Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ford Is The New Face Of Tennessee

Below is a great article that comes from the Jackson Sun that makes the appeal of electing Harold Ford Jr. this November as our next U.S. Senator:

John Stuart Mill said that "Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives." I agree with him, not to be contentious but just look at the record. Last Sunday, an analyst on TV said that we have just passed the point where Reaganite spending (so far) in Iraq would have propped up Social Security for the next 75 years. I think that qualifies as stupidity.

But let me back up. Lincoln Day was recently re-named Reagan Day, at least locally, so I am honoring their wishes and shall call them what they are, Reaganites. As a near lifelong student of Lincoln, I am certain that he would be glad to be disassociated from the Reaganites. In fact, I think he would insist on it.

The old Lincoln Republicans were the noble opposition, refined and virtuous, the very opposite of today's Limbaugh-Reaganites. Jackson just lost a fine example of a true Republican and gentleman when Judge Hewitt Tomlin died unexpectedly. His life served as an example to the many that knew him and I am proud to have been one of them.

Returning to the Reaganites, every time the president is called to task for his blunderings, he symbolically wraps up in the flag, blasts terrorism, and thereby invokes our most heart-felt patriotic feelings for the umpteenth time. We love our country and it is powerful medicine to see him portray himself as the essence of it when he is actually one of the worst presidents in history by almost any objective measure. But the Reaganites just think he is swell and that takes us back to John Stuart Mill's deduction.

Our country is already in trouble and no one can even imagine how bad it will be by 2008. It will take our best and brightest people to steer the United States out of the debris left behind by the current administration.

I like what I see in the 35-year-old U.S. representative from Memphis who already has nine years of congressional experience under his belt, Harold Ford Jr. Highly educated, energetic, well-spoken, experienced, profoundly intelligent with a solid, growing base of support, he is the man to watch because there is a good chance he will be our next U.S. senator.

I would say that he has some problems to overcome like his misbehaving uncle, but who really wants to be the first to throw stones because a member of their family keeps getting in trouble? All I can do is judge him by what others tell me about how he tries to resolve their problems. They say he is receptive, does his best to be helpful and is effective.

The Reaganites and white trash will not vote for him because he is thankfully not one of them. But they will stir up as much racism as possible. They will do anything to win, even that. Harold Ford Jr. is qualified in every way that a man can be yet their nasty comments will be whispered and should be answered before they even start.

To those who want to drag race into a human being's effort to represent the people of his state in the national government, I say this, it is past time for Tennessee to demonstrate to the rest of the country that we are by far a better place than we once were. Not perfect, just better.

While past generations of Tennesseans glumly witnessed the mistreatment and even the killing of black leaders without much surprise, the present generation would find it outrageous and intolerable. But the rest of the country apparently still thinks we have a "people problem", specifically the inability for one race of Tennesseans to co-exist with the others.

There is simply no way to calculate how many industrialists with good-paying jobs, government planners needing new facilities, out-of-state tuition-paying college students, retirees with money to invest in our banks, and others that have automatically overlooked our state because of a widely held prejudice against us that we have inherited from the past. I believe that we just do not deserve being ignored any longer.

Harold Ford Jr. is not only a man clearly qualified for higher office, the fact that he is not white makes a positive statement to the nation. Namely that modern, fair-minded Tennesseans have largely left their prejudices where they belong, in the past.

Tennessee has changed. We just need to prove it.