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VOL. 129 | NO. 159 | Friday, August 15, 2014

Dan Conaway

Dan Conaway

The Q Party

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CRISIS AVERTED. It’s all a matter of perspective.

At the height of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, a friend’s father was in Corinth, Miss., on business. He was outside the courthouse having a cigarette and waiting for an appointment when he overheard a conversation between two old men on a bench.

“You know, those missiles down there in Cuba ain’t but 90 miles from the United States,” one man said, “Russians can point ’em anywhere they want.”

The second pondered that and asked, “Don’t think they’d point one at Corinth, do you?”

“Well, hell,” answered the first, “it is the county seat.”

In recent weeks, I was the old man on that metaphorical bench worried about what might be pointed at my world and what kind of destruction it might cause.

The Lt. Governor of my state and king of the senate – fueled by his own PAC money, the Koch brothers and other out-of-state flamethrowers – was taking dead aim at three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices in a blatant attempt to throw out one court and buy one of his own.

And he just might’ve gotten away with it.

In my county, a TV judge and real-life jerk – loaded with a monumental ego and unrestrained by truth or common decency – was machine-gunning lies at an honest and capable District Attorney General in order to take her job and turn it into a circus act.

And he was considered the top of his party’s ticket.

An absent state senator who accomplished nothing even when present might be re-elected yet again solely on the basis of her last name. A self-styled, self-important lightening rod might become Juvenile Court Clerk despite insulting behavior, an assault charge, and a possible felony.

But we dodged all of those bullets.

Ron Ramsey thought he could get a new court to play with because he’s a Republican, and Republicans are supposed to do what he says. He got his butt kicked with his own heavy boot.

Joe Brown thought he’d have a new soundstage because he’s a Democrat, and Democrats will vote for Democrats no matter what. Character and competence mattered more.

Ophelia Ford thought Ford was enough. The voters thought enough was enough.

Henri Brooks truly thought being angry and African-American would resonate because she truly believes she speaks for all African-Americans in Memphis. The voters weren’t listening to that anymore.

As an added bonus, Knoxville stepped up and relieved the state senate of Stacey Campfield thereby raising the whole body’s relevance and the whole state’s credibility.

It’s a start.

Democrats didn’t lose and Republicans didn’t win last week’s county election. Blacks weren’t conspired against and whites weren’t insidiously clever. It wasn’t about D’s and R’s, or B’s and W’s; it was about Q’s.

Last week’s winners were largely Qualified, mostly possessed of admirable Qualities, and some seem poised to Question tired stereotypes and outdated assumptions.

We have a long way to go, but the Q Party holds great promise.

I’m a Memphian, and it is the county seat.

Dan Conaway is a lifelong Memphian, longtime adman and aspiring local character in a city known for them. Reach him at dan@wakesomebodyup.com.

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