If you’re planning to join a few hundred friends for dinner Aug. 20 and expecting to be inspired by a Rush Limbaugh wannabe whose most recent distinction is labeling gymnast Simone Biles a weakling and a sociopath, you must be a Republican. If you’re worried about the new Delta Variant of Covid-19 that’s jacking up our infection rates, you *could* wear a mask. But get real. Nobody at the Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner is going to be caught dead in no stinkin’ mask.
If you’re lucky, maybe you won’t end up listening to Charlie Kirk while sitting next to somebody who thinks drinking urine is a healthy alternative to getting vaccinated.
But if you have been looking forward to meeting former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones at the Truman Day Dinner Aug. 13, you may be in for a disappointment. That starts with a D, which rhymes with pee and stands for Democrat, which is what you probably are.
Knox County Democratic Party chair Matt Shears has been praised for booking Jones, a former U.S. Attorney for Northern Alabama who was able to get a measure of justice for the families of the four little girls murdered by a Klan-planted bomb which exploded in the basement of their church in 1963. The cherry on the sundae is that Jones isn’t charging a fee – unlike Kirk, who is getting $20,000 for his appearance.
Both parties have money-making VIP receptions planned.
However. This ferocious new strain of the virus is thriving in GOP-stronghold Southern states like Tennessee, where many reject pandemic safety measures like masking and getting vaccinated, and is threatening those plans – on one side, anyway. Our Covid numbers are going the wrong way and our Republican leaders are more inclined to listen to the loudest voices in the room than to follow the science. Since when is drinking urine conservative? And why does the governor fire public health experts for doing their jobs?
Lincoln Day will go on as planned.
What will Shears do? Should he go ahead with the banquet and related activities as planned, or will they order up boxed lunches and move the event to an outdoor venue? Or should they call it off and reboot at a time when the pandemic has been conquered?
It’s looking like a postponement is in the works.
Republicans have shoveled a ton of money to political operative/real estate agent Erik Wiatr’s Scruffy Little City PAC for a drive to kick the commies out of city government. His early returns aren’t good, based on his failure to get anywhere near the number of signatures he needed to get a referendum to hamstring city government’s ability to raise taxes, which surprised nobody who knows anything about the return rate for unsolicited direct mail (hint: it’s low).
Although Wiatr has a team of door knockers supporting the “conservative” council candidates, he relied on a mail piece asking voters to sign up for the petition drive, furnish their own stamp and mail it back in. As if.
Look for the Democrats to call off their big event and wait for a safer time while the GOP goes on with the show.
Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for KnoxTNToday.com.