Dear Republicans: Stop with the crazy

Betty BeanOpinion

One of the unofficial rules for writing an opinion column is to pick a topic. One topic – find the good and praise it; expose the bad and beat it like a rented mule. Opinion columns are rifles, not shotguns, and require picking a side and defending it. And since I’ve recently been writing a bit overmuch about the past, I figured it was time to mix it up, take on something current. Something people are talking about now.

My first choice was voter fraud, considering the polling that’s telling us that the majority of Republicans are lining up behind the former POTUS and My Pillow Guy, who say #45 wuz robbed and is fixing to make a comeback, soon as all those ballots are microscopically examined for bamboo fibers and Stacey Abrams lipstick. These are probably the same folks who tell the pollsters they consider Vladimir Putin an OK guy.

But that’s just way too easy. Seriously. The porn-stache jokes write themselves (Donald Trump, Putin and My Pillow Guy walk into a bar with a duck). …

It’s also way too dumb, since elections are run by county election commissions, which are run by state election commissions, which are controlled by state governments, which, as of June 3, 2021, are largely controlled by Republicans (as per Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics). This sets up scenarios where Trump supporters are attacking Republican bean counters and state officials who were earning their jobs by building long track records of party loyalty when MPG was a crack addict and Trump was bankrupting casinos.

So much for election fraud.

How about the stramash that Republicans are raising over something called Critical Race Theory? The alarm, first sounded, apparently, by a journalist who was looking for a name to attach to anti-racist city of Seattle employee training materials he found offensive. He latched onto CRT, a previously obscure academic term, to excoriate the practice. It got picked up by conservative commentators and has spread like kudzu. Background here.

And CRT, of course, made its way to the attention of our state legislature, which passed a law against teaching it in public schools – which it isn’t anyhow. Earlier this month, school board chair Susan Horn told the Concord Farragut Republican Club that they should be monitoring what teachers say about race, because CRT is going to be illegal.

“It’s going to be against the law,” she said, to applause from the crowd and praise from her cousin-in-law, legislator Jason Zachary.

So, there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from, and it just got better (or worse) when I read a Facebook message from Gloria Johnson about her ongoing office space problems on Capitol Hill because she refused to vote for House Speaker Cameron Sexton, who assigns office space and in January crammed her into a windowless, closet-sized room with no space for a legislative assistant, let alone visitors (which state representatives have a lot of).

There are 99 House members and 99 standard-sized member offices in the Cordell Hull Building. Only 98 of them are occupied, since Johnson doesn’t have one. Sexton (who got his job when it became known that the FBI is investigating his predecessor) has rubbed salt into the wound by cramming her (Johnson stands 6-3) across the hall from the empty member office to which she should have been assigned. After the session ended, she was promised that her office would be enlarged. But when she returned to Nashville this week, she found that a small sitting area in the hall had been enclosed and a door cut into her wall to join the two tiny rooms. There’s still no space for a legislative assistant.

Johnson says she’ll keep on keeping on: “I am one person doing the job of two people,” she said. “They spent all this money to bully me when they could have moved me into that extra office. But I’ll keep doing the work of two people when they can’t even do the work of one.”

Look for her to be redistricted to Mars next year.

Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for

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