Done Unto

February 12th, 2015

A recent poll showed that more than two thirds of us in Tennessee knew very little or absolutely nothing about Insure Tennessee and the expansion of Medicaid in our state.

When so many of us cut off our noses to spite our faces electing the legislature we have, it’s no wonder we can’t smell what’s going on in Nashville.

As published in The Daily News, February 13, 2015, and in The Memphis News, February 14-20, 2015

Im Not Listening


Since last week’s debacle in the state legislature – the abandonment of common sense and decency and hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans by their elected representatives – the ether and printed pages here and elsewhere have been full of various explanations and finger pointing. Let’s keep it simple. Let’s simply point that finger at those who raised their hands.

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

These are the seven state senators who wouldn’t let Insure Tennessee out of committee much less on the floor for a vote, and the senate majority leader who turned his back to the governor of his own party refusing to support him in the senate, “respectfully,” he said, in a move that deserves no respect at all. 

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

These eight people denied at least 280,000 people in Tennessee health insurance because of their spineless fear of two people in Wichita – the Koch brothers – and their mindless hatred of one man in Washington – the President of the United States.

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

They wouldn’t allow a vote on an expansion of Medicaid to the working poor that our federal tax dollars and our hospitals would pay for completely, not costing us an additional cent but costing our fellow citizens their health if not their lives. Amazingly, two of them – Kelsey and Norris – purportedly represent the citizens of Shelby County, home to one fourth to one third of those now denied health insurance in Tennessee.

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

These Republicans spurned the Republican governor and his two-year effort to appease them. They ignored the Republican mayor of Shelby County, the traditionally conservative interests of the chambers of commerce and medical associations across the state, the beleaguered hospitals and – if you read Matthew – the tenets of the professed faith they flaunt at every public opportunity, apparently, for effect. In a body with a higher percentage of self-proclaimed Christians than a packed revival tent, their action begs the evangelical bumper sticker question – WWJD? Well, let’s see:

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40

Bell. Bowling. Crowe. Gardenhire. Kelsey. Nicely. Roberts. And Norris.

The reason their names bear repeating is because of a disturbing poll reported in The Commercial Appeal last week, finding that two thirds of Tennesseans either knew nothing or very little about this whole issue. That’s how the eight got away with it – how, in fact, the entire legislature gets way with much of what they do. Most of the people being done unto are unaware of the doing.

My fellow Tennesseans, meet Mike Bell, Janice Bowling, Rusty Crowe, Todd Gardenhire, Brian Kelsey, Frank Nicely, Kerry Roberts and Mark Norris.

I’m a Memphian, and there are names for what’s happening to this state. Don’t forget them.


I'm a Memphian by Dan Conaway

If you don’t read it, I’ll read it to you.

The book is available in print online and all over town and now in audio online at Amazon, Audible and iTunes, read by the author – columns, comments and character references for a city filled with it and often absolutely full of it. Take a look or a listen.



There are no comments yet.

Leave a comment