By Steve Hunley


Fallout Continues from Commission Chair Vote

State Representative Jason Zachary spoke at last week’s Volunteer Republican Women’s Club.  Chairman of the powerful Calendar & Rules Committee in the House of Representatives, Zachary mentioned the four Republican county commissioners who voted to install Democrat Courtney Durrett as chair of that body.  Representative Zachary was plainspoken even though one of the Republican women who had brokered the deal to elect a Democrat to preside over the commission, which has a 9-2 GOP majority, sat right in the front row.  Terry Hill squirmed, fidgeted and generally looked as if she wanted to disappear as Zachary said what she and her three female colleagues had done was unconscionable and he was getting telephone calls from all over the state about it.

That comes on the heels of the Halls Republican Club having banned Commissioners Kim Frazier, Terry Hill, Gina Oster and Rhonda Lee.  All indications are there is more to come.

Yet the silence from the followers of Daniel Herrera has only deepened.  Usually quick to call another Republican a RINO, they have been quiet for the most part.

Some woman went to appear before the county commission last week who declared she was a “conservative Republican” and charged the bad publicity garnered by the ladies of the commission is nothing less than misogyny.  There is no defending the action of the commissioners and taking a page from the Democrat playbook to wail that any criticism of an action by a person in public office is a gender, race, etc. offense is just ridiculous.  Nor was the final vote all women; Commissioner Richie Beeler, a Republican, capitulated and voted for Courtney Durrett, although she was elected by the time he added his own vote to the total.

There isn’t a Republican in East Tennessee that voted for Diana Harshbarger or Tim Burchett to turn around and go to Washington and vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.

Organizing a political body makes a difference.  Were the Republicans organizing the House and the Senate, the bills coming out of Washington would be VERY different than the out of control spending we’ve witnessed.


Keep Politics Out of the Sheriff’s Merit Board

One of those candidates, another whose campaign was managed by Herrera ally Erik Wiatr, Steve Weiner had to face his former opponent and it clearly got uncomfortable.  Weiner, whose campaign published the silliest comparison piece I’ve ever seen in my life, criticizing Larsen Jay for having been a producer in Los Angeles or some such foolish thing, had to stand before Commissioner Jay recently.  Weiner was recruited to run by Wiatr after Randy Pace’s own recruited candidate, Christine Cruz, had given up the ghost.

Weiner wanted a spot on the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s Employee Merit Board.  Jay and Commissioner Kyle Ward had worked hard to revamp the board, which badly needed an overhaul.  One of the things the commission did was to forbid any person serving on the merit board from being active in local politics.  That was a big improvement and Larsen Jay pointed out Weiner had been an officer in the Republican Party before becoming a candidate for county commission.  Jay repeatedly asked Weiner if he understood one could not serve on the board and also be active in local politics.  Jay never got a straight answer.

Weiner by trade is a lawyer, although I doubt very much if he will ever make it to a judgeship.  Weiner had insisted the provision of the law passed by the county commission banning political activity while serving on the merit board was not valid.  Not so, said both Knox County Law Director David Buuck and Mike Moyers.  Moyers, presently a deputy law director, is a former elected law director and former elected Knox County Chancellor, our county’s highest local court.  Both Moyers and Buuck point out that the provision is indeed valid.

That was passed after much hard work by the members of the Knox County Commission, and it was a huge and necessary improvement.  The women on the commission have taken the attitude they are above politics and it will be interesting to see if that is their attitude when it comes to keeping politics out of the sheriff’s merit board.


The Truth Shouldn’t Have to Apologize

Liberal comedian and political commentator Bill Maher has roasted the Left for their efforts to shape history “to control the present.”  Maher made his remarks on his HBO talk show, “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

“How we teach our kids history has become big controversy these days,” Maher said.  “Liberals accusing conservatives of wanting to whitewash the past, and sometimes that’s true, sometimes they do.  But, plenty of liberals also want to abuse history to control the present.”

Maher pointed to James Sweet, president of the American Historical Association, who set off an inferno of controversy with a paper entitled, “Is History History?”  Sweet was critical of what he described as “presentism,” which he defined as the act of judging things that occurred in the past based upon the standards of the present.

Maher had his own definition, saying presentism was very much like “getting mad at yourself for not knowing what you know now, when you were ten.”

“Who doesn’t have moments from your past that make you cringe?” Maher asked his audience.  “Who hasn’t said, ‘I can’t believe I said that; I can’t believe I wore that; I can’t believe I thought that; I can’t believe I did that?’  You ate dirt, you wanted to be a ghostbuster, you shoplifted gum. . .”

“We hadn’t grown into the persons we would become, and humanity writ large is just the collective version of that,” Maher said.  “Did Columbus commit atrocities, of course, but people back then were generally atrocious.”

Never one to shy away from an issue, Bill Maher then took on the topic of slavery.  That one issue is particularly controversial inasmuch as how our society is supposed to teach history to students currently.  “The 1619 Project” sits at the center of the controversy, as much of it has been debunked and proven to be false; critics point out it tries to teach students an alternative version of history that is inaccurate.  Its author, Nikole Hannah-Jones, once wrote the 1619 Project was meant to expose America’s “original sin” of slavery.

“The way people talk about slavery these days,” Maher said, “you’d think it was a uniquely American thing that we invented in 1619, but slavery throughout history has been the rule, not the exception,”  Maher said history proved most anyone who could afford slaves in the distant past had them, including Africans.

“The capacity for cruelty is a human thing, not a white thing,” Maher told his listeners.  “That’s the truth, even if it doesn’t jibe with the current narrative.  But in today’s world, when truth conflicts with narrative, it’s truth that has to apologize.”