Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rappin' with the Rep

I had the opportunity to do something this morning that I had been wanting to do for a very long time: I had the opportunity to meet and have a good conversation with Stacey Campfield. My one regret is that a planned family function intervened to cut our time together short, I have a feeling we could have gone on for quite awhile longer. Indeed, after I left, I remembered a few things I wanted to discuss but didn't bring up.

As with most people in public life, Stacey strikes me as having the guarded speech of someone whose job is always on the line. With many politicians, this way of talking can be exasperating because you can't pin down where they stand. I didn't find this to be true with Stacey at all. He was straightforward and honest, and he put himself out there on the line to be examined. He was pretty guarded when I asked him about his political future, and I respect that...I think he was guarded because he has plans for the future, and I hope he does. I am 30 years old, and I have been around politics and political campaigns since I was 16, and although I didn't share that with Stacey during our session at the library, if he reads this and knows that, I think he will realize that was a test question!

I pondered the night before whether I should clean up and wear a suit and tie. I decided against this because being at the library, it was going to be pretty informal. What I did not know was that both Nicole and I would oversleep this morning (I had a late night at the office Friday) and this meant that while I was over at Stacey's listening session, Nicole had to run the errands that needed running an hour before. When Stacey saw me, it hadn't been long since I rolled out of bed, and I am sure I looked like it. Didn't seem to matter, it seemed like Stacey was as enthusiastic to meet me as I was to finally meet him.

I mention that because I saw in Stacey Campfield a quality that I see less and less of in leaders of both political parties today: The Stacey Campfield I met at Norwood Library was humble.

Humility is a virtue that is one of the marks of a Christian life. It is especially needed in our leaders in a free Republic, such as the one in which we are supposed to live. We need leaders who remember that holding an office of public trust is a privilege and not something to which they are entitled. This culture of entitlement is the root of all of the ethical problems we have in State and local government in Tennessee. Stacey came across to me as someone who was at my service, not just after my vote. We need more leaders like Stacey.

I strongly believe that the day will come when Stacey Campfield runs for a higher office. I sincerely hope that day is sooner rather than later, because the people of Tennessee are hungry for fresh, new, real, and innovative leadership. If Stacey wants to keep on moving on up, I want to help him in any way I that I can. Some of you might say "Right Oatney, you just want to hitch yourself to a political gravy train." If the train is going to give people the kind of moral character in government that Stacey Campfield represents, I don't just want to hitch myself to it-I'll blow the horn.

I want to seek office myself one of these days (sooner rather than later, I hope), I've never hidden that fact. To do so takes money I presently do not have and endorsements that will likely come only from those who share my vision for East Tennessee. I am also certain that my enemies will dig up every piece of dirt they can find about me, whether it is true or not, and will do everything they can to destroy me.

Stacey Campfield has put his neck out on the line in a very public way through his blog, and he has weathered the storm of personal destruction that comes with seeking office extremely well. He is an example to every one of us who seek to make a difference in public life.

No matter what happens in Stacey's political future, I sincerely hope he never loses his humility. It will stand him in good stead as he continues to serve the people of East Tennessee (and hopefully all Tennesseans) in the months and years ahead.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Money for the Music City

Legislators from Davidson County have filed two bills in the legislature for the State of Tennessee to help fund the new Nashville Convention Center.

I understand that not only is Nashville our capital, but its status as the musical capital of America and one of the great cultural centers of the South make it a magnet for tourists from all over America and the world, visitors from all over Tennessee, and country music fans like me. It makes sense that Nashville should have top-flight facilities to welcome visitors not only to Nashville, but to all of Tennessee.

If you've been to Nashville, though, you know that Nashville already has many of the great attractions and facilities it needs. It has one of the most famous hotels on the planet, it has some of the greatest cultural attractions in the country, it has many fine restarants, some of which I have had the pleasure at which to dine (and not a few good steakhouses). People already come to Nashville and the convention business is already there.

If Nashville wants a new Convention Center, let Nashville find a way to pay for it. If Nashville needs a new Convention Center and wants the State to foot a large portion of the bill, why not Knoxville?

Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

National press acting like 2-year olds

The national media is throwing a fit similar to what a 2-year old throws when candy is taken away. The mega-press had its lollipop removed and given to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times instead. I refer to the decision by the Vice President to reveal to the local Texas press the details of the unfortunate shooting accident in which he accidentally shot a friend with birdshot-before he revealed any of it to the national media.

This has caused the national press to declare that Cheney did not reveal the incident to the press in a timely manner, that he tried to cover it up, and that his entire career has been one in which he has attempted to keep secrets from the American people. Even Peggy Noonan a la The Wall Street Journal has gotten in on the act, discussing how terrible it was to keep this from the press, and even floats the notion that some in the Bush White House might consider replacing Cheney.

Cheney, through intermediaries, did reveal all to the press, just not to the Times or to Dow Jones, Inc., or the major TV networks. Instead, it was a little paper in Corpus Christi, Texas that will go down in history as being the news outlet that revealed this tragedy to the world. That is what has the press all upset-in the dark cloud of tragedy, the Vice President gave the story to the little man instead of the big media moguls, and it is eating them alive.

The national press is acting like it is the baby the candy was taken from.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Saddam on Nightline

Word is spreading across the blogosphere that tapes of Saddam Hussein will air on tonight's edition of Nightline in which Saddam discusses ways that America can be attacked with weapons of mass destruction. My wife said she saw a report this morning that said these tapes will show that while Saddam himself did not plan such an attack, he did know who was planning it.

If this turns out to be true, it could prove that Saddam had some sort of tie with terrorists, at least enough of one to know who (and/or what) was planning possible WMD attacks against this country, and perhaps even how severe these attacks might be.

I'll be bluntly honest: Before the war in Iraq began, I was adamantly opposed to the idea that the U.S. should go to war there. For me, it wasn't a factor of believing sanctions would work, or believing Saddam didn't need to be contained, as some did. Rather, it was the basic notion that our post-1950's propensity to involve ourselves in every foreign conflict known to man runs contrary to the intent of the founders of this nation. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't stand up to threats such as world Communism or fascism...but when we are not threatened, we do not need to involve ourselves, because if we do, we will create antagonism for America where none existed before.

The founders of our country understood this, and I share that philosophy with them. They believed, as I do, that a foreign policy of "splendid isolation" is nearly always the best course for America.

If these tapes prove that Saddam knew about a possible attack on America, they will blow the peacenik argument out of the water. Whether we should have gone to war would still be an open question, but the notion that Saddam did not represent a threat of some sort, or that he had no ties to terrorists, would be laid to rest.

I'll just bet you won't hear many Democrats talk about tonight's Nightline in the coming days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Attorney General has it right

The Attorney General of the State of Tennessee, Paul Summers, is to be applauded for appealing the decision of a federal judge to overturn the Senate's decision to oust Ophelia Ford for appearing to have obtained election to the Senate through fraud.

I'm not just saying that because I am a Republican. The AG is choosing to uphold a very important Constitutional principle regardless of which party has the Senate majority and who gets expelled from the chamber. State legislatures are entities of State sovereignty. Within any given state, the General Assembly should be allowed to hold and exercise supreme legislative power in a manner unimpeded by the federal government. Part of that supreme legislative power is the ability to make decisions about who qualifies for membership in the chamber and what legal reasons can exist for the expulsion of any member. This is, quite frankly, not the business of any federal official, including a judge.

Bravo to the Attorney General for standing up for the rights and sovereignty of the State of Tennessee.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A college campus is not reality

A user known as Bubba35 made an observation that is rooted in a skewed perception of reality:

I actually sit in College Classrooms and many of these students do NOT have the parental guidance they need! Is that there fault? So bascially your position is to demand more accountability of parents when the social service system fails to provide for them!

The biggest problem with Bubba’s argument is that he is equating the college classroom with reality. I have been to college, and I can tell you that what is said and done on a college campus is so far removed from the real world that many of our college graduates are unprepared for the real world when they arrive in it. I was lucky to have some very good professors who went out of their way to prepare their students for reality and took a personal interest in their student’s lives. These professors were in the minority, however, and were the ones most often criticized with the names campus liberals like to use for people who live in the real world like “racist, “sexist,” “homophobe,” and my personal favorite, “born-again bigot.”

When I was in college, I can tell you what a typical week was like. I went to class, I worked-part-time, and just about every weekend, word spread around campus where you could go to get drunk, whore around, and act a fool. This sort of behavior was not looked down upon, it was encouraged, right down to the administration passing out condoms to the student body.

I can say with honesty that I didn’t whore around, but I did do a number of things that I regret, and I certainly had my collegial experience in what it is like to be, in the words of Tennessee Confederate Sam Watkins, “real sloppy drunk.”

Considering that this is the sort of behavior that pervades our public college campuses, is it any wonder that Bubba sees unwed mothers in the classroom? Is it any wonder that he thinks the “social service system” has failed these young people? The social service system has not failed them…their parents, their teachers, their ministers, their so-called boyfriends, their friends, and their peers have all failed them.

We need to get back to basics as a society. We need not only parents to take responsibility for their children, but teachers and mentors who set a moral example for them.

That is what college should be, but it is not what college is today.

If your political opinions are based in the college classroom, you need to get them into the real world, and quickly. Paychecks and families tend to accomplish this in very short order.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

30th Birthday

Today is my 30th birthday. It’s easy to expect a great deal of pomp and circumstance on a day like today, but this year’s birthday passed like most of my other recent birthdays. It was a rather uneventful day. I had several family members and friends call to wish me a Happy Birthday and my wife made a special dinner, a custom she has taken to doing every year. I always look forward to whatever it is Nicole is going to fix for my birthday; it is always a pleasant surprise.

When your birthday falls so close to Valentine’s Day, it does create some interesting challenges, such as whether or not to accept Valentine’s presents, or whether you can consider your birthday presents Valentine’s presents too. Considering how mild this winter has been, I almost expected it would be sunny and 65 degrees on my birthday this year…instead we had patchy snow. I have to admit, I feel over the hill now. Nicole even found a grey hair. I hope the next thirty years are as eventful as the past thirty have been.

Locations of visitors to this page
Profile Visitor Map - Click to view visits
Create your own visitor map