There were some interesting tidbits from the weekend’s forums, starting with Saturday morning’s discussion on ethics, morality and principles at the First Baptist Church of Rincon’s memorial chapel and ending with the acid-toned Senate forum Saturday night at Savannah Arts Academy.
I was struck by the first comment of the day, from 12th District candidate John Stone.
“I don’t ever want to use my Christianity or Christian beliefs to get a vote,” he said. “I think that’s wrong. Lord help me if I ever use the Lord to get a political advantage.”
Saturday night, when asked how they would change the tax code, Derrick Grayson drew hoots and hollers as he declared, “I would abolish the IRS.” Art Gardner, the next candidate to speak, said that sounded all well and good but that was something that wasn’t going to happen.
David Perdue’s campaign staff passed out copies of the latest polls, conducted by three Atlanta TV stations, that showed Perdue with anywhere from a two-point to a 10-point lead over his nearest competitor, Jack Kingston. He castigated the three incumbent congressmen for not having developed an energy policy during their time in office — even though Kingston himself has worked under five different speakers of the House since he was first sworn into the 1st District seat.
I believe it was Paul Broun who Saturday morning mentioned — and you’d have to show your age a little to know this — the guy who used to pop up at all the big sporting events with the rainbow wig and the John 3:16 shirt. He talked about how seeing that guy and that shirt made him think about his connection with God.
The guy in the wig and shirt was Rollen Stewart, known as Rockin’ Rollen Stewart. You haven’t seen him on TV much in the last few years because he’s doing three life terms for kidnapping.
The Senate candidates at Saturday night’s forum were asked who their favorite American was. If they need any help with that in the future, I have a suggestion — Jeremiah Denton.
Before Denton was elected to the same august body to which the lady and gentlemen seek entry, he had been a U.S. Navy flyer, shot down in combat, captured and held by the North Vietnamese for years. They trotted him out for a propaganda piece and during his interview, in which he refused to denounce his government and its actions, he blinked his eyes repeatedly.
Eventually, U.S. intelligence saw the film and noticed his eye blinks. And they eventually understood the message he was sending in Morse code — torture. Denton was trying to tell the world what his captors were up to and his treatment only worsened. He was at long last repatriated and was elected to the Senate from Alabama. He died a week ago.
You may disagree with his views — Denton was a staunch social conservative — but not with his courage, especially at the brutal treatment for years at the hands of the North Vietnamese.