Former Rep. Paul Broun hopes to return to Congress in the seat that incumbent Doug Collins is vacating in Georgia's uber-conservative Ninth District. Broun had previously represented Georgia's 10th District, which includes the classic city of Athens, from 2007 to 2015. He was your standard evolution-hating Republican who thought Barack Obama was Stalin in blackface. He also confused the IRS with al-Qaeda, as one does. He doesn't appear to have gotten less performatively stupid over the years.

Broun released a new campaign ad this week, and wow, is it racist! Broun's a medical doctor, and in the age of COVID, you'd think he'd play that up more, but instead the spot features the 73-year-old roaming the woods with an AR-15. It's the end of the world as we know it, but you'll feel fine with an assault weapon by your side. In these “uncertain times," you never know when you'll have to kill zombies or black people.

BROUN: In uncertain times like these, the right to defend yourself, your property, or your family could not be more important. Whether it's looting hordes from Atlanta or a tyrannical government from Washington, there are few better liberty machines than an AR-15.

Looting what from where now? Broun's campaign is based in Gainesville, which is an hour outside of Atlanta. Gainesville is majority white. However, it's still Georgia, so 15 percent of the population is black. Atlanta is crazy black though, with my people making up 51 percent of the population.

It's strange that Broun has advanced to the “looting hordes" stage of the pandemic. It's hard for Atlantans to do much looting when they're dying from coronavirus. The state has a reported 9,156 cases. That's more than Washington, which was the freaking epicenter. Atlanta's in Fulton County, and they have 1,185 cases or a whopping 116 per 100,000 people. That's inching up on King County, Washington's, average of 161 and we repeat, that's where this all blew up. Washington's first reported case was January 21. Georgia's was March 2. Put in more stark contrast: San Francisco has 71 cases per 100,000 people, and Los Angeles has just 68. But California has a real governor. It's bad enough that Brian Kemp stole the governor's race from Stacey Abrams, but did he have to let an infectious disease ravage the state before he learned what “infectious" means? Kemp also ran campaign ads where he stroked guns and "blew up" government spending like a tough guy. Where has all the John Wayne cosplay gotten Georgia as the COVID death count rises? Albany, Georgia, which is 72 percent black, is one of the worst hot spots in the country with a 5.7 percent fatality rate and 659 cases for every 100,000 people.

BROUN: You see, Marxists know that Americans will never submit to socialism and place government on the throne of our hearts without a big fight.

Oh, man, that's adorable. Broun still has one foot firmly planted in the alternate reality where Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee with Rashida Tlaib as his running mate. Those are the wacky red-baiting ads we'd have seen in this fantasy world where the coronavirus wasn't an actual, non-imaginary concern.

Broun suddenly shifts from political candidate to cable informercial host when he announces that he'll give away an AR-15 (or “liberty machine" as he calls it) to “one lucky person." You just have to sign up for email updates at his website and presumably, he'll draw a name out of hat. It's a death lottery for a death cult.

BROUN: Now remember, you must be at least 17 years old to enter.

Uh ... is that legal? Presumably, it's fine if the high school student is on their own property defending themselves from the invading Freaknik army.

Broun insists his ad isn't racist. Only the “liberal press" would make such an obvious interpretation of the words he uses. Besides, he says, there are a “lot of white people in Atlanta." They are 40 percent of the city's population. That's probably not how white Georgians would define “a lot."

Look, Broun is a known crackpot, but a doctor who rejects science just isn't funny these days. Georgians of all races are going to suffer because of Kemp's bungled response to the pandemic, and raffling off assault rifles to scared white people isn't going to help anyone. You can't shoot the coronavirus and it doesn't respond to bluster.

Broun is a graduate of the University of Georgia, like myself, and Athens had the sense to "shelter-in-place" at the end of March. Reason prevailed there, although it is heartbreaking to see the city so utterly empty.

Downtown Athens, 10 days after the (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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