Tennessee Republicans seem to have three clear-cut goals.
They are: Make Tennessee the laughingstock of the nation and the butt of every late-night comedian’s ridicule; kowtow to every whim of the GOP’s patrons and benefactors — the super-rich, big business and every special interest group with a few loose bucks to spare for bribes (euphemistically called “campaign contributions”); and strip ordinary Tennesseans of their constitutional rights, including freedom of speech, dissent and peaceful assembly, while consigning them to the poorhouse.
Unfortunately, certain ruthless Tennessee Republicans seem to be very, very good at their jobs. Thanks to them we can now carry concealed, loaded weapons into bars and parks, but we can’t have a lawful, peaceful assembly within eyesight of Capitol Hill.
Leading the charge of the Lightless Brigade is Tennessee Gov. “Wild Bill” Haslam, who just sent 75 armed state troopers to deny 29 Occupy Nashville protestors their oh-so-clearly enunciated constitutional rights. Has Haslam read the Constitution, which according to most Republicans is the Bible, Holy Grail and Nirvana, all rolled into one?
If Wild Bill was able and inclined to read, he would know that the U.S. Supreme Court recently affirmed the Westboro Baptist Church wackos’ rights to protest at the funerals of soldiers who died serving their country. Does it make any sense whatsoever to grant lunatics freedom of assembly and speech, only to deny sane demonstrators the right to protest the actions of rich robber barons and their political lackeys?
But Wild Bill obviously knows which side his bread is buttered on and who provides the rich cream. After all, his first act upon taking office was an executive order eliminating the requirement for the governor and his top aides to disclose how much money they make.
Who, exactly, is Wild Bill trying to “protect,” I wonder? Is he trying to protect us, the commoners, from our own kind, or is he trying to shield his rich, advantaged eyes and those of his patrons from people they regard as riffraff and eyesores? I think it’s obvious that the latter is the case. Republicans who tout themselves “as Bible-believing Christians” have ignored every injunction of Jesus Christ, the apostles and Hebrew prophets for the rich to help the poor, rather than taking advantage of and oppressing them.
Ironically, conservative Christians who claim not to believe in evolution are practicing Darwinian government, under which the strong thrive by preying on the weak, the way sharks prey on baby seals. But Republicans don’t like to see the messy results of their predation, so they prefer for their victims to be out of sight, out of mind.
If we care about our fellow citizens and our own rights, we should tell Wild Bill to call off his hired guns or retire into an early sunset.