Friday, August 24, 2007

To Whom Do I Owe the Honor?

My hometown newspaper is promoting retired Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn for President. A front-page article in the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution, recalled his extraordinarily respectable career in the U.S. Senate, much of it as Chairman of the important Senate Armed Services Committee, and his expertise on matters of national defense. Little doubt remained that the favorite son was more qualified than anyone else. Nonetheless, I do not believe the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has heard the deep and haunting resonance of the campaign cry of Illinois Senator Barak Obama: Turn the page.

I have a lot of respect for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the imprint of its history. I attended an Atlanta public elementary school and high school, each a namesake of a historical Atlanta newspaper editor, Clark Howell and Henry Grady. Another, Joel Chandler Harris, created the classic children’s literature characters of Uncle Remus, Br’er Rabbit, and Br’er Fox. Ralph McGill, Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the Atlanta Constitution, was a civil rights trailblazer in the South and hero of my youth.

My first full-time, permanent job was with the Atlanta Journal, which did its best to try to make a reporter out of me. Harold E. Davis was my city editor. He was a natural born teacher and later became Chairman of the Journalism Department of Georgia State University.

The Journal-Constitution has long been managed by decent people. When I worked there, the phones in the newsroom would ring, and when you answered them, you often heard somebody on the other end say, ”Is this the N… Lovin’ Atlanta Newspapers?” Or, if they had a somewhat larger vocabulary, “Lying, N… Lovin’ Atlanta Newspapers.” Harold Davis, a true Southern gentleman, would respond, “And to whom do I owe the honor of this call?” That rarely failed to end the conversation.

Copyright 2007 by William C. Cotter


Tina said...

Sam Nunn is a smart and sensible man who has a lot of dignity. He's from my "adopted home town" of Perry, where I have lived for many years. I think he would make a bad mistake to run as an independent. If he runs, he needs to run as a candidate in one of the two established political parties. In recent years,independent candidates have turned out to be spoilers, who sometimes did damage to the very values that they supported. (And, no, I haven't forgiven Ralph Nader.) Another fact to consider is that as much fondness as a lot of Georgians have for Nunn, the memory of the rest of the country is short where former senators are concerned.

Paw Paw Bill said...

I pretty much agree.

Tina said...

My sis chatted with Sam Nunn yesterday at a restaurant in Perry and asked him if he planned to run, and he said NO.

Paw Paw Bill said...

I don't believe what I read in the paper. It's just fun to talk about it.


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