Latter-day carpetbaggers are here to save the children

Betty BeanKnox Scene

I’ve rarely been so happy about action of Knox County Commission as I was this week when the commission defeated efforts by District 7 commissioner Rhonda Lee to pass an aspirational (that means it doesn’t do anything) resolution to protect children from bad stuff.

It was the second time Lee has been rebuffed by her colleagues. She lost first on an aspirational resolution to rein in Hallsdale-Powell Utility District. This time she had only her own vote, losing 1-9-1 (Kyle Ward missed the vote). The resolution was written by a fellow who moved here from somewhere else.

Has anybody else noticed the abundance of carpetbaggers around here these days? You don’t have to look very hard to find them.

One of Monday night’s speakers who flat-out asked Knox County Commission to protect our children from drag queens said she and her husband had already taken their message over to the Anderson County Commission. She said she and hubs are tickled to be here in Tennessee after fleeing San Diego, which has gone straight to hell since the Democrats screwed everything up.

The unmarried, childless, 40-ish GOP campaign operative, who discovered the Lee-sponsored Innocence Resolution on a Michigan county’s agenda, wasn’t at the meeting – or if he was, he didn’t show himself on TV. He migrated here from Illinois a few years ago and managed Lee’s commission campaign, which hammered away at traditional Republican pocketbook issues like utility bills and taxes, but failed to bring up the problem of drag shows, so he gave Lee a resolution aimed to remedy that omission. He hates to see young people being set upon by “groomers.”

His friend and colleague (and the co-architect of the winless 2021 GOP foray into city politics that promised a sweep), a one-term Knox County Republican Party chair wasn’t there, either, but his presence was felt the next day when he announced his intention to run for county law director. He is from New Jersey but ended up here after bouncing around the Right Coast looking for a law school.

The county GOP party chair he succeeded, and who was his local mentor, probably wasn’t there, either. This guy was a Comments Section superstar who became mayor of a tiny Jersey township before he packed up his talents and brought them to Knox County.

The choke-slamming wrestling star who registered to vote in Knox County in 2016, two years before he was elected county mayor in 2018 was probably at the meeting, since it’s kind of his job to be there and fans of the resolution are fans of his.

And that’s just a tiny sample of the migrants who have come here to make common cause with other freedom fighters (although I probably should mention that semi-famous right-wing lawyer who did some research and then moved to Blount County from Texas to find his tribe but was annoyed to discover that a liberal arts college founded in 1819 was sitting right in the middle of town not far from a LGBTQ-friendly bookstore).

Given this array of talent that has descended on us, I have to wonder if they are here to teach us hillbillies their ways, perhaps confusing our ornery outlook with the undiluted nuttery of the collar counties surrounding Nashville. Our school board meetings got loud and rowdy during the Covid epidemic – Middle Tennessee meetings made Saturday Night Live.

And although the Innocence Resolution didn’t spell out exactly what the children need protecting from, we can connect the dots. It’s LGBTQ folks, with an emphasis on the T, which stands for Trouble and also for Trans, which means men in tulle are going to be singing Baby Shark to unsuspecting children who are lining up to pee in litter boxes, obviously.

Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for


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