The Real National Emergency

Maybe you’ve heard this one before…

September, 1787.  Ben Franklin, the oldest of the Framers is exiting Constitution Hall in Philadelphia at the closing of the Constitutional Convention.  A crowd approaches him and asks what kind of government the delegates had created.

Old Ben replies, “A Republic, if you can keep it”.

Flash forward to February 15, 2019.

In the face of yet another government shutdown, Congress delivers the best possible compromise legislation (in our current political climate) to keep the government open despite deep differences of opinion on what should be done about our southern border.  It contains very little funding for a small stretch of barrier on the border.

The president agrees to sign the legislation, but also declares a “national emergency” for the “crisis” at the southern border so he can divert funds to build his wall.  In his announcement, he claimed that he “…could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this”.

With that announcement, he turned a make believe national “emergency” into a very real constitutional one.

The Framers knew what they were doing when they placed the checkbook in the hands of Congress.  Section 9 of the Constitution states:

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law

In 1976, Congress passed the National Emergencies Act, formalizing the emergency powers of the President.  The Act allows presidents to bypass Congress in a national emergency situation in order to speed aid to those in need during an emergency situation.

However, the National Emergencies Act does not define what an emergency actually is.

So, is this border situation a national emergency?  Let’s see…

  • Trump began his 2016 campaign in 2015 by using scare tactics about Mexico sending us “rapists” and “criminals”.  In his very first public appearance as a candidate, he vowed to build a wall
  • The GOP controlled both houses of Congress from 2017 until 2019 and could not agree on funding for the wall amongst themselves
  • Total border apprehensions have dropped from a peak of 1.6 million in fiscal year 2000 to a total of 300 thousand in FY 2017
  • The timing and verbiage used in the declaration of this particular emergency are suspect:
    • Announced while simultaneously signing into law a spending bill in which the president had hoped to receive funds for his campaign-promise wall
    • He actually had the audacity to say during this announcement that he “didn’t need to do it”.  What kind of national emergency situation is optional?

Our friends on the other side like to say that any objection to this is just “Trump hating” and that other presidents have declared emergencies too.  While many of us do oppose anything the man says, this is not a partisan issue.   We are not objecting to him declaring a national emergency, we should all be appalled at his declaration of this national emergency, regardless of our political beliefs.

Why?  Because it is clear that his only motivation for this is because he didn’t get what he wanted from Congress in terms of funding for his wall.  That may be an emergency for Mr. Trump, but it is not a national emergency.

The system of checks & balances and the frequent elections in the House of Representatives as designed by our Founding Fathers is working as designed.  In 2016, the people may have elected Trump fairly, but in 2018 the people also opted to give Democrats a house of Congress fairly (well, mostly, but that’s another post).  The Democrat-led House of Representatives successfully negotiated a compromise on border security with the other party.  The fact that it did not fit in with Mr. Trump’s political plans is not an emergency.  It is the voice of the people being heard.

If this national emergency is allowed to stand, we should make no mistake:  Our Republic is very much in danger.  Elected presidents of republican states DO NOT abuse executive authority to override the legislature.  Dictators do.

And to bring this home, it is important to note that our representative in Congress is cheering on the destruction of our republic.  Jody Hice (R-GA10) has publicly declared that he stands with Trump on this on national TV (on Fox News, of course).

Again, this is not a partisan issue.  This is an abuse of power and a full-on assault on the Constitution that cannot be allowed to stand.

Ben Franklin had another great quote:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Our hyper partisan times combined with recent GOP fear mongering is very close to destroying our republic.  We must stay alert.

Democratic Party of Georgia Officer Elections!

On January 26, 2019 Democrats from all over the state will converge in Atlanta for the state party meeting, and new DPG officers will be elected.

The DPG website has a listing of all offices and candidates for each.  Of interest to us here in Oconee are:

  • Chair
  • First Vice Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Vice Chair for Constituency Groups
  • Vice Chair of Congressional District Chairs and County Party Liason
  • Vice Chair of Candidate Recruitment
  • CD (Congressional District) 10

See the full list at the DPG Website

Our Next Governor’s Guidance On Ballot Measures

Oconee County, you asked and we have answers!

Ballot amendments are always hard to decipher.  Too often they are worded to sound great, but are really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Democratic Candidate Stacy Abrams has published her own guidance on these measures just in time for voting to begin.  She not only explains shares how she plans to vote, but explains the amendments in plain language and lists pros and cons for each one as well.  Please see the document linked below to see how your next Governor plans to vote!

Document is here:  Guidance on Proposed Constitutional Amendments.

A Message From Rep. Wallace (GA 119)

From Our Representative Jonathan Wallace:

Last week, I was disappointed to see a federal court reject a request that Georgia switch to paper ballots for this November’s election. Given the known weaknesses of Georgia’s voting technology, I believe paper ballots would give us the most confidence that every vote will be counted.

There are still steps we can all take, however, to protect our votes this year and going forward.

1. This year, consider voting by mail. You may not be able to cast a paper ballot on Election Day, but you can still cast one by voting absentee. Just mail an absentee ballot request form to your County Board of Elections, and they will send you your ballot. Then complete it, and mail it back.

You can download a ballot request form here.

In Athens, mail your request form to:

Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections

P.O. Box 1828

Athens, Georgia 30603

In Oconee, mail your request form to:

Oconee County Board of Elections & Registration

P.O. Box 958

Watkinsville, Georgia, 30677

For more guidance on voting absentee in Georgia, check out this great twitter thread by the election integrity activist Marilyn Marks.

2.  Support candidates who will fight for fair elections. Our current state government may have failed to safeguard our elections, but we can change that by electing officials who will protect the right to vote.

This year I sponsored a bill that would allow Georgians to pre-register to vote when they are 16, so their registration becomes automatic when they turn 18. Let’s make it easier to vote, not harder. I support an independent redistricting commission that will put an end to partisan gerrymandering. And as I recently had a chance to explain in this interview with Civicist, I’m ready to use my tech background to ensure Georgia’s voting technology is reliable and secure.

Let’s continue this important work together. I’m grateful for any support you can offer today.


September Meeting Canceled

Dear Oconee County Democrats,

We have decided to cancel our meeting  for this Tuesday.We want to give everyone the opportunity to attend  the Community Engagement meeting which is scheduled from 6 pm-9 pm on the same evening. We encourage all of you to attend and show continued support for our two school board candidates Fran Thompson and Andrea Wellnitz.

The purpose of their meeting is for community members to provide input as OCS begins its Strategic Planning Process.The set up will be small groups where individuals will have opportunities to discuss and identify internal and external challenges, growth areas, opportunities, and success of the school system. Light refreshments will be served.

Our committee has procured 100 Abrams signs for our county. Angie Eells and Tracey Wyatt will be available at Keba from 5:15 pm to 7:00 pm for those of you who would like to purchase a sign, say hello or  eat a great dinner. Our cost was $3 a sign but we are asking for a $5 donation with the proceeds going back into getting our local candidates elected. We are giving signs away in exchange for one hour of volunteer time. We will have more details for you there.

We believe this event is too important for folks to miss or have to choose. See you next month ON THURSDAY October 18th at 6:30 pm at the Chamber of Commerce. Keep checking our calendar, your emails and the website for everything you need to know about the campaign season and how you can help TURN GA BLUE.

In solidarity,

Angie M Eells

Chair of OCDC

Community Engagement Meeting Sept. 18

Oconee Young Democrats Speak Up

If this doesn’t give you faith in the next generation, I’m not sure what will!  Carter Watson is a student at Oconee High School and he penned the following letter to Angie Eells about an inspiring visit from Jonathan Wallace to OCHS’ Young Democrats Club:

On Wednesday, August 22, 2018, State Representative Jonathan Wallace came to speak to our humble club, the Oconee County Young Democrats. As a member of the club and a fan of Wallace, not just because of his policy positions, but in his success in flipping a gerrymandered Republican district blue, I was excited to meet him. As one of the first people in the class, our club sponsor, Mrs. Jennifer Strickland, sent me to the front office to escort him to our class. There I had the opportunity to shake his hand and to compliment his work on protecting sanctuary cities like Atlanta.

When we got back to the classroom, he started out by talking about reelection. Since we are under 100 days away from election day and in a historically Republican district, Representative Wallace understandably had the campaign in mind. He spoke to us about how important it is for him to bring out the vote by canvasing, a process which he very much enjoys. He told us a story about a woman whom he met whilst canvasing that used to walk to town in the 1940s to listen to FDR’s fireside chats. He told us that this woman has a large family of Democrats, all of which voted for him and are going to vote for him again.

After discussing his reelection, he described what he has been focusing on in the state house. He said that his three top priorities in the state house is to learn as much as he can, establish a reputation, and spread his knowledge on cybersecurity. He discussed how he was unable to kill a bill related to cybersecurity, but he later was able to help convince Governor Deal to veto it. He also described his ongoing efforts to implement an important regulation to rental car companies, which would require them to erase all synced data to cars which people may have accidentally synced. These efforts and more is what his focus is on and why it is important we keep him in office.

One thing that I took to heart was Wallace’s rhetoric when he talked about his opposition in the upcoming election. The kindness and non-hostile approach he took when someone asked him about his opposition or the Republican party as a whole is exactly what we need right now in our government, both at the state and federal levels. The general hostility in this country toward people who have conflicting values or opinions needs to change, and that all begins with elected officials. His honest, kind rhetoric is exactly what we need right now, and we are incredibly lucky to have him representing us.

It was absolutely excellent to have had the privilege to meet and listen to our representative! While he does have a tough reelection ahead, I believe that he can win over the hearts and minds of the people of which he disagrees and go back to the state house again next year.

~ Carter Watson

We couldn’t agree more, Carter!  Hope to see you and your friends on the canvassing trail this fall!

A Message from the OCDC Chair

Hello everyone.

I am sending you this message to thank you for allowing me to represent Oconee County this Saturday at the 2018 Georgia Democratic State Convention as your State Committee member. I’ve never been to a State Convention before so I am looking forward to learning more about how our politics work at the state level. We will take lots of pictures and video to share. Tracey Wyatt and Dan Matthews will both be joining me as our delegate and alternate.

There are several different caucuses that Dan, Tracey and I are able attend. Please post a comment below to let us know which of these are important to you and we will each attempt to attend one and report back.

I heard we had a great meeting on Tuesday. Thank you to Ann Stoneburner and to everyone who contributed to the meeting.  Please know that as campaign season heats up you will begin to receive more emails regarding our ground game in getting all democrats on the ticket elected. If you are not yet on the email list, please come to an event and know that our meetings always remain open to the media and public.

If you haven’t donated to OCDC or to a candidate, please consider donating to them today. Any amount helps but I challenge you to try to find $50 and donate. Lots of people will be working around the clock, taking off work, making calls, knocking on doors, getting literature printed, hosting fund raisers and all of this costs money. If we want publicly funded elections and to eventually overturn Citizens United then we must publicly fund elections and walk the walk. 🙂

With that, I and others are taking off election day. If you are able to request off now to make yourself available please do so. More details about how you can help will be available as we get closer to November.

My next task is to visit the YD at the high schools and get them involved. I’ll be at the Pride Booth and the art auction. Tracey and I have a meeting with a Statewide Coordinator for the Democratic Party of Georgia next week so we will know exactly how they want to use us and what makes the most sense in supporting all candidates down the ballot. Oh, and if you haven’t attend the Social Hour, you are missing out, please join us.

Lastly, if you feel so moved by what you see in the news or you just have some self reflecting thoughts that might inspire, move or impact others in a meaningful way, then write a blog  of 300-500 words and submit to It will be reviewed by another person and edited so don’t let a “grammar fear” keep you from letting others know what’s on your mind.

I appreciate all of you.

In solidarity,

Angie M. Eells

Chair, Oconee County Democratic Committee

For Fans of Transparent Politics

For those who are fans of transparency in the political process, you may be interested to know that the Oconee County GOP has informed Lee Becker of Oconee County Observations that he is no longer allowed to record the GOP meetings – or even take notes – until after the General Election on November 6.

According to Dr. Becker, the media ban was delivered to him via personal email by the Oconee County GOP chair, Tammy Gilland.  In that message, Mrs. Gilland stated that the ban applies to all media outlets.  Dr. Becker states in his blog that he has followed up with several media contacts in the area and none have received the same message from the Oconee County GOP.

For those that are not aware of Dr. Becker’s blog, it is a wealth of information about almost anything going on in Oconee County and is a wonderful way to keep informed of local news and community developments.

The Oconee County Democrats would like to take this opportunity to remind all citizens that our meetings are open to the public and we welcome all media coverage.

OCDC meetings are currently held on the third Tuesday of the month at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, but are moving to the third Thursday of the month, beginning October 2018.


Oconee Democrat Fashions Have Arrived!

Would you rather dress like a Republican or a Democrat?

Here’s your chance to show your OC Democrat pride, just in time for fall!  Go to the OC Democrat store on to order T-Shirts, Sweats, even Jackets!

The Oconee County Democrats logo will be printed on high-quality clothing (Hanes, Champion, even Patagonia!) and sent to your home.

Proceeds from the sale will support the Oconee County Democrats and help Democratic candidates in Oconee County win races this fall!

Show your pride!

Letter To The Editor – Oconee Enterprise

See below for a letter published in the August 2, 2018 Oconee Enterprise, written by Oconee Democrats’ own Alice Zwaagstra!

Great job, Alice, we couldn’t agree more!

Congress Needs Courage On Border

A few thoughts on our border/migrant situation.  Let me begin with a quote from a letter to the Enterprise dated July 19, 2018:  from Matthew 25:40, Jesus said truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.  Now, with regard to cruel and inhumane policies at our border, where to begin?  

First, I would expect our president to work with congress to pass meaningful legislation on immigration, not initiate, on his own, poorly thought out measures intended to punish, not ameliorate conditions requiring flight.  We are so fortunate here that we cannot imagine weeks of travel, mostly on foot, privation and danger to escape even worse.  Neither I, nor anyone I know, wants open borders, but we need lawmakers with the intestinal fortitude to lead and pass intelligent laws to deal with immigration.

Second, I would expect government to have adequate personnel and facilities to handle an influx of refugees, not turn them away saying “Sorry. No room at the inn.”  With no home to go to, no well-stocked refrigerator with food and no bed to sleep in, where would anyone go?  

Third, what is our government doing to ease conditions in the countries from which the migrants are coming?  Are we attacking the opioid crisis full force, since the drug trade is responsible for much of the violence and our own country of addicts requires a constant supply?  Or are we doing everything possible to prevent treatment and medical care by gutting the affordable  care act?  Are we sending well-seasoned diplomats to help El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to help quell the violence?  None of these reasonable measures are happening.

So I ask you, among the many positive things we could be doing, what are we accomplishing?  Keep the above reasonable measures in mind when you vote for members of congress this fall, because very few of them are helping.  Trump is not correct on immigration, but he is aided and abetted by those in congress meant to be a check who don’t have the backbone to speak up.

Alice Zwaagstra

Bishop, Georgia