Smith: What doesn't work

Smith: What doesn't work

December 4th, 2017 by Robin Smith in Opinion Columns

Humanity is always seeking the better mousetrap. In many cases, the will to improve prevails and a way is found toward advancements. However, not everything in this "progressive" world of 2017 demonstrates our societal gains.

In the last week, there have been a few headlines that have earned the label, "Things that don't work." Let's look at a few.

First, hiring a college football coach should be a very thoughtful, deliberate process. Thoroughly vetting candidates for such a significant hire is critical to ensure the coach has the qualities and professional or life experiences to be successful in managing the complex demands of running a multimillion-dollar operation and to be able to navigate an environment filled with potential controversies of the day — one of which is sexual misconduct.

Last week, the University of Tennessee's athletic department allowed social media rumors and speculation to control the narrative of the head coach search process beginning with unsubstantiated rumors of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach and ESPN broadcaster John Gruden under serious consideration for the post.

Robin Smith

Robin Smith

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

This was followed by the near hiring of a candidate whose name came up in numerous news accounts about the Penn State child rape scandal. UT's search process would have been better if it had just run a classified ad. The new UT chancellor, a new athletic director and supporters rabid to finally change the fan experience at a beloved football program simply were failing.

Then, our Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond made a startling revelation last week at Wednesday's county commission meeting. According to last week's Times Frees Press coverage, "As many as 40 percent of inmates are on psychotropic drugs, and a large share are mentally ill or addicted, ending up in jail because they can't access treatment or social services."

Yeah, that doesn't work. Society agrees that law enforcement jails those who have committed crimes against persons and property as a part of our justice system. There's nothing just about placing the mentally ill under the jurisdiction of the corrections system. Talk about guaranteed recidivism at $82/day plus the cost of medications out of the taxpayers' budget.

Then, the pandemic of sexual misconduct that has consumed the halls of Congress, newsrooms and the boardrooms of big entertainment is a classic example of where our society has made an enormous miscalculation.

What exactly were we, as a culture, expecting when we allow our decisions to be made based on feelings, then teach our children the same? Understanding that human nature pursues pleasure and avoids pain informs us that our feelings and emotions will prioritize personal satisfaction and gratification. Couple that with the "progressive" doctrine that devalues the respect of moral values which restrain unchallenged individual license, and we get a cesspool of culture that should surprise no one.

Today, since we've defined deviancy by embracing "whatever," those whose self-esteem has been bloated with pretense and entitlement are led to believe that their feelings and how they "identify" determine their reality.

Clearly, this is not working.

So, to UT athletics, apologize to the fans and lay out a thoughtful plan. We've endured five years of losing. Hamilton County and Tennessee government, support Sheriff Hammond's efforts in screening the mentally ill out of the jail population to an appropriate setting. Related to decency in our society, it's time to choose: license or liberty.

Robin Smith, a former chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, owns Rivers Edge Alliance.

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