Importance of Staying Tuned In

On this Saturday morning following the Casada crisis, a friend wrote in to ask me how come so many incumbent members of the legislature continue to be re-elected. It’s a good question, and it’s true that in a typical year there’s isn’t much turnover as House and Senate elections come and go.

I’m thinking there are several reasons why the same people tend to get re-elected, some good reasons and others not so much. The positive reason is that, in truth, most members do a good job consistently consistently over time. In those cases, it’s proper and right that voters in their home districts (the ones who keep up, anyway) reward them on Primary and Election Days with another term. On the other hand, some in the legislature seem to make a point of staying ‘below the radar’ and never getting into the spotlight, for either policy or partisan reasons; some of these, in turn, either never get challenged at re-election time or their voters just don’t pay attention, or both. This condition is not so positive and sometimes can lead to mischief, arrogance, and even corruption.

Most voters are reasonable and tolerant, but there is also a limit to tolerance of bad behavior. That line doesn’t get crossed often, but it has been crossed in the current General Assembly by Casada and his crowd. A lot of people in government have power, but some can’t handle it with fairness and grace that leadership requires.

What we all need next are more good elections - meaning, where more citizens stay tuned in and stay alert to the arrogance of a supermajority, and where everyone votes when the time comes..

Can We Talk?

America is a place of many languages, looks and lessons. Since my earliest days as a young news reporter, I have been amazed at how so many people have stories to tell that the rest of us ought to hear. In particular, Tennessee is a place of great creativity. Our neighbors, too, often want to share their stories - sometimes with a little prodding.