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Meet Bob Hamilton

September 23, 1972

Robert David Hamilton III and his son, Bob, were golfing at Elysian Fields, Robert III’s private white Protestant male-only golf club near the old family plantation, Hamilton Oaks, outside of Atlanta.  Robert III’s graying hair was still in the pompadour style of his youth.  His round belly drooped over his white leather belt by a couple of inches.  In the moist heat, he was at his pinkest.

As they drove away in their golf cart from the twelfth hole, Robert III said, “I’ve made an important decision, Bobby.”

“What’s that?”  Bob asked, his voice cracking.  He was a half foot taller than his father.  Slender, with dark curly hair and the random pimple, he carried himself with the cocky self-assurance of the lone heir to two fortunes, Hamilton Industries and his maternal grandfather’s even larger empire, Boone Enterprises.

“I’m switching political parties.”

“Why?”

“We Hamiltons have been Democrats forever, but the party has deserted us, deserted the South actually.  They’re trying to destroy our way of life.  It’s been a long time coming.  I used to play golf at the Bobby Jones public course in the city back before you were born.  Then, some upstart niggers filed a lawsuit, demanding they be able to tee up right next to us.  The Supreme Court ruled in their favor.  Mayor Hartsfield tried to save the public courses, offered to sell them to private individuals, keep them white-only.  But it didn’t happen.  It’s been going downhill ever since.”

They pulled up to the next tee.  “How so?” Bob asked.

Using his cane, Robert III slowly stepped out of the cart.  “Well, everywhere you look, you see it.  The races are mixing in the stores, restaurants, movie houses, schools.  They’ve polluted the music young people listen to.”

Bob selected his club and his father’s club and put a tee and a ball down for his father.  “What’s Nixon going to do about it?”

Robert III tried a practice stroke.  “Well, he can’t exactly reverse it all, but he can slow it down.  Pick the right judges, make it harder for them to file lawsuits, let them know we’re still in charge.  It’s too bad.  Everyone was better off the way it was.”  He swung and his ball sailed off to the right.  “Damn Japs.  If I had two good legs, I could shave twenty strokes off my game.”

Bob swung and hit his ball two hundred yards down the middle.  “Did I tell you I’m running for class president?”

Robert III wiped his brow.  “No, you didn’t.  That’s wonderful, Bobby.  You’re a born leader.”

“Thanks.  I thought I’d give it a try.  See how it goes.”

Robert III put his hand on his hip and looked up at his son, beaming.  “I’m sure you’ll win.  You’re so handsome and smart.  All the girls will vote for you.”

“Yeah, I’m kinda hoping for that.  Chip Cotter’s running against me.”

Robert III climbed back into the cart and took a swig of bourbon from his flask.  “Well, let me know if I can do anything to help.  Cotter’s dad does a lot of business with one of our companies.  Maybe I could talk to him.”

Bob looked at his father.  “You serious?”

“Absolutely.  I’d do anything for you, Bobby.”

“I should be okay.  Chip’s kinda dumb.  I’ve been working on my own stealth strategy, making nice with the girls, especially the plain janes.  Nobody pays much attention to them.”  Bob stopped the cart and ran out to find his father’s ball.

Robert III smiled.  “Except for you.”

“Except for sweet ole Bobby Hamilton.”  Bob sang as he headed into the rough.