Anti-Cobb Bias and the ASO
Does week's decision affecting the Walton and Lassiter choruses have its roots in what Tim Lee said about TSPLOST?
Why would I ask such a preposterous question?
After years of routine inclusion, the ASO Chorus has excluded these two outstanding choral programs. Granted, the ASO has come back and "clarified" its action. Apparently it didn't REALLY mean Walton and Lassiter were not "diverse" enough, it just wants to "include" a school from the inner city.
Still, the original statement is usually the closest to the truth and everything else is spin or CYA.
If you've been around long enough, you know of the love/hate relationship between Atlanta proper and its suburban neighbors, especially Cobb County. They love our money and resources and hate our politics.
Since Cobb voters declined the opportunity to participate in MARTA back in the '60s, ITP folks have accused us of being racists. Nothing could be further from the truth. We may be separatists, but NOT racists.
So, why would I bring up Tim Lee's involvement in the ASO snub? Remember back during the run-up to the TSPLOST vote, of which Mr. Lee was a major advocate? Lee quite vocally made sure that everyone knew that he thought that opposition to the TSPLOST was racially motivated.
I remember thinking at the time "How dare he! This is the Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners calling his own community racists for not wanting to sell out to a bad tax and spend program being foisted on HIS community and others.
And by the way, there was not a single county in the 10 involved in this particular referendum that voted in favor of the TSPLOST. So, either Fulton and DeKalb voters are racists or none of the voters in the 10-county area are.
By making that statement, Lee confirmed in the mind of many (most or all?) of those already prejudiced against Cobb Countians that our community was not "diverse enough" to fit in. That obviously includes the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
You might say "Bunk!" But those of us who have lived here a long time and watch the politics of the region KNOW that this anti-Cobb prejudice exists and has very real manifestations. Call it what you will: jealousy, envy or resentment. It is real and is again apparent.
And Tim Lee has again revealed his contempt for what has made Cobb County great apart from Atlanta, our fierce independence. Instead of using that to our advantage, he has mischaracterized it and allowed it to again be used as a club against us. It's too bad he did not have the depth of perception nor forethought to consider that before he made such a wrongheaded and biased statement.
Words have power, Mr. Lee. If your commitment was more to the interests of Cobb County and its residents and less to those of the City of Atlanta, our kids might still be participating in the ASO program.