I’m genuinely sorry to have to attack, again, a fellow Democrat before the primary. But, to echo Greg Palast, someone’s got to.
I am ashamed that State Representative Sharon Beasley-Teague, of the 65th district, is a member of our party; she has amply demonstrated both a contemptuous, supine attitude toward the needs of her district and the ideals of the Democratic Party of Georgia, and a proclivity for the type of vicious, filthy political games we’ve come to expect from Republicans.
It is doubtless well-known by now that Representative Teague has miserably failed the test of leadership. Representative Teague has compiled the third-worst attendance record of any member of the Georgia House, during which she abjectly failed to participate in numerous key meetings and votes. Furthermore, Representative Teague has repeatedly demonstrated a petulant unwillingness to vote in the interest of basic Democratic goals – her vote in favor of the amendment to the Georgia Constitution banning gay marriage being only the most egregious example. Even when speaking to strongly Democratic audiences, including the monthly breakfast gatherings held by the Fulton County Democratic Party, she has refused to offer any remote semblance of vision for her district, nor has she addressed issues including the fact that some of the students in the 65th district attend school in North Springs due to the woeful inadequacy of schools in the district. Few of Representative Teague’s own constituents are aware of her existence, even after fourteen years of “service” in the House; many of those that know her are quick to criticize her.
That said, however, Representative Teague’s disgraceful record as a Democrat and an elected official is dwarfed by the vile, sordid tactics she has resorted to during her “campaign” to retain the seat to which she apparently feels she is entitled (as she has said in nearly so many words on several occasions).
Given the poverty of Representative Teague’s legislative record, it is not surprising that her campaign has been unable to compete with that of her opponent, T.J. Copeland, due to a pathetic lack of resources. Representative Teague has therefore hijacked the campaign of Cathy Cox for her own purposes – she has distributed promotional literature (incidentally, literature printed illegally on official legislative stationery) which also includes both a Cathy Cox handbill and a grotesquely vicious anti-Taylor flyer. Representative Teague has furthermore engaged in the increasingly common practice of stealing her opponent’s yard signs. However, Representative Teague is apparently unable to produce her own yard signs in any significant quantity whatsoever, so she replaces her opponent’s yard signs not with her own, but with Cathy Cox yard signs. This “strategy”, at once mystifying and grievously ridiculous, runs directly counter to the Cox campaign’s own strategy with respect to yard signs in the 65th district; Representative Teague has apparently chosen to express her endorsement of Cox (an endorsement which has not been reciprocated by the Cox campaign, for reasons which are presumably obvious) by deliberately subverting Cox’s own campaign.
Representative Teague’s tactics reached a new low this week, however, when she and her goons pressured the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to retract its endorsement of Mr. Copeland, on grounds which are at best absurdly technical and at worst fraudulent. Mr. Copeland holds a provisional teaching certificate to teach special education students, which he was granted on being hired by the state owing to the critical need for educators in that area; he is currently working toward full certification as a teacher in Georgia. Given that fact, and furthermore that Mr. Copeland is listed as a teacher on Banneker High School’s own list of teachers and has taught special education students for four years at the school, Mr. Copeland quite reasonably indicated verbally and in writing to the AJC and specifically to editor Cynthia Tucker that he was a “teacher”. Representative Teague, however, proved more interested in pedantic semantic details than recognizing Mr. Copeland’s ongoing contributions to his community, and demanded that Tucker find that Mr. Copeland had “misled” Tucker on the grounds that he was provisionally rather than fully certified. It is nothing short of despicable to impugn the good name of an upstanding community member such as Mr. Copeland on the basis of arcane subtleties of terminology, but unfortunately Tucker capitulated to the heinous caprice of Representative Teague and retracted the AJC’s endorsement of Mr. Copeland.
It seems clear that if Representative Teague spent as much time working in good faith for the good of her constituents as she has on embarking on a personal vendetta against a man with the temerity to challenge her queenship of the 65th District, she might have made better progress on real issues her district faces that she has thus far dismissed. Instead, Representative Teague has continued her mission to bring embarrassment and dishonor to Democrats in Georgia and exemplify all that is base about the politicians who, in theory, serve us, the people.