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Dear Decaturish – My grandfather would be disgusted by ‘America First’ license plate

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Dear Decaturish – My grandfather would be disgusted by ‘America First’ license plate

Georgia State Capitol. Photo by Dean Hesse.

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Dear Decaturish,

My grandfather was a three-star general who fought in WWII, earning a Purple Heart when his plane was shot down over Italy. He would be appalled and disgusted if he knew Georgia license plates might soon sport the slogan America First.

He and millions of other men and women sacrificed everything to stop the plague of Nazism, Fascism, racism, and white supremacy during their lifetimes.

And here it is again, raising its ugly head in the halls of the Georgia Legislature, as GOP lawmakers vote to pass SB 507 which would put that slogan on specialty car tags in Georgia.

America First was a name that the “Greatest Generation” was very familiar with.

During the presidential election of 1944, the America First Party ran on a platform that included calls for Jews to be sterilized and deported. Around the same time, an organization called America First Inc. made a patent for a club-like weapon that was designed to murder Jews in America. The America First Committee, an anti-war group formed in 1940, faced controversy because of its support by fringe hate organizations and antisemitic, fascist-leaning members like Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and aviator Laura Ingalls. At an America First Committee rally, Lindbergh said the United States should “defend the white race against foreign invasion.” Ingalls used pro-Nazi rhetoric and straight-arm Nazi salutes on her America First speaking tour.

With so many very important bills to consider, it is inconceivable that Georgia’s 2023-24 General Assembly would waste even a minute on SB 507.
But they are.  It passed along party lines in the Senate after Steve Gooch, Senate Majority Leader, threatened his colleagues with being anti-patriotic if they didn’t vote for the bill.

Now the bill has passed “favorably” out of Committee in the House, and will likely be supported and sent to Gov. Kemp’s desk to be signed into law.

SB 507 isn’t patriotic; it’s partisan.  Sen. Gooch proclaimed that the bill promotes unity, but in fact it is clearly divisive because it only supports one presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who uses “ America First” as his campaign slogan.  Sen. Gooch said the slogan was about national pride, but how can that be true when the slogan’s historical subtext promotes religious intolerance, white supremacy, racism, fascism and anti-semitism?

If Sen. Gooch and his GOP compatriots truly wanted to offer all Georgians the opportunity to display a patriotic slogan on their car tags, why choose this one?  They obviously didn’t look any further than the slogan that represents their own party in an election year.  This kind of partisanship, achieved through majority power, has no place in our government.  SB 507 can still be stopped if we all contact our House representatives and Gov. Kemp to oppose the bill.

If for no one else, we need to stop this bill for all of those like my grandfather who risked their lives as true patriots.

— Caroline Stover

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