Placate, Litigate, Agitate

I think it is abundantly clear now that session is over here in Tennessee how important elections are.

This year we have become a national laughingstock more than usual. Sen. Stacey Campfield has introduced Don’t Say Gay, Starve The Kids and went as far to put up a pressure cooker photo this week less than a week after the Boston Marathon Bombing to attack the gun debate. Rep. Andy Holt and Sen. Delores Gresham introduced ALEC based  model legislation that is in a direct violation of the first amendment and is designed to slow down whistleblowers. Did I mention that they both own farming operation so the Ag-Gag bill will benefit both of them? Did I mention that Holt insulted Carrie Underwood in such a condescending way earlier this week when she asked the Governor to veto this horrible festering bill?

Let’s not forget that Sen. Frank Niceley introduced legislation that would have ended Senate primaries. Or that local authority is being whittled away at to give the state government more control.

That is just a sampling of the legislation that was offered this year. Workers’ compensation rights were attacked as well. And on the last day of session, 34 career centers across the state were closed. And on top of that, the only piece of legislation that really helped each and every Tennessean was a reduction of the food sales tax which is a whopping savings of about $3 bucks a year.

The supermajority was about volume but not value. It was loud and unruly, and I swear I felt bad for folks such as Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, Rep. Gloria Johnson and Sen. Lowe Finney, who tried to be the voice of reason in the blizzard of crazy that was this session in Nashville.

A friend of mine yesterday who lives in Washington reminded me of the old slogan “Educate, Medicate, Incarcerate” philosophy to governing on a state level. I thought about it a lot yesterday. I guess here in Tennessee what we saw was, to quote John Brummett at the Arkansas Times, is that we are looking at Placate, Litigate, Agitate.

This isn’t good governing, this is creating a mess that anybody in their right mind knows is about the next election and creating distractions to get people to vote against their best interests.

So what are we going to do about this? Running for office takes time, money, commitment, organization and passion. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If your local elected official representing your area or is your Rep. or Senator representing special interests? (Example: ALEC model legislation.)
  • Do you know someone that will be effected by the Governor’s refusal of the Healthcare expansion?
  • Is your community fully aware of the legislation being introduced by your elected state leaders?
  • What is YOUR willingness quotient? What I mean is are you willing to help and on what level are you willing to assist a candidate or a cause. Everyone has different willingness quotients and that has to be determined by you.

On a final note, head to Steve Ross’s online abode, who is conducting a fundraiser to assist the caucuses and also breaks down some of this session’s atrocities. 

It’s a lot to think about but the bottom line is simple. Public servants should serve the public. They should be held accountable to their constituents. Being elected to office is a privilege, not a right.