Burch: Fast train to the funny farm

Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

I used to worry that Tennessee Republicans were conducting a slow train to fascism. But I think I gave them waaaaaaaay too much credit, because they now seem to have us on a fast train — barreling at breakneck speed — for the funny farm.

Things were bad enough when Republicans were practicing bigotry against gays, Hispanics and Muslims, while denying women the right to choose whether to have babies, or not. But now Republicans are targeting teachers (and thus students) with ringing battle cries. Take, for example, these excerpts from Sen. Jim Summerville's recent comments on SB330: “I want to talk directly to my fellow teachers ... we [presumably Republican politicians] are warriors ... we will bend public education to our awe, or break it all to pieces.”

Talk about over-heated rhetoric. Summerville was a dark-horse candidate who raised only $1,900 in campaign funds. He credits Tea Party activists for his election, and we all know how anxious they are to boil over with fierce indignation, then erupt into impassioned cries of “Armageddon or bust!” (Ah, the sweet joys of fundamentalism.)

At the same time, HB368 is a thinly-veiled attempt to teach school children creationism and discourage or suppress the teaching of evolution, despite the altogether obvious fact that modern-day elephants evolved from mastodons and wooly mammoths. Scientists have even found frozen mammoths preserved in ice, flesh and all, so no one can possibly claim that such animals didn’t exist. Now that we can analyze DNA, we can chart the genetic changes that occurred over time, and we know that human beings are very closely related to chimpanzees and other primates. We also know that the earth isn’t a flat platform with an immovable foundation and fixed pillars, as the Bible claims in multiple verses.

But let’s ignore global warming, pump and burn oil like there’s no tomorrow, fill our children’s brains with mush, and depend on Jesus Christ to return and save our stupid butts at the last possible second. That is, after all, the Divine Plan (at least according to the Keystone Kops running Capitol Hill these days).

But what if Jesus decides this isn’t the end of time, after all? Then we have to lie in the bed we’ve made. Do we really want to break public education “all to pieces”? Do we want first-term state senators who are so incredibly hubristic and overbearing? Didn’t Jesus advocate humbleness? What happened to “blessed are the meek”?

  

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary,” at www.thehypertexts.com.

131 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 4/1/11 at 4:54

Another good article. Sadly, as dumb Tenn. Republicans are, I'm afraid Alabama and Mississippi ones are even dumber. And Minn. ones, like Michelle Bachmann are downright psychotic. So, it's North and South Pole psychosis.

By: HokeyPokey on 4/1/11 at 4:58

oh boy, it's really April Fools' day in Tennessee. Well, in the general assembly, seems like every day is Fools' day.

Summerville? No wonder he left 37212...

HP

By: dargent7 on 4/1/11 at 5:17

Bill Clinton, from Hope, Arkansas, broke the mold as being a "southern hillbilly".
But, listen to Haley Barbour for 15 seconds. You want that droll in the W.H. for 4 years?
I'd rather listen to Terry Bradshaw's Greatest Hits.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 5:23

Good morning

http://seestjohn.com/st_john_life/st-john-virgin-islands-images/st_john_sunrise/sunrise.jpg

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 5:24

I can remember the Republicans being a descent sort with principles, until they dropped it for power. First the neo-cons moved in and the Tea Party has taken what little honor they had left.

By: Loner on 4/1/11 at 5:34

Good morning, Nashville!

Another fine missive from Mike Burch. Mike is right, the Republican-Tea Party express is a fast train to Armageddon.....kind of like Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath...."He hears the piston scraping, steam breaking on his brow...God, He stole the handle and the train, no, she won't slow down!"

When you elect Holy Men to public office, democracy suffers and theocracy gains a foot-hold. You get useful idiots for apartheid Zionism in Palestine and you get Creationism in the science classrooms. You get homophobia and xenophobia in the state-house. You get pistol-packing preachers with 2nd Amendment ministries.

Yeah, Lincoln screwed up royally, he should have let the bigoted Southern theocrats go their own damned way....if they bolt the union once again, I say good riddance.

By: dargent7 on 4/1/11 at 5:43

Loner: Don't forget to call-in Sunday @ 11:30am ,or so...you'll have to get someone's cell phone # or divulge yours on Facebook. I think House has your address.
Or, you could print it here. No Fear: Sid doesn't post any more.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 5:54

Loner did you read this from yesterday?

By: parnell3rd on 3/31/11 at 6:25
Well Loner if your were offended by a flag, so be it.
I've personally seen the Stars and Bars flying in New York State.
I know of a place in America where the Union Jack is flown every day.
How come people are allowed to fly other nations flags in the USA?
Loner, you think that flag is bad, what about all of the "black on black crime that takes place every day? Where is the Black Leadership wanting to stop this?
If it is so bad here in the south, then why does the Census show Blacks moving back to the South from the North?
We have become a nation of the offended. If something offends us we get a lawyer and sue.
I am an American and no word or nationality goes before that word. i don't care where my people came from, I AM GLAD THEY CAME HERE!

By: house_of_pain on 4/1/11 at 5:57

I revealed my fb page to Loner.
Send me a message on there, and I'll divulge ph. #s.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 5:59

Anyone care to answer this? lol

By: yogiman on 3/31/11 at 5:22
Loner,

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I believe you, and all others, are entitled to your ways of thinking. So what entitles you all think I am all wrong and should think only as you do? Are you so perfect in your thoughts? Am I so wrong in my thoughts?

It only depends on who is thinking.

By: dargent7 on 4/1/11 at 6:02

House: Ok. My code name is Scorpio, even though I'm a Leo.
You rally the troups today. I'm exhausted. I even dropped the cover charge, gave the lap dancers the day off, and they still won't committ.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/1/11 at 6:05

good mornin', folks. TGIPF!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/1/11 at 6:08

you dropped the cover charge for Sunday? lol

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/1/11 at 6:09

btw, sid quit posting? did Scotty finally beam her up? what ever happened to chief pain in the butt?

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 6:12

You are a Leo, d7? That explains why I understand you. lol

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 6:14

Damn it people, when you speak of the names that should be spoken they will appear. lol

Oh morning Blanket.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/1/11 at 6:15

oops, i broke the golden rule, didn't i, Nemo? good morning to you.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/1/11 at 6:15

ok, off to work i go. have fun!

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 6:18

Thanks Blanket. You break the rules and run.

Have a good day anyway lol

By: dargent7 on 4/1/11 at 6:33

Nemo: Yes, August 19, same as President Clinton (different years).

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 6:36

For me it is Aug 4 same as President Obama. ( way different in years)

By: gdiafante on 4/1/11 at 6:41

Burch is right, it seems the state is on the short bus to the funny farm.

But, don't get complacent or laugh too hard...these people are dangerous and can do some damage.

By: dargent7 on 4/1/11 at 6:49

So, Captain, that makes us positively Presidential.

By: treehugger7 on 4/1/11 at 6:56

I just read that Arizona wants to charge $50 extra per year to all smokers and obese people on medicaid, who refuse to get weight loss or smoking cessation programs. Tennessee could clean up with "fat fees". Add the soda tax and poor fat smokers will really be broke! But think of the money we could pull in!

By: house_of_pain on 4/1/11 at 6:56

Good letter, Mr. Burch. If I weren't committed to my career here, I'd consider moving away from my home state.

Looks like the weather will be accomodating for Sunday...I'll get us a table outside.

By: treehugger7 on 4/1/11 at 6:57

In Arizona, 25.5 percent of residents were obese as of 2009, and 46 percent of Medicaid enrollees smoked daily in 2006. Sounds a lot like us...

By: budlight on 4/1/11 at 6:57

Blanketnazi2 on 4/1/11 at 7:09
btw, sid quit posting? did Scotty finally beam her up? what ever happened to chief pain in the butt?

Good morning Blanket. God bless you also. And I hope Chief is safe and well also. Life is good.

By: gdiafante on 4/1/11 at 7:01

"Good letter, Mr. Burch. If I weren't committed to my career here, I'd consider moving away from my home state."

I've been trying to get out of here for years...my wife likes it though. But she is getting tired of explaining to her family in Iowa how bass ackwards this state is.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 7:06

We can rule the world on altering week’s d7. lol

By: budlight on 4/1/11 at 7:06

G, many people here in this state are from "other" states. So are you saying most all states are backwards? It would seem so. You know you love Nashville.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 7:07

That reminds me treehugger, now that I have my new knees I need to start walking again. I wish that I was just overweight. I am way passed that point. lol

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 7:08

That sounds like a great idea, house. However we will have to keep an eye out for any drive-by shootings.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 7:08

There is one; hello bud.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 7:09

gdia-

Tennessee = eessenneT

By: gdiafante on 4/1/11 at 7:11

Read my post, sid. I'm not saying anything about anyone other than my family. Get it?

By: Moonglow1 on 4/1/11 at 7:33

Moonglow1: God appeared to me this morning & told me he plans to no longer serve TEA in heaven. He also told me that he really likes teachers & believes they should have the right to collectively bargain. He dislikes Charter Schools & the Tea Party. Oh oh God also hates guns but he likes the band Guns & Roses. Well apparently he has reserved a special spot in H_ll for Jimmy Summerville. God is very angry about his mean comments about our teachers. When Jimmy gets down there teachers will be allowed to swat him like a fly on a daily basis.

By: gdiafante on 4/1/11 at 7:36

"God also hates guns but he likes the band Guns & Roses."

We could use a little divine intervention to get the original lineup back together...

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 7:36

gdia-

Other than education it is actually it is much better than it use to be.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 7:40

Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.
-Lazarus Long, Time Enough for Love

By: gdiafante on 4/1/11 at 7:44

nemo, it's better than it used to be until you go to other states. Then you realize just how small minded and antebellum this state really is.

Examples:

the Monkey trial was almost 100 years ago, yet here we go again...

Iowa is very rural, but you can buy wine in the groceries (and shockingly they also have thriving liquor stores)

Pennsylvania is not trying to institute its own currency.

By: Community-carl-... on 4/1/11 at 7:50

At this point, I am pretty much disgusted with both major parties......the partisan politics, corruption, and unethical behavior demonstrated by members on both sides cause me great pain and disappointment. And the Tea Party consists of a bunch of loose cannons with narrow agendas....also unacceptable to me.

Yesterday's comments RE: Creationism and evolution just caused me all the more pain........obviously, many of the people who offer comments are very intelligent and thoughtful people, but so many also impress me as being very misguided.

I have a lot of work to do today (to compensaate for my unplanned early retirement from Metro due to last year's budget cuts) so I will be making few, if any, additional comments today.

Goodbye for now, cruel world.

By: serr8d on 4/1/11 at 7:53

Burch...
At the same time, HB368 is a thinly-veiled attempt to teach school children creationism and discourage or suppress the teaching of evolution, despite the altogether obvious fact that modern-day elephants evolved from mastodons and wooly mammoths.

There's no one (sane) who denies that micro-evolution is a proven scientific fact. As I pointed out yesterday, it's macro-evolution that's never been addressed by SCIENCE!. And, the origin of life; the original spark, the proto-protein-ne-amino-acid that led to what we see today, fully-functioning chimp-cousins who have an ability to reason.

But biological evolution can't explain how, or why, a wiggly multi-legged insect suddenly pupates then emerges with iridescent wings. What evolutionary process was at work that resulted in the common butterfly? What strange turn of biological-protein synthesis makes a caterpillar need to evolve to a butterfly? Or for that matter, any of the insects who make use of the pupal - larval stages before adulthood? The dragonfly in larval state is the meanest, baddest critter in the pond. Why did she evolve to fly and mate above the water?

Not related to biological evolution, but there's other 'clues' our world's creator left: why is the earth perfectly situated in orbit where we can, naturally, enjoy the triple-point of water (the stage where water can be solid, liquid and vapor; considered a 'perfect' temperature for a life-bearing planet) ? A few million miles either direction, no life.

Why are our oil reserves so plentiful? Why did they 'evolve'? Without oil, we certainly couldn't function as an advanced species; we'd never have left the 19th century.

We've questions that SCIENCE! isn't capable of answering. The've given up trying to 'prove' life can be generated without previous...life.

Troubling questions, especially for those who ignore their own souls, and are content to be as nothing more than any other animal. At least there's no one they must to answer to, eh?

By: gdiafante on 4/1/11 at 8:05

"why is the earth perfectly situated in orbit where we can, naturally, enjoy the triple-point of water (the stage where water can be solid, liquid and vapor; considered a 'perfect' temperature for a life-bearing planet) ? A few million miles either direction, no life."

The funny thing is that this was not always the case. The Earth has been in the same position (more or less) for 4.5 billion years. Yet, the triple-point of water took some time...the Earth was devoid of water.

Evidence, that stuff that is tangible, shows that the elements that are needed for life (water) came from space in the form of meteors or asteroids. They are not native to this world. In other words, it is a fine line between Earth being Earth or like Mars (which evidence also indicates was once filled with water, i.e. life.

Is that a miracle or a good example of randomness?

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 8:06

That is true gdia, but I promise that it was much worse back in the day. I don’t let little things like not being able to buy wine at the groceries or monkeys in our closet, to keep me from enjoying this state. I do get embarrassed at times, but it is a lot better than before. I use to say Tennessee was a good to be from, but now I say it is a good place to stand for.

Now as for as making it on money, I think that the rest of the country calls that counterfeiting.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 8:07

Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.
-Lazarus Long, Time Enough for Love

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 8:09

If earths orbit had been a little closer to the sun or a little farther, life on the planet would be as we know it.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 8:14

Oil supplies are plentiful because there has millions of years of decaying vegetation and animals decomposing.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 8:15

I’ve never understood how God could expect His creatures to pick the one true religion by faith—it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe.
-Jubal Harshaw, Stranger in a Strange Land

By: yogiman on 4/1/11 at 8:18

Mr. Burch,

I can only presume you are a hard headed thinking, foot stomping demoncrap opposed to the so-called republicant "funny farm". May I ask; would you rather be in that demoncrap flood zone? By that I mean those who can force their wishes on the people who didn't want them to vote the way they did? Like Obamacare?

We don't have a congress to "of the people, by the people, for the people". We have a congress for themselves only.

I've never been able to understand why there is two different parties in the US (I know, there is more than the two). I used to think the members of congress wanted that position simply to help the people of our nation live a good and decent life.

But then, they found they could set their own job positions along with their pay scales and all benefits they thought was "best for them".

Really, can you tell any difference between the two parties today?

By: Captain Nemo on 4/1/11 at 8:30

yogi start the name calling.