Elegy for the Hi-Tone
Three years ago, I met my wife at the Hi-Tone Café ("Last Night at the Hi-Tone," February 28th issue). It was a concert by Dan Deacon, an indie electronic pop DJ, and 90 percent of the crowd were high school teenagers. Deacon plays games with the audience: You roll on the floor, you high-five everyone around you, you run outside, then back inside. I turned to my future wife and said: "We look like camp counselors." Then, because I thought she was pretty, I made sure to dance, a thing I hadn't done in years, so she would think I was fun. (I'm not, joke's on her.)
We've been married for a year, and we're expecting a baby in May. It's funny how life works. How quickly it moves from one arrangement to another, sometimes smoothly, sometimes frantically. The Hi-Tone isn't my favorite venue in town. I feel more comfortable at the P&H. I've seen much better music at Young Avenue Deli, but the Hi-Tone will always be "the place where I met my wife."
The world opened a portal for me, so short. I took advantage. I can't hardly remember my previous life. How painful to reminisce! You look at these choices, these chance occurrences, life so contingent. These are the faint signals by which life is guided.
A Sad Day
It will be a very sad day for half the citizens of our country if our right-wing Supreme Court votes to take the power of enforcement out of the Voting Rights Act. As recently as the last election, the Republicans made it very clear that they have no use whatsoever for fully 47 percent of the American public. They tried every dirty trick imaginable to disenfranchise millions of voters.
If the court guts the Voting Rights Act, it will be as if the moldering body of Jim Crow has been reanimated and let loose like a devouring zombie to prey upon not only African Americans but also Hispanics and our poor and elderly.
I attended a meeting of the state Senate judiciary committee on February 27th. I think I'm still in shock. I was very interested in Senator Mae Beavers' Senate Bill 250. This bill would make it a crime (was amended from second-class felony to a misdemeanor) in Tennessee to enforce (unconstitutional) laws against our 2nd Amendment. You might think it would be a slam dunk for a Republican super-majority. Not so.
I listened to at least 90 minutes of argument and testimony. There are nine members of the committee and with Senator Ophelia Ford absent, the vote ended in a tie at 4 to 4, so the bill stays in committee and will be brought back up for another vote. It is very unlikely that Ford will vote for this bill.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of this bill. It answers the question, "Will our state government protect us from a runaway, out-of-control federal government usurping unconstitutional power?" The answer is almost certainly going to be no.
The four senators who voted against the bill took the position that it is unconstitutional for a state to oppose unconstitutional federal law. Their opinion is that "the supremacy clause in the Constitution overrides the 10th Amendment." If the supremacy clause overrides the 10th Amendment, it overrides all 27 constitutional amendments, in which case our federal government, using the supremacy clause, could nullify our Bill of Rights.
What is important to learn from the actions of the Senate judiciary committee is that our state government under Bill Haslam is not going to protect us from unconstitutional federal law.
I believe Governor Haslam has flagged this bill and has his sights set on Washington and does not want to make a stand against federal usurpation of unconstitutional power. To keep our constitutional republic, it is essential that citizens involve themselves in our government.