Swimming Through Mud Tennessee Style

I can’t get over the mop story in the Tennessee legislature that Erik Shelzig broke yesterday. If you haven’t read it, go over there now. Tennessee went viral. Again. I can wait if you haven’t seen it..

To quote Jeff Woods from a couple of weeks ago, the Hillbilly Machiavellian antics continue to rage with the fierceness of 1,o00 rabid raccoons who have learned how to operate assault weapons. It literally can be gobsmacking to keep up with and I feel for the poor reporters who are having to process this day in and day out. For freelancers, it’s even more challenging.

For those of us watching, it’s also hard to pick which particular crazy to give attention too because there is another piece of Looney Tunes coming out in just a matter of minutes. This is part of what you get when you cut the session down to the second week of April. Bills are bulldozed through so quickly and let’s not forget there isn’t a lot of debate happening now thanks to the Supermajority. There isn’t a conversation on legislation that effects your and my daily lives that can really only be overturned in court if it proves unconstitutional.

On Sunday, I met with several people who have blogged Tennessee news, are still blogging and who work in Democratic politics. One of the things we discussed was the crazy and that a few of us where tired. I’ve talked to several people on the phone in the last week.

It started making me thinking of a great point that Southern Beale made last week. Let’s return there, shall we?

I’m thinking this is a problem for progressives. It’s not just that organizers are switching focus — all of these issues are really important. But I think ultimately hopping from issue to issue keeps us from ever really accomplishing anything on any one issue. And sometimes I wonder if that’s not the point, if Republicans aren’t intentionally deluging the left with crisis after crisis so we can’t effectively tackle any one thing.

I know back in my organizing days I felt constantly pulled in a dozen different directions as this or that issue suddenly demanded attention. And I know my e-mail box is constantly deluged with demands for attention to write a letter on this or sign a petition on that or show up at this rally or that fundraiser. It’s all over the map. I just wish we could focus on one damn thing for a while until we make some solid strides before we’re all asked to move on to the next one.

Her post on the Focus Factor hits a great reason that bloggers, activists and advocates get worn down. From the TEP to Tennessee Citizens Action to online scribes, there is no stopping point. There is so much going on. We are not only competing with national headlines but with some of the craziest legislation that moves at breakneck speed and sometimes it happens the same day. 

So many of us across the state still keep plugging along yet it’s hard to catch one drop of rain much less a bucket with your hands.

The one thing that I would like to see folks on our side of the aisle consider is the long-game going against the crazy where everyone is involved. No reasonable person wants this state to be known for legislators being afraid of Mop Sinks that they think is a Muslim conspiracy. No one wants this state to be known as the a state that embraces hateful legislation. I can’t imagine anyone being happy that this state would ignore workers hurt on the job and then left to suffer.

The list goes on campers.

As So. Beale said, where is the focus to move effective through the mud that’s being served daily in Tennessee? Politics is a lot like Jazz, we are riffing off each other and it’s a good thing but sometime the song goes on for a long time and that’s what we are facing now.