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VOL. 130 | NO. 30 | Friday, February 13, 2015

Dan Conaway

Dan Conaway

Done Unto

By Dan Conaway

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BELL. BOWLING. CROWE. GARDENHIRE. KELSEY. NICELY. ROBERTS. AND NORRIS. Since last week’s debacle in the state Legislature – the abandonment of common sense and decency and hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans by their elected representatives – the ether and printed pages here and elsewhere have been full of various explanations and finger pointing. Let’s keep it simple. Let’s simply point that finger at those who raised their hands.

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

These are the seven state senators who wouldn’t let Insure Tennessee out of committee much less on the floor for a vote, and the Senate majority leader who turned his back to the governor of his own party, refusing to support him in the Senate, “respectfully,” he said, in a move that deserves no respect at all.

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

These eight people denied at least 280,000 people in Tennessee health insurance because of their spineless fear of two people in Wichita – the Koch brothers – and their mindless hatred of one man in Washington – the president of the United States.

They wouldn’t allow a vote on an expansion of Medicaid to the working poor that our federal tax dollars and our hospitals would pay for completely, not costing us an additional cent but costing our fellow citizens their health if not their lives. Amazingly, two of them – Kelsey and Norris – represent the citizens of Shelby County, home to one-fourth to one-third of those now denied health insurance in Tennessee.

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

These Republicans spurned the Republican governor and his two-year effort to appease them. They ignored the Republican mayor of Shelby County, the traditionally conservative interests of the chambers of commerce and medical associations across the state, the beleaguered hospitals and – if you read Matthew – the tenets of the professed faith they flaunt at every public opportunity, apparently, for effect. In a body with a higher percentage of self-proclaimed Christians than a packed revival tent, their action begs the evangelical bumper sticker question – WWJD? Well, let’s see:

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” – Matthew 25:40

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

The reason their names bear repeating is because of a disturbing poll reported in The Commercial Appeal last week, finding that two-thirds of Tennesseans either knew nothing or very little about this whole issue. That’s how the eight got away with it – how, in fact, the entire Legislature gets away with much of what they do. Most of the people being done unto are unaware of the doing.

My fellow Tennesseans, meet Mike Bell, Janice Bowling, Rusty Crowe, Todd Gardenhire, Brian Kelsey, Frank Nicely, Kerry Roberts and Mark Norris.

I’m a Memphian, and there are names for what’s happening to this state. Don’t forget them.

Dan Conaway is a communication strategist and author of the print and audio book “I’m a Memphian.” Reach him at dan@wakesomebodyup.com.

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597