There is an old joke about a preacher who wanted to know what profession his son would choose when he grew older.
As a test, the preacher left a Bible, a silver dollar and a bottle of whiskey on a table in the boy’s room. The idea was that if the son picked up the Bible, he would be a preacher like his father. If he picked up the silver dollar, he would be a businessman. If he picked up the whiskey bottle, he would be a no-good drunkard.
Later that day, the boy returned home from school and walked into his room. As his father watched from his hiding place, the son pocketed the silver dollar, took a big swig of whiskey and put the Bible under his arm.
“Lord have mercy,” the old man whispered, “He’s gonna be a politician!”
Of course not all politicians are drunk, greedy, Bible thumpers, but – as a whole – they are looked upon as even less respectable than lawyers and journalists.
So, what are the voters to make of a preacher who wants to be a politician and a politician who preaches he is anything but?
We’ll find out August 10 when voters decide whether former pastor Jody Hice or political insider Rob Woodall should be the Republican nominee for the 7th Congressional District seat.
Though my hopes of seeing citizen-statesman Jef Fincher elected to Congress have been dashed, I am very pleased that Hice upset Clay Cox to secure a slot in the runoff.
Hice ran a strong second in my deliberations and I have no qualms casting a vote for him on August 10.
Hice is strongly conservative and seems to be a very principled man. Taking on the ACLU and the IRS requires an intestinal fortitude that most politicians lack. Woodall has accused Hice of undertaking both causes for publicity reasons. So what? Both cases needed to be publicized and kudos to Hice for having the guts to do it.
Hice is firmly opposed to illegal immigration, has some sense about him when it comes to what changes would be necessary to implement the FairTax and makes no bones about his intent to fight what he sees as the socialist agenda of the current administration.
Woodall, on the other hand, spends all his time talking about what a great secretary he was to John Linder. In a debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club, Woodall even went so far as to refer to himself as Linder’s “partner” in Washington.
Every time I see Rob Woodall, I am reminded of the term Scarlett O’ Hara used in Gone with the Wind when complaining about Melanie Wilkes: mealy-mouthed.
Give me someone with the firmness of conviction to post a hammer and sickle on a billboard criticizing the current administration any day.
Hice, above all else, is passionate about his beliefs. Woodall seems passionate only about remaining in Washington for another 18 years.
When I was a child, we had a pastor at my Southern Baptist church who impressed me with his passion for the Lord. As I was only five or six at the time, I cannot quote his sermons, but I can recount his delivery.
He would begin his sermons standing calmly behind the pulpit in his three piece polyester suit. Within minutes, he would commence to pacing back and forth across the stage. Before long, the blazer would come off and get tossed across his chair next to the minister of music. A few minutes later, the vest would fly across the stage. As the sermon reached its climax, the tie would come off, the sleeves would get pushed up and, before you know it, we were – as the old joke goes – singing “Just as I Am” until we almost weren’t.
I may not recall exactly what he said during those sermons, but I know he meant it. I think Hice has that same passion for this job. As he said during the Atlanta Press Club debate, “I am committed to give everything to this cause.”
I believe he will and I believe it is that kind of passion that will make him a great asset for the people of the 7th district.
Kristi Reed is a reporter for the Barrow Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.