As a federal prosecutor decides whether to press charges against Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., we ask ourselves why she feels the need to embarrass her home state.

McKinney is one of the 435 people who comprise the U.S. House of Representatives. Besides frequently changing hair styles, she refuses to wear one of the identification badges given to members of Congress so Capitol security officers may avoid the kind of problem that arose recently. McKinney refused to stop when security didn’t recognize her. An officer whose job it is to protect McKinney and everyone else at the Capitol attempted to stop her. She wheeled around and struck the hapless officer.

The incident should never have escalated to that point. As U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said, “Even the high and haughty should be able to stop and say, ‘I’m a congressman’ and then everybody moves on.”

McKinney knows that officers indiscriminately stop anyone they don’t recognize. The Sept. 11 attacks should have made everyone aware that terrorists who wish to inflict harm on our country could launch a ground attack at the Capitol if they believe security is lax enough. Rather than helping officers, McKinney has made their job much more difficult by needlessly distracting them.

This controversy is gaining momentum at a time when Georgians should be concentrating on welcoming 43 international and stateside business investors to our state as part of the Red Carpet Tour. These investors, who will be staying for a three-day excursion, may be looking to relocate or expand businesses in Georgia. We can only hope that McKinney’s inexcusable actions don’t tarnish the image of our state as we try to make it more appealing to visitors.

Our elected officials are the embodiment of Georgia at the Capitol. We hope that in the future, McKinney will care enough about her state to avoid embarrassing it further.

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