VOL. 133 | NO. 95 | Friday, May 11, 2018
Irony, Thy Name Is Tennessee
By Dan Conaway
NEW STATUE PROPOSED. Last week in advance of the primary, I read with interest multiple accounts of the Shelby County Republican Party’s outrage with the candidacy of one of their own, Keith Alexander, for property assessor.
It seems that they’ve just discovered that he was a former officer of the Council of Conservative Citizens – an outfit that Joseph Goebbels would be proud of – and that they’ve just heard, pun definitely intended, about his role as co-host of a radio program aptly named “The Political Cesspool” – a piece of particularly nasty air that causes one to question whether we’ve evolved after all.
Like Claude Rains in “Casablanca,” they were “shocked” to find all that out about Alexander – even though he’s been about this sort of thing for years – even though he was the party’s candidate for assessor in the last election.
Please. They knew this guy. If it weren’t for the efforts of the Rev. Canon Laura Gettys to make sure the slime saw the light of day and the reporting of it by Marc Perrusquia, the slime would have stayed under that dark rock.
All this brings me to the oh-so-righteous indignation expressed by Shelby County Republican Party Chair, Lee Mills, on the editorial page of The Commercial Appeal as he belatedly and spectacularly threw Alexander under the bright red bus.
He shared a resolution of Tennessee Republican Party’s State Executive Committee, in part:
“BE IT RESOLVED … that we denounce all white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups.”
(Except, of course, any statue or monument to anyone who might have actually have started or led such a group. That’s OK because he was, like, really sorry.)
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED … that we fiercely oppose any kind of radical, racist bigotry or hate that these groups espouse.”
(Except, you understand, any statue or monument to anyone who actually went to war in order to preserve the right to sell human beings. That’s OK because, well, just because.)
After the horrific punishment of returning Alexander’s $25 sustaining membership, Mills also shared the “real Republican message,” including this:
“We believe most decisions should be made at the local level closer to the problem.”
(Except, obviously, when those decisions differ with the supermajority in Nashville, we reserve the right to stomp on the rights and feelings of the supermajority in Memphis, and to decide what’s right and proper in their parks, schools, etc., and, yea verily, to craft statewide laws just to put Memphis in its place. That’s OK because, hey, we can.)
Irony, thy name is Tennessee.
In fact, I propose that be the inscription below a new statue to stand on one of our empty park pedestals that used to hold the celebrated icons of human trafficking. Perhaps, it should be representative of a large single digit extended to the east, symbolically mirroring the single digital salute the state Legislature regularly gives us.
I’m a Memphian, and if anybody in the state Legislature finds my suggestion offensive, you’ve been offending this city for years.
Dan Conaway, a communication strategist and author of “I’m a Memphian,” can be reached at email@example.com.