Opinion

April 16, 2013

Bowen Craig: Strange beasts in our government

Jimmy Carter saw one on Sept. 12, 1973. Way back when he was the governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter saw a UFO in Statesboro. He was there to learn about and talk with Georgians about local issues on a trip that he called Operation Feedback (why do politicians feel the need to label their movements with these quasi-military/vaguely-Romper Roomish titles?). He said, “It was about 30 degrees above the horizon and looked about as large as the moon. It got smaller and changed to a reddish color and then got larger again.”

Honestly, we Georgians see a lot more UFOs than we do elected representatives actually learning about what matters to us. For real, what the UFO enthusiasts call the Troup-Heard corridor in middle Georgia is alien vessel sighting central. It’s like the Golden Globe awards for seeing little green or gray men aerial vehicles, the second-tier showcase for snazzy new flying machines. California and Nevada are clearly the Academy Awards, but we’re in the mix, maybe only broadcast on basic cable, but there.

Forcing a new Atlanta stadium down our throats and then finding new, exciting and different ways to make us pay for it just seems so much more common than an occasional flying saucer sighting. We haven’t even had time for the Georgia Dome to rust and now we need a new stadium? Almost no one in the tax-paying, non-off-shore-tax-shelter-having community, except for the politicians who clearly serve them and not us, wanted this new stadium. And yet, we’re going to have it and have to pay for it.

The long-time Georgia senator Richard B. Russell saw a UFO when he was on a trip through the Trans-Caucasian region in what was then the Soviet Union, in 1955 (if you don’t know about him, well that’s sad since there must be 200 things named for him in this state). Jimmy Carter’s seeing a UFO kind of fits with his happy, slightly-off kilter, wide-eyed dreamer image, but Richard Russell was a lot more stodgy and a lot less loopy. Sure, he saw his in Russia, but clearly the aliens like to show themselves to residents of the Peach State.

If only our representatives would show themselves to be really alive to us. Voting for “ethics reform” laws with so many loopholes that contractors could legally will their first-born daughters to the Georgia Republican caucus isn’t actually ethically reforming anything. We’ve passed legislative ethics reform laws in Georgia before. Look it up.

We’re so habitually mad with these guys that we’ve had to do this before, and those “reforms” have been so toothless and tiny (much like aliens) that we’ve had to reform the reforms. What is it that the psychiatric community says is the definition of insanity? Granted, I’m getting this from courtroom TV shows, but it says that the legal definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

I have a friend who currently lives outside of the great state of Georgia, but when he lived here he saw a giant cigar tube-shaped vessel in the sky one night in an abandoned former cornfield. It affected him deeply, and, since I trust my friends more than I trust politicians, I believed him. For the record, he was relatively sober at the time, if that’s what you base your belief in these many local UFO sightings on. Why do we use the excuse of alcohol intake to measure our trust level? Most of the great, revelatory, life-changing moments in many of our lives involve at least some alcohol.

And our legislators were clearly hitting the sauce when they tried to force statewide grid-pattern TSPLOST (transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) bills on us not too long ago. Unlike a new Atlanta stadium, we do probably need better roads, but in a democracy (if that’s what we indeed are) we should, theoretically, have a say in some decisions. And when we do get to have a say, it amazes me how often our leaders’ stances don’t reflect what we actually want.

I’m sure that alien societies have evolved past these strange, petty, largely-self interested partially-gamed stratagems. It amazes me that we think that a society which could build ships for interstellar travel would want to come here and conquer or kill us. We can conceive of them having the smarts to travel across the universe, but we can’t think that they could possibly think in any non-human ways. We can’t help but think that they think like conquistadors or Afrikaners. Of course they want to own us. That’s what humanoids do, even if they are the height of smallish fourth-graders and have evolved past the need for genitals.

From what I’ve noticed, if the aliens have visited the Peach State, they’re mainly here to observe. They might interact a bit, but it’s selective, and they’re not here to force their agenda down our throats.

If only our own politicians were as advanced.

Bowen Craig is a former Dalton resident now residing in Athens. He might have seen a UFO after a Dalton High School disco back in the early 1990s.

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