Tennessee state politics should have made it onto CNN a long time ago. The white boy frat party that continues at the capitol is horrifying. Since it has not made it into the national spotlight yet, I thought I’d give you a taste of some of the absurdity. Live from Nashville, TN, it’s Saturday night and a look into Tennessee state politics:
- All of the people below (plus more members of the state house and state senate) oppose Insure Tennessee, despite enjoying the benefits of the state health plan themselves.(http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2015/02/05/killed-insure-tennessee-state-health-plan/22927221/)
- Rep. Roger Kane was labeled as the “most vocal skeptic” of the UT diversity office. He said the Knoxville diversity office “makes people feel good, but it does nothing.” Kane questioned what University of Tennessee Knoxville was doing to help students who are not minorities or do not identify as LGBT. He claimed that the office was not meeting goals and was not promoting inclusion because it was “excluding Christians” and using gender neutral pronouns. Kane said, “there is no lack of diversity at our universities, somebody has to call the big pink elephant in the room and that’s what this bill is doing.” On another occasion Kane commented that, “there is diversity, but what this center does is it creates a sense of divisiveness.”
- Rep. Mark Pody proposed the Natural Marriage Defense Act to ban same-sex marriage in Tennessee despite the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize it. He believes that he’s “on a mission from God to stamp out same-sex marriage. I believe I’m supposed to be speaking to the unsaved, to the people that are performing same-sex marriages, to the people involved in same-sex marriage, it is wicked, it is wrong and I am doing the best I can to warn them.”
- Rep. Andy Holt posted a video on social media burning a traffic ticket as a way to express the idea that traffic cameras lie: “Burn your camera tickets. It says you must pay this, that’s not true. There is no state law that says you have to pay this citation.” Also, he is accused of dumping nearly a million gallons of pig feces into nearby fields and streams. The Environmental Protection Agency opened up an investigation into the former pig farmer and his property. In addition to all of this, Holt wrote an open letter to Obama, encouraging the president to “come on down to Rocky Top” and “take your gun control and shove it.” He loves gun so much that exactly one day after the Orlando shooting, which was the worst mass shooting in American history, Holt decided to give away two semiautomatic rifles (AR-15) at a campaign event. The rifles were very similar to the gun used in the Orlando shooting. A few days later, he gave away five free handgun permits. (“Terror won’t stop my AR-15 giveway.”) He is currently planning to introduce a bill that allows college students to carry guns on college campuses.
- Rep. Glen Cassada is the leading voice in pushing for the state to file against the federal government over refugee resettlement. He said, “we need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them [Syrian Refugees] from coming into the state by whatever means we can.” He is also the leading voice on bringing the “bathroom bill” to Tennessee.
- Terri Lynn Weaver, a gospel singer (if you care to listen: here are some demos, enjoy!). She posted a photo with her Pastor, who was dressed as Aunt Jemima in full blackface, with the comment, “Aunt Jemima, you is so sweet.” In her apology, she claimed, “I’m the least racist of anyone. Some of my greatest friends are black.”
- Rep. Martin Daniel opposes educating students about civil rights and race in classrooms. He publicly wrote: “I am concerned that this subject matter subtly, but unnecessarily, injects a dose of ‘social justice’ into our impressionable youth. It teaches them, incidental to a Reading assignment, that America is a place of oppression, where certain classes of persons are commonly discriminated against, and that they have been a victim. Why does a fourth grader need to learn about race?” He tweeted after Muhammad Ali’s death that, “dutiful, patriotic, brave black and white men died in jungles while Cassius sat warm and cozy in USA.” Ali said he changed his name because he felt that Cassius Clay was a “slave name.”
Next Saturday night, we will return for another moment of laughable material. Actually it’s not laughable at all; these representatives keep getting elected and making horrifying bills and decisions.
- Hannah K. Dobie