To live and die in Tennessee, and vote

I read in the news that the Tennessee Republican Party recently removed three candidates from the ballot for the seat representing the 5th Congressional District, which includes Atlanta. I mean Charlotte. Sorry, Nashville.

Two of them, Ortagus and Starbuck, for not having lived in Tennessee long enough and the third one, a Baxter Lee, for having lived here too long. I mean, evidently the 8th generation Tennessean had recently voted a time or two in a Democratic primary. I do not know why but that party’s roots run crazy deep here.

I do not care why they were booted because I do not care about the Party of Lincoln. What I do care about though is the candidate.

Broadly speaking I want those in charge of the government under which I live and in which rest my temporal security to share my worldview, at least more or less. If they do, than I can have confidence that they will lead and legislate in a manner that I will usually find acceptable, or at least in the ballpark.

But my concern for the candidate’s worldview is secondary, or at most equal with my concern for that which he loves because I know that he or she will likely try to protect it. So, does the candidate love me and mine. Does the candidate love that which I love. Does the candidate love my people and the polity which together we make up? In this case does the candidate love Tennessee and thus understand Tennesseans? Do his roots in fact run deep enough for him to possess empathy for the deeply rooted people of this part of the planet. The people who will live here, come what may, because it is here, and not there.

Few of us have the time, inclination, and the skillset to follow closely the committees, chambers, and hallowed legislative halls where the rules are made that will prescribe or circumscribe us, and may in time even effect the very culture in which we live and thus the kind of people that our descendants will be.

We have little choice but to trust in the values and feelings of those that make and enforce the rules. If we are going to pick them ourselves via democracy within a republican framework, than there is wisdom in picking from those who are as rooted as we, lest those that rule Tennessee view its vast rural and small town spaces where the roots are, as a space to either flyover or harvest.

Ortagus and Starbuck may be great and possess the patriotic fervour of the immigrant searching for roots and security within a new realm, and Lee may be Boss Hogg reborn. But Tennessee is home to those that can smell it and should be ruled by the same. To those who are dug in like a walnut and who will live and die here, come what may.

M.C. Atkins

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