We don’t typically venture into politics in the RIA Compliance Blog except to explain or predict regulatory trends, and this post is no exception. But something happened recently in the political realm that made me want to explain to non-Georgia natives how much we native Georgians really love our state.
In case you haven’t heard, the President of the United States claims that the recent presidential election held here in our home state of Georgia was fraudulent. This past weekend, he telephoned our Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to explain the many reasons for his belief.
Near the end of the call, President Trump informed Raffensperger that his office has a list of about 4,500 people who had moved away from Georgia prior to the 2020 election but voted in the election anyway. Raffensperger’s attorney informed the President that the Secretary of State’s office has investigated the names on that list and has thus far has concluded that all the people on the list once lived in Georgia, moved out of state, then moved back to Georgia legitimately. This response truly perplexed President Trump, who said:
“How many people do that? They moved out, and then they said, ‘Ah, to hell with it, I’ll move back.’ You know, it doesn’t sound like a very normal — you mean, they moved out, and what, they missed it so much that they wanted to move back in? It’s crazy.”
With due respect to the President, that’s not crazy at all. It’s a proven fact that people who leave Georgia miss it so much they can’t wait to move back!
One of Georgia’s most beloved humorists, Lewis Grizzard, grew up in Moreland, Georgia, just a few miles from my hometown of LaGrange. At 28, he moved to Chicago and wrote for the Tribune for five years during the 1970s. While covering the Masters golf tournament in 1977, Grizzard had an epiphany:
I was standing on Number 16 on an April Sunday that was spectacular. It was warm and cloudless. There was the green of the turf, the blue of the sky, the pink of the azaleas. I would be catching a flight in a few hours, back to Chicago. I’d called the office earlier. They said it was snowing . . . I vowed at that moment, I’d never miss another Georgia spring.
And he didn’t. It seems in Grizzard’s case, enduring five frozen Chicago winters was enough to drive him back to Georgia for good.
The urge of wandering Georgians to return is a well-known phenomenon, memorialized in song by the English songwriter Mick Ralphs of the rock band Bad Company. It seems an “old hound dog/ roamin’ around, oh Lord” eventually vows “I’m on my way back to Georgia.”
In another song written by Gladys Knight, the Atlanta-born Empress of Soul, a would-be movie star’s dreams died in Los Angeles, a city that “proved too much for the man.” He decided he must go back to Georgia “to find what’s left of … a world he left behind not so long ago,” a world that embodied “a simpler place and time.” In case you haven’t figured out the song title yet, here’s a hint: he came back to Georgia by a form of rail transportation that departed at 12:00 a.m.
If you only know one song written about Georgia, it’s probably Georgia on My Mind, written by Hoagy Carmichael and famously recorded by Ray Charles. The song perfectly captures the urge to return. Though other arms reach out to us, still in peaceful dreams we see the road leads back here.
Apparently, the urge to return to Georgia doesn’t end when you die. Marietta, Georgia-born songwriter Doug Stone wrote a song in which the singer reckoned that, instead of having to stick around in a relationship with his cheating spouse, he would be “better off in a pine box on a slow train back to Georgia.” I wonder if we have accidentally stumbled upon an election fraud twofer – a dead, non-resident voter!
I myself lived in South Carolina for four years while attending college before returning to Georgia. I had an apartment and a real mailing address in South Carolina – go figure. I also have a brother who was born and raised in Georgia, lived in Alabama for a few years while he attended college, then moved back to Georgia. My wife was raised in the Atlanta suburbs, went to college in South Carolina, moved back to Atlanta, moved to D.C., then to New York, then back to Atlanta. Several other attorneys at our firm and a good many of our professional colleagues left Georgia only to return.
Now that I stop and think about it, I’m fairly certain there must be more than 4,500 people who fall into this category and are currently properly registered as Georgia voters. Maybe Congress, with its newfound interest in investigating state elections, will appoint a special committee to find out why the President’s list of Georgia round-trippers is so short.
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