Last night, the staffs of The Nashville Post and The City Paper gave out its 2008 St. Crispin’s Day awards. For the uninitiated, we give these ignoble honors to celebrate the past year of politics.
On St. Crispin’s Day in 1415, English monarch Henry V gathered his greatly outnumbered troops as they prepared to confront the full force of the French army on the fields of Agincourt. William Shakespeare recreated the moment nearly two hundred years later for his play Henry V, in what has become known as the "St. Crispin's Day" speech.
Part of the speech you may remember is, “From this day to the ending of the world; But we in it shall be remembered — We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”
Each year’s awards are based on a theme from the land of the Bard, jolly old England. This year, the word is Bond. James Bond:
The Living Daylights award goes to Fred Thompson. As in, he got the living daylights beat out of him. Fred may have been the only candidate in history who peaked in the polls before declaring he was a candidate. So much for being the Law & Order candidate.
The Goldfinger award goes to former Mayor Bill Purcell, beloved by some, not so much by others, he gave both his admirers and his detractors the "finger" and moved up to a prestigious gig at Harvard. You can almost hear the Davy Crockett type speech. “You can all go to hell, as for me, I'm going to Harvard.”
A set of Jaws' steel teeth goes to Congressman Lincoln Davis’s Chief of Staff, Beecher Frasier. The next time a reporter asks if Barack Obama has terrorist ties, he can use these mandibles to chew his foot out of his mouth.
The Live and Let Die award goes to Jim Cooper. The low key wonkish congressman had vivid memories of the early 90's and his encounters with then First Lady Hillary Clinton and then made sure his license to kill was up to date. For Cooper, revenge was best served shaken…not stirred.
The On Your Majesty's Secret Service award goes to... Bob Tuke. Bob, who is a Marine by the way, dutifully charged the hill on behalf of his Democratic colleagues who thusly shot him in the foot. Unfortunately for Bob, the supply train had left the station and was commandeered by Lamar!
The Man with the Golden Gun award goes to Lamar! Practically endorsed by the likes of Democratic Governors Phil Bredesen and Ned McWherter, it kind of makes you wonder if Alexander left behind some devices made by Q and got the skinny on his successors. Come to think of it, maybe that is why the bunker is being built.
Governor Phil Bredesen is the recipient of The World is Not Enough award. After having contacted every media outlet from The New York Times to Pravda to weigh in on the presidential election, rumor has it that he is now working with the Oak Ridge National Lab to start broadcasting his political opinions on the upcoming Martian elections into space.
Eric Crafton is the recipient of the From Russia with Love award. His xenophobic referendum drive has truly made him a statesman…but only in a state run by Vladimir Putin. Of course Crafton does have a heart and has offered to get jobs for those affected by his referendum in a place acceptable to him, “Moon Rakers.”
The For Your Eyes Only award goes to the “non-partisan” Tennessee Center for Policy Research and Drew Johnson who have repeatedly been rebuffed in their attempts to get public records. We would give them an actual award, but we checked and it’s classified.
Bill Hobbs, the always-bashful spokesman for the Tennessee Republican Party, is the recipient of a “Shaken not stirred” crystal martini glass. Hobbs shook up the presidential election and stirred John McCain to rebuke his actions for attacking Obama. He would have been with us today, but when he realized that he was using Arabic numerals on a daily basis his head exploded.
Now those familiar with Metro Government remember that former finance director David Manning has long been referred to as Dr. No. Since he is sunning himself on a trash compactor in Guam right now, we hope he doesn’t mind if we take that title and bestow it upon a real doctor, Bill Frist. Of course now we have to change it up a bit to “Dr. I don’t Know until Karl Rove tells me.”
An awards ceremony can’t go by without mentioning Marsha Blackburn. She has had a rough year after having endorsed Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, and then John McCain in the presidential election, but on the bright side it was widely reported by her that she was being considered for vice president. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, she wins the “Diamonds are Forever and so is bad accounting” award.
State Senator Rosalind Kurita put the knife in former Lt. Gov. John Wilders reign, but the Democratic party found the shiv and gave it back to her this past August. Now running as a write-in candidate and fighting for her nomination in court, we don’t know how any of this will turn out but she has won enough to Die Another Day.
Pedro Garcia is the winner of the “Oddjob” award. Last we heard the former Metro Director of Schools is back in California and weighing his options, should he run a driving school into the ground next or a branch of the University of Phoenix.
Seriously though, we do give out one real award that we call the Order of St. Crispin. This award is presented to someone who, like the English at Agincourt, has fought difficult and battles but is too often overlooked for the work they have done.
This year we honor the late Ross Alderman and the entire staff of the Public Defender’s Office.
The role of the Public Defender is to protect the rights of those who cannot afford counsel. The position they hold in the judicial process is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and ensures that no matter what your station in life is, you will be provided counsel before the law.
When we see mention of the Public Defender on television, too often they are depicted as trying to empty the jails of murderers and rapists onto an innocent public when that is not the case.
Ross Alderman and his entire staff had and have to make sure that each of their charges were afforded their constitutional rights, their inalienable rights. That guarantee does not mean someone should "walk" if they commit a crime, it means that they should be treated as equals in the eyes of justice as someone in a higher tax bracket who committed the same offense. Of course, if they are innocent, they should be set free.
We honor Ross and his co-workers for the work they have don to uphold the Constitution, the service they have provided for the community, and the unselfishness in which they perform their task.
Nashville is a better place because Ross Alderman chose to live and work here. We thank him for it.