We're Better Than This

October 20th, 2011

When Ophelia Ford was first running for the state senate and was asked why she was seeking the office, she replied, “It’s my turn.” With jail, lawsuits and such troubling her royal family, she must have looked at her brother’s unpaid-for Rolex and determined it was baby sister’s time. Her opponent at the time was Terry Roland – you know – the current county commissioner who invited all of us, for the record, to kiss his “entire” rear end, and thereby figuratively showed it to one and all.

Who wins when either of these is our voice in Nashville? What do we look like when this is our face in public office?

As published in The Daily News, October 21, 2011, and in The Memphis News, October 22-28, 201

(pictured: the influential Mr. Todd, under the influence)

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Evidently, after one of our state legislators falls off a barstool, another will take the stool – then take the wheel of his car. Loaded with a loaded gun.

Ophelia meet Curry.

If you take your group for an evening river cruise off Memphis, you can expect spectacular views of the bridges, skyline, and, quite possibly, a pole dance by a member of the Memphis City Council. If the Mayor of Millington is in the poker game, police badges and interest-free loans might just be in the pot.

Janis meet Richard.

Prince Mongo has been responsible for as much key legislation as Ophelia Ford, and he hasn’t even been in the state senate. But, then, neither has she. Curry Todd – the man who would have us packing while we pray, the man who would guide how our school districts are formed and secretly gerrymander our legislative boundaries – gets hammered and puts the hammer down on a Nashville street with a .38 at his right hand. Janis Fullilove – impaired driver, counterfeiter, exotic dancer – gets reelected to the City Council. Richard Hodges, indicted for bribery, shows up at work the next day as Mayor of Millington like “any other day.”

You may think I’m taking these people to task for irresponsible, idiotic behavior at best, dangerous and illegal at worst. This isn’t about them. They can’t help it. If Todd thinks we should have a gun in church and that he can drink, drive and take aim, then God help him. If Hodges doesn’t realize that he should take a leave of absence while under indictment for bribery, then he’s taken leave of his sense of right and wrong. As for Ophelia and Janis, they can apparently do anything – really, anything – and get reelected.

We are to blame. Us. The yahoo in the mirror, not the one in office. We put these people there, in positions of public trust, in control of public safety, in charge of the public purse. In whatever body we elected them to, they are our representatives. The problem with blaming big bad government for our problems is the simple fact that we are the problem. Our laws, our livelihoods, our lives are greatly effected by those elected.

If you voted in the recent city elections, you expressed your civic opinion and exercised the most coveted franchise in the world. If you didn’t – and something north of 80% of you didn’t ­– then sit down and shut up. You are more, not less, responsible for who’s in office not truly and honestly representing us.

Todd has resigned his chairmanship of the House’s State and Local Government Committee charged with redrawing Shelby County’s state House districts. When you see what those district lines look like, you’ll understand. It’ll look like whoever drew them might have been drunk.

If you don’t give a damn – about your city, about your leadership, enough to even vote – you damn well deserve what you’re going to get.

I’m a Memphian, and I give a damn.


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