Monday, April 23, 2007

Threatening the power structure

Both the Tennessean yesterday and the Knoxville News-Sentinel today have stories about State Representative Stacey Campfield.

I have long believed that the real reason that the people who don't like Stacey feel the way they do about him is because he tells the truth. Stacey Campfield is not going to butter you over to make you feel like he'll do what you want and then vote another way behind your back. Many other legislators do this just to insure that they get re-elected. They know that the average Joe Sixpack doesn't bother to check voting records. Stacey Campfield doesn't do that-if he doesn't agree with you, he will just tell you flat-out. I've seen him do this to constituents and I have even experienced the phenomenon myself.

When crooks like Rep. Joe Armstrong say "relationships" get things done on the Hill, that is precisely what Campfield is trying to combat. Friendly relationships are good, and Stacey has those, believe me. What he does not enjoy (and wouldn't enjoy even if he could) is the sort of "Boys' Club" atmosphere that permeates the Hill. Democrats would feel more comfortable if Stacey just shut up because they have been the party of control for a century-and-a-half and God forbid that anyone rock their boat.

Many Republicans are also quite comfortable with the status quo, because maintaining it means they don't have to answer for their actions, either. There are those of us who love Stacey, and there are others who hate him, but he has gone to the legislature and presented ideas, and has opened himself up for scrutiny in a way that few others up at the Plaza have done-all in the name of open government.

In a time in Nashville when both parties give us either crooks or cowards and present these people to us and call them leaders, Stacey Campfield is refreshing because he is neither one. He won't play the Democrats' game, nor will he sell out just to be comfortable.

My late grandfather always used to remind me that the truth is never popular among those in authority. "The truth was so unpopular that it got Christ crucified," he would say. Yet Christ continued to tell the truth and was deemed a threat to the power structure.

These people who call Stacey Campfield names, who mock him, and who shout him down do so because they are quite content with the way things are. Truth is anathema to those who resist reform. The reason that some of these people hate Stacey Campfield so much is because he is a threat to the power structure.

We need more threats to the power structure.



At Monday, April 23, 2007 7:09:00 PM, Blogger Kat Coble said...


I'm sorry, but I just plain don't like Campfield for the reasons I wrote about on my blog. I think he's violated his oath of office and overstepped his bounds as a representative in ordr to garner press cuttings.

At Monday, April 23, 2007 10:50:00 PM, Blogger Donna Locke said...

Katherine, Campfield does not represent you. You'd probably find plenty to dislike about my state rep as well, but we like him just fine.

Dave, you are right, oh so right. Campfield is a threat to the power structure, and they have tried to take him down.

At Monday, April 23, 2007 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

As my Granddaddy used to say, thinking something doesn't make it so.

Granted, I have the advantage of being able to call Stacey my friend. I have a bit of personal insight into the man's motivations that others may not.

He isn't perfect, neither am I or you...but I've known a lot of people in my life, and I have had occasion to meet and become acquainted with many politicians-when you are in my position you have to in order to be able to advocate for your own well-being.

I can honestly say that he is one of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure and honor to know.

At Monday, April 23, 2007 10:52:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

And they keep trying-let's keep fighting for Stacey, shall we?

At Monday, April 23, 2007 11:27:00 PM, Blogger Kat Coble said...

If I gather correctly, Donna, he doesn't represent you or David either. So how is my detraction any less valid than your advocacy?

David, he may be the nicest man to ever walk God's earth. That doesn't detract from the fact that he's been laughable at conservative politics.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:18:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

As I recall, you aren't a conservative-you are a libertarian trending toward the large L. That being the case, you are hardly in a position to call my fellow conservative Catholic "laughable at conservative politics." He is by far more conservative than you are, so if you want to get technical, he has a much greater right to lay claim to the title.

He doesn't represent you because you aren't an East Tennessean. The reason we like Stacey is because he stirs the pot and makes the forces the so-called "moderates" to listen.

Most importantly, Stacey does the right thing. He has something called a Christian conscience. That does tend to significantly alter the way that you do things.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Nice going, Oatney.

Not only do you slam my politics, you slam my religion, too.

I am a devout Christian.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 11:45:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I am glad you are a devout Christian. I hope this devotion is a prayerful one that leads to the changes in worldview that a true conversion experience inevitably brings about.

Many prayers...

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I hope this devotion is a prayerful one that leads to the changes in worldview that a true conversion experience inevitably brings about.

It already did. That's why I'm a libertarian. Thoughts on libertarianism and Aquinas for you here.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

And Aquinas was not a libertarian in the sense that you are...far from it. Catholicism is certainly not a faith that trends toward pure libertarianism-liberty of faith, yes, but not libertarianism in the 20th/21st Century sense of that term.

See St. Augustine's City of God and Pius XI's encyclical QUADRAGESIMO ANNO

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 1:21:00 PM, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Aquinas did not live in a post-Enlightenment Democracy.

Christian libertarians, such as I, believe that we are following God's law by Rendering unto Caeser that which is Caeser's (state law) and rendering unto God that which is God's (moral law).

Then again, since I gather that you are strictly Catholic and I am strictly Anabaptist, this is not the first time our two schools of thought have diverged wildly.

Clearly we have different philosophies of what constitutes Christian responsibility to the government.

I'd like to think that you'd be able to realise that this aBiblical difference does in no way affect my faith. Of course you're not in a position to determine the validity of my faith anyway. But for the sake of dialogue I'd like to think you'd be willing to realise that.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 3:58:00 PM, Blogger Donna Locke said...

I posted a response last night, but it didn't go through, apparently. Responding to a question above: I support Rep. Campfield for a number of reasons. He is part of an effort, a challenge to a corrupt establishment, that will help Republicans overall. I want a Republican majority in our Legislature. When we get that, it will help my own Republican state rep and senator, whose bills are regularly stalled, buried, killed by the Democrats, meaning my state rep and senator can't do what the people in my district elected and re-elected them to do.

Also, as a former journalist, I appreciate and support Campfield's willingness to convey information about the Legislature to the public via his blog. Our capital city newspaper has failed us in that regard.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:00:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

Heh...the true mark of a good Christian is their inability to follow their faith, thus requiring the Government to compel them to do it, eh David?

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:25:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

When did I even get on that line of thought? Obviously, you either weren't listening in catechism or had a poor instructor...I didn't even go there.

The Catholic faith (as opposed to, say, predestinarianism)is very much about free will, but in a very different way than Kat's line of thinking.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:43:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

Forgive me then, for it seemed as though you were saying that in order for her devotion to be a prayerful one (I read that as meaning "real"), that she must have a different world view than the one she already has, and one would presume, a world view similar to your own.

As I generally tend to view the difference between Conservatism and Libertarianism being that a Conservative wants the Government to enforce their beliefs, whereas a Libertarian does not, I sort of made that leap in logic.

So, as I was obviously wrong, what is your reasoning in stating that a prayerful devotion would lead to a different worldview than the one Coble possesses?

Oh, and just a side note, I never went through catechism or any of that jazz...the extent of my Catholicism was having water sprinkled on my head...I guess thats what you get when you have an agnostic Father and an Atheist Godfather ;-)

But I do find this all rather amusing, because for the past few years I've been exposed to Born Again Christian Republicans who are sure that your Catholicism has purchased you a one-way ticket to the land of fire and brimstone; its kind of nice seeing the tables reversed once in a while :)

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:48:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

If the anabaptist tradition is yours, you are correct. I will say that some modern Baptists claim to descend from anabaptists, others do not.

I am very much a strict Catholic, in the sense that in my heart of hearts, I believe in St. Augustine's concept of the Total Christian Society. Believing in the notion, however, and actualizing it in law are two very different matters. You can't legislate things so that everyone follows the Truth of Christ (Augustine certainly understood that), but as a Christian and a Catholic, I believe that I do have a duty if I enter public life to advocate for ideas and laws that reflect the closest thing that we could have to a society based on justice, moderation, and Christian mercy, especially for those who have no voice and cannot defend themselves.

In the words of the Prophet Micah:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

As for making determinations about your faith-you are right, I cannot make a judgment as to the state of your soul or your eternal destiny. That is a matter left only to God.

I can only speak with clarity that which I know in my heart is true-and that is what this weblog is all about.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:00:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Well, there are lots of Catholic conservatives and Republicans. Indeed, the stats are pretty telling. Catholics as a whole are split between the parties the way the rest of the population is. However, among Catholics who attend Mass each week and who obey the precepts of the Church, the numbers take a sharp red uptick.

As to the various fundamentalists that are sure I am straight on my way to Hell. Some of these people, I have found, have a poor understanding of Catholic teaching. Most of the time, that's the problem. I have also found many who have been opposed to some pretty poor Catholics in terms of an example (i.e. the "I'll get drunk, high, have illicit sex, then go to confession" type) and it badly colors their perception of of what the Church is. Some judge the church by its members and not its teachings.

Me? I'm just a sinner, fortunate to be a recipient of Christ's Divine Mercy, through the merits of which I strive to live a holy life.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:01:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I agree completely that a lack of majority hampers anything our people could do.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:40:00 PM, Blogger Kat Coble said...


I'm a Mennonite. Trust me, it doesn't really get more Anabaptist than that.

(I currently attend a Baptist church because there are not really any active Mennonite fellowships in my area.)

Sean, Re. your comment about those Protestants who think Catholics are doomed--it is interesting to see how we various brands of Christian seem to think we know better than God. I'm content to let God sort us all out.

At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 11:35:00 PM, Anonymous Adam Graham said...

The Tennessee State Establishment had better be pretty darn careful. We had one, Mr. William T. Sali here in Idaho who dared to stand up to the powerful state establishment for 16 years. One Republican House Speaker threatened to push him out a window. Another spitefully stripped of his chairmanship. The State media establishment tried to destroy him in concert with the Democrats.

I'm proud to say, he's one of our Congressmen. Maybe if the media keeps it up long enough, Stacy will join him.

At Wednesday, April 25, 2007 10:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Campfield Catholic?

At Wednesday, April 25, 2007 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Today's outcast is tomorrow's leader. It is always the ones who are willing to do the things which cause them to be hated who end up proven right.

Those who know Tennessee history ought to remember that. John Sevier thought that Andrew Jackson was a troublemaker, a rabble-rouser, and believed himself a superior military leader. The important note is that the two were ostensibly members of the same political party-an internal party fight, which is strikingly familiar to the way certain Republicans feel about Campfield. The two even got into a sword-and-fist fight on Gay Street in Knoxville and the next day the two men fought a duel somewhere along Kingston Pike not far from Kingston. The duel ended in a draw.

Sevier said of Jackson, among other things, that he was a "poor pitiful pettifogging lawyer." The two men never came to get along or reconcile.

Sevier is remembered as Tennessee's first Governor and a former Congressman in both North Carolina and Tennessee.

Andrew Jackson became the seventh President of the United States.

At Wednesday, April 25, 2007 12:36:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I believe Campfield is Catholic, though I do not support him for that reason. If he believed the same things that he does and were a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, or Jew (etc, etc.) I would still support him.

The fact of his Catholicism (not to mention his Irishness) only helps me to understand why he functions in the way that he does.

There are lots of so-called Catholics that I would never support for public office. But you can tell one who insists on living it through no matter what the cost. Those that do are always the ones who fight and don't care what the cost is.

Former Governor Robert Casey of Pennsylvania is a prime example of that in the other party-he was hated by many Democrats for his utter refusal to back down from his principles, and just as with Stacey, many of his intra-party detractors accused him of feeding off of media coverage. Casey, like Campfield, believed that media coverage of him would eventually lead to media coverage of the issues he cared about.

Today, we can say that the late Governor of Pennsylvania did more for the pro-life cause than any public leader since 1973 has done-and within his party, he was a hated man. Now they hold him up as a good Democrat and elect his son to the Senate.


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