Publisher’s Positions

By Steve Hunley

For Leftists, ‘Stupid’ Is The New ‘Smart’

If 80 is the new 60, then in today’s society stupid is the new smart.  It is nothing less than amazing to see a host of people readily swallow things that not only defy logic, frequently knock common sense in the head and are in fact detached from reality.  When did any society ever excel by lowering the educational standards in the name of equity?  Never.  The very same people who squall and caterwaul about the threat of “white supremacy” are the architects of “affinity classes,” which are classrooms filled by students of the same color, taught by a teacher of color, all because of the theory it will help Black and Latino students with advanced curriculum.  So, think about it if you have a still-functioning brain, the very people in this country who stoutly maintain the greatest threat to our society is “white supremacy” are pushing for segregated classrooms.  In fact, they make the very same arguments utilized by those who opposed the desegregation of schools in the 1950s.

An entire generation has been under-educated precisely because our educational system, into which we pour billions and billions of tax dollars, is much less interested in teaching students to read, do math, and learn anything practical to focus on social issues.  The educational system has become permeated with the notion of equity, diversity and restorative practices.  Things are more focused on race and division in this country than even when Jim Crow was alive and well.  Those who insist nothing has improved in this country as far as race is concerned are either really quite stupid, entirely ignorant of history, or merely liars.  Simply think of it in reverse, were somebody trying to make the argument classes should be all White, taught by White teachers, because it provided a better, safer learning environment for those students.  If that doesn’t make you uncomfortable, God knows what will.  What’s the difference?  We can segregate Black and Hispanic students into their own classrooms, but by golly we can’t mention what rests at the other end of that particular pole?  Again, the wokesters embrace STUPID, which is their smart.  Hypocrisy is at the very heart of just about everything they do, almost always topped off with a thick, rich gravy of “not for me, but for thee” and a heaping helping of everything comes down to race.

Logic, along with gravity, can be completely ignored if the situation warrants it.  How is it possible to take a person seriously when they begin chattering about there being as many (if not more) than 72 genders and men having babies?  That the government knows what is better for children than parents?

Lefties squealing that any sentence they don’t like is violence is nothing less than moronic.  Violence is somebody dragging you out and beating the stuffing out of you, raping or killing you, yet the same people who squawk about words being “violence” usually want to keep criminals, the people who inflict real harm and violence upon their fellow human beings, out of jail.

The Left delights in calling those they dislike “Nazis,” and most of them are so empty-headed they don’t realize they have more in common with the Nazis than the folks they oppose.  The Nazis, like the Left in this country, believed all power should be centralized in the government.  The Nazi government, headed by a dictator, Adolf Hitler, smothered, imprisoned, murdered or sent off to concentration camps those who disagreed with them.  The Nazis had no sympathy or use for those who were mentally challenged or gay or unlike them.  Like Hamas, the Nazis hated Jews and were dedicated to the literal eradication of the Jewish people through systematic murder.  One difference between the Nazis and Hamas and their supporters is the Nazis tried to hide their crimes while Hamas and their fellow antisemites celebrate theirs.

The very same people who cluck about “Islamophobia” turn a blind eye to the extremists like Hamas who believe gays should be killed, mutilate and demean women, and refuse to tolerate any religion but their own.  Indeed, for the American Left the only religion they seem to hate is Christianity.

Colleges and universities have become less citadels of education than indoctrination camps for the Left, who were quick to stamp out the “violence” of those voices with whom they disagreed.  It became popular for campuses to become “safe spaces.”  I bet the Israelis wish they had more safe spaces right about now.  Free speech was throttled with a swiftness and brutality the Nazi Minister of Propaganda would have approved of.  Now “free speech” has been revived so that students and faculty can pour out their hatred of Israel.

The Nazis and the Communists had one big thing in common with the Left and the wokesters.  They did not value the contributions, much less the lives, of the individual; rather they hailed the collective.  Nothing outside of the official narrative was to be tolerated and dissent was to be stamped out by whatever means necessary.

There is a very ugly streak running through our society and too many of us prefer to pretend it isn’t there; too many of our children and grandchildren value the collective more than they value the lives of others.  Worse still, they seem not to value the lives of those with whom they disagree at all.

The wokesters have attributed every worthwhile human trait to themselves and one would think their bodies and minds were positively coated with compassion. Unfortunately, too many of those minds are coated with a terrible sickness and evil that ran through the authoritarian dictatorships.

Anyone who can countenance beheading a baby for any reason has ceased to be a member of any civilized society.  For the God of love who knows every sparrow that falls, it is as far from the teachings of Christianity and most every major religion of the known world.  The final retreat for these people is to simply insist it never happened.  There were those who denied the Holocaust and it’s happening again.

One of humorist Mark Twain’s greatest quotes was, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”  Now in America, we celebrate fools daily and worse besides.

Ross Bagwell, A True Gentleman

Ross Bagwell truly was a pioneer in the television industry.  Bagwell’s first job was with the old children’s TV show from the 1950s, “Howdy Doody.”  First and foremost, Ross Bagwell was a gentleman of the first order.  Ross was as successful in the art of living and doing for others as he was in business.

A native Knoxvillian who attended the Staub School, Tyson Middle School, Knoxville High School and the University of Tennessee, Ross Bagwell had his eyes on bigger things.  Learning the business from the ground up, Bagwell formed Cinetel Productions.  Knoxville owes a debt of gratitude to Ross Bagwell for his foresight and determination as he provided the impetuous for our community’s expanding role in television production.

Ross was the father of such productions as “I-40 Paradise” and “America’s Castles,” which was a remarkably popular show.  Bagwell sold Cinetel Productions to Scripps Howard, which became the Scripps networks and HGTV.  The thriving TV industry in Knoxville, the likes of ID Discovery, are here because of Ross Bagwell’s vision.

Ross Bagwell was a kind and good man, one who truly gave of himself to others.  Mr. Bagwell leaves behind him a legacy of success, an extremely able man who made his mark in a difficult and oftentimes bruising industry.  More importantly, Ross Bagwell was extraordinary in his thoughtfulness and mentoring of others.  Never content merely to live and enjoy the American Dream, Ross wanted to share it with everyone willing to work for it.

The Focus extends heartfelt sympathies to the family of Ross Bagwell and pays tribute to a great man who lived well and accomplished more than most.  Knoxville has lost a brilliant native son; the Bagwell family has lost a beloved father, and the television industry one of its true innovators.  Ross had deeply felt the loss of his wonderful wife, Sue Burchfield Bagwell, who passed away in 2022.  The couple first met while in the 8th grade while attending Tyson Middle School.  Family and friends can now rejoice that Ross and Sue are together once again.

Thank you, Mike McMillan

Mike McMillan has announced he will not be a candidate for the Knox County Board of Education next year.  Please see our big story on Mr. McMillan and his time on the school board on Page 1.

The Knoxville Focus will be the first to acknowledge just what Mike McMillan has meant to the people of the 8th District.  Keep in mind, I am a former member of the board myself and I do not hesitate at all, quite the contrary, I am proud to say that our community has never had a better representative on the school board than Mike McMillan.  During the 14 years he has served, Mr. McMillan has been faithful in looking out for the people who elected him, letting nothing deter him, even serious illness.

For 24 years Mike McMillan has served the 8th District as either a county commissioner or board of education member, but I think he actually managed to accomplish more while serving on the school board.  Certainly, nobody accomplished as much as Mike McMillan.  Now that we have the Gibbs Middle School, it’s all too easy to forget what a long and difficult road it was to tread.  The disappointments were many and the opposition great.  The naysayers were everywhere right up until the school was actually built.  Well-paid consultants and some folks who just plain looked down on the residents of Gibbs sneered the new middle school would be sparsely attended.  They had very little to say when it opened filled to the brim, as Mike McMillan had insisted it would.

There will be tangible monuments to Mike McMillan’s service on the board of education dotting the landscape of the 8th District long after many of us are gone:  the Gibbs Middle School, the new Carter Elementary School, the Career Academy at Straw Plains, the new football stadium at Gibbs High School, and the gym at Carter Middle School.

Throughout most of his service as a member of the Knox County Board of Education, Mike McMillan paid close attention to the people who elected him.  Mr. McMillan routinely tried to handle every matter that was brought to him by any person in the district if it was possible.  Although not always successful, Mr. McMillan really did care and was more successful than not when setting out to help his people.

Undoubtedly conservative, Mike McMillan treated the taxpayers’ money like it was his own and he oftentimes bragged he paid $2 for a pair of dress shoes at a thrift store.  Perhaps because of his own fiscal and personal conservatism, Mr. McMillan was able to accomplish things that probably would have been difficult or impossible for other board members.  It was the hardcore Republican from a ruby-red district that authored the amendment to the school policy prohibiting discrimination of any kind.  When some were asking for special treatment through language referring to their group, Mr. McMillan read off his all-inclusive amendment.  That settled the argument, which would probably still be raging today had he not brought his usual commonsense approach. Mr. McMillan was never going to be accused of being politically correct, far from it, but he was sincere in his belief in people and the welfare of the children populating our schools.  Mike McMillan was never going to tolerate a bully if he could help it and he usually could.

Mike McMillan was no far-seer into the future or idealistic dreamer; no, Mr. McMillan was imminently practical, careful with a dollar, and wanted and demanded the most for the least amount possible.  Mr. McMillan was never so closed-minded that he couldn’t be brought around to a different point of view, but he never gave ground on a matter of principle.  Nor would Mike McMillan ever agree to support anything he believed was at the expense of the people who elected him.

That same commitment and caring for the people who had honored him yet again was not lost on the folks in the 8th District.  Mike McMillan will leave office with a record of high achievement, the best of any modern official from our district in memory.  Mr. McMillan will also take with him the thanks of a grateful community, as well as their affection for the public servant who was true to the people who elected him.