Social, culture war degrades us still
The Republican Party has swallowed their own poison pill of fear that they've peddled for 45-plus years. And now they afraid of one man.
For decades the Republican Party has been warning us about immigrants taking our jobs and about the socialist agenda to destroy the oil and gas industry. They were sure liberals would take away everyone's guns and impose unbearable taxes on the American people.
This was all a smokescreen to their real agenda that broadly achieved their goals of deregulation and avoiding all liability for taxes and the betterment of society.
The past four-and-a-half decades have been the unwinding of The New Deal, which was the single greatest driver to creating the middle class and the so-called "Greatest Generation."
The social war that the Barry Goldwater Republicans of the 60's began continues to degrade our society today. I fear it will continue to drive this country to ruin unless we the people rise up and stay engaged. This is not about defeating one man; this is about defeating an ideology of rich white male supremacy. It's going to take a Herculean effort to send them to the ash bin of history.
Anthem obsession a misplaced priority
The Tennessee state legislature has certainly faced a challenging 2020, now 2021. The COVID-19 virus has had a tragic impact on Tennessee, with more than half a million cases and 11,000-plus deaths since February 2020. It might seem that these problems offered a greater challenge than how athletes at Tennessee state universities choose to respond to the playing of the national anthem.
Recently a group of legislators published an edict about players "taking a knee" during the anthem. Sending such an official message takes time. Time to gather, time to discuss, time to compose, rewrite, compose again and spread the word.
They might have considered that COVID-19 has been particularly hard on some disadvantaged communities. It is possible these athletes experienced tragic personal losses of family members or friends. The lawmakers might have sought to learn why these students took the stance they chose. Instead of an edict, a conversation might have been the better action.
If one of these athletes were my son or daughter, I would be very proud of his or her decision to make their statement in a peaceful manner.
Doesn't support Medicaid block-grant
Federal officials approved Tennessee's proposal to block-grant Medicaid. This is bad for our collective health.
Let's look at the impact of the block grant: It provides incentives to save money when TennCare is already lean. And there is nothing to stop our legislators from moving any savings to other parts of the state's budget.
There is no commitment to increase enrollment, nor added protections from disenrollment, which happens frequently due to administrative barriers.
It gives the state less oversight of and accountability for billions of taxpayer dollars.
It has zero positive impact on Tennessee's most serious health care crises, which are: the pandemic, rural health care access and hospital closures.
We can do better than this. Thirty-seven other states (plus D.C.) have tapped federal funds to expand Medicaid to working families. Former Gov. Bill Haslam tried but was blocked by the legislature. Such a plan would bring in $1.4 billion/year of new federal funds for health care and give 300,000 Tennesseans the health coverage they need.
And if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that expanded health care makes communities safer for everyone.