ATLANTA — Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young said Georgia will be a “fiery furnace” of political intrigue in the coming year. However, he said it won’t be just a partisan contest.
One of the last remaining confidants of Martin Luther King Jr. will turn 90 in March. His friends are already planning a series of events to mark it; the first was a virtual appearance by Young, where he answered some questions.
Young was steeped in the struggle to fix race relations at a time when white supremacy was part of the American fabric – especially in the south.
He said his father told him "white supremacy is a sickness. And you don’t get mad with sick people. You get smart."
Young has a history that vaulted from civil rights to Congress to Jimmy Carter’s administration, and then Atlanta city hall to the 1996 Olympics.
He was also in Congress as a Democrat, unsuccessfully ran for governor as a Democrat, and has supported Democratic candidates his whole life.
As a young man, Young was a strategist for Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was also with King when he was murdered in 1968 in Memphis. Young is now among the last of King’s confidants still with us.
"We have been struggling for so long, black against white and so forth. But we sort of – I think we’re sort of getting beyond that," Young said Friday.
He added that the historic political tension between white and non-white Americans has been replaced by a Trump-era challenge.
"It’s good and evil, and truth and falsehoods," Young said. "Those issues are going to be arbitrated in our elections coming up in the next few years."
Young describes Georgia as the "fiery furnace" for that struggle – especially with Trump acolyte David Perdue running against a Gov. Brian Kemp, who turned aside Trump’s false claims of a rigged election – and now faces a potential Republican revolt.
"Things are happening so fast in Georgia that we’re going to be the center of the universe for a while," he added.
Young predicts Georgia’s status as a swing state, cemented by very close wins for Democrats last year, will keep Georgia in the spotlight for elections well beyond the one next year.