By Joe Rector
I love the state of Tennessee and give it my full loyalty. However, my patience with ignorance has ended, and that means I am fed up with moronic acts by our state government’s elected representatives.
A recent article in the paper profiled infamous Stacey Campfield and how he keeps winning elections. The answer is simple. Too many folks in his district gobble up his views. I won’t call those views conservative; perhaps rabid is a better term. Whether folks like him or not, they have to admit he’s the ultimate politician and works hard in his district to make sure voters know him. His legislative agenda is another matter.
Campfield has managed to infuriate many with such proposals as “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” “Bad Performance Leads to Cuts in Benefits Bill,” and “Death Certificates for Abortions Bill.” To many across the nation, these bills are ones submitted by a biased, intolerant little man who is more interested in publicity than governing. It’s a strategy that’s worked. Campfield has been lampooned on television shows and in multiple print and Internet sites. The worst thing is that his outrageous stands negatively impact the state.
What all must keep in mind is the state’s legislatures have for years passed some downright DUMB laws. Here are just a few of them:
Students may not hold hands while at school.
You can’t shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile.
Hollow logs may not be sold.
It is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish.
It is legal to gather and consume roadkill.
The definition of “dumb animal” includes every living creature.
Skunks may not be carried into the state.
Of late, some other legislators have penned a boatload of ridiculous bills. One, by James “Micah” Van Huss, states, “Any representative of the United Nations who enters the state loses all official status and shall not operate in the state in any official capacity.” Another one adds, “Representatives of the United Nations shall not observe elections in the state” and that “violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.”
The Guns in the Trunk bill passed the full Senate recently. It allows gun carry permit holders to leave their weapons in the cars anywhere they park, including outside businesses and schools.
Someone submitted the Monkey Bill, which protects teachers who allow students to question and criticize “controversial” subjects such as evolution and climate change. It became law after the governor failed to act.
Like a growing segment of the national government, the state legislature is turning more toward narrow ideology and less toward the welfare of the state and its people. It’s a trend that comes from fear. Too many of us are afraid of losing what we have. We always expected that our children would have more than we have had, but when the economy crashed in 2007, our fears centered on keeping what we already had. In too many cases, people lost all that they had worked for in a lifetime. No wonder fear consumed them.
Now, things are beginning to turn around ever so slowly. Individuals must again turn outward and eschew the fears that ideologues have peddled. We are a better nation than that, and Tennessee is a better state than that.
The focus of too many of our state representatives is blurred. Tennessee ranks 21st nationally in education. One in five (20%) Tennesseans have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while 22% of the state’s high school students drop out of school. The state is eighth in the number of teen pregnancies. Instead of finding solutions to problems that affect the well being of citizens and drain moneys that could be spent on other programs, legislators waste time on fear laws. Let’s expect and demand more of them. If they come up short, let’s send them home where they can try to make a living through working regular jobs.