students to this day. The practice has continued because the proms are privately funded. If the school funded racially segregated proms, it would be probably be stopped immediately. But since segregation is usually thought of as a bad thing in the year 2013, that makes Governor Deal's refusal to even comment on efforts at integration more puzzling.
The group Better Georgia asked several state officials, both Republicans and Democratic, to express support for the efforts for an integrated prom. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have expressed their support such as State Representative Edward Lindsey, a Republican, the State House majority whip, Republican Representative Buzz Brockway, and State Senator Steve Henson, a Democrat and Senate minority leader.
Governor Deal’s opposition appears to be rooted in the fact that Better Georgia asked. Better Georgia describes itself as a group that will "advocate progressive solutions to the problems facing Georgia." Even though Deal may disagree with many of the issues and solutions the group proposes, joining the group to bipartisianly denounce, (not even act! Just denounce) an obviously racist and archaic tradition was apparently a bridge too far.
Better Georgia was quick to respond. Emphasizing that they asked and had members of both sides of the aisle come out in support of an integrated prom, the group put out a release that said:
"Gov. Deal has once again proven that he would rather call us names than do the right thing.
Better Georgia has called on ALL elected officials to support these students who are leaders in their community. We are calling on Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents.
This is not a partisan issue."
They are calling for people to contact the governor in order to voice their displeasure with his refusal to take a stand against segregation in 2013. The school principal, Chad Davis, said that school officials will consider hosting an official integrated prom in 2014. No word on whether Governor Deal will stand for it by then, but chances are not good: