Roy Exum: Coca-Cola Is Horsin’ Around

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

There is a verse in the Bible’s book of Proverbs that tells us, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” For about the last 125 years, or ever since Dr. John Pemberton poured the first glass of what was, at first, a drink of patent medicine at Jacobs' Pharmacy in Atlanta, a long line of great Southern gentlemen have been keen in their intent on making that belief a virtual cornerstone of the Coca-Cola Company.

Trouble is, the verse in Proverbs you just read is in the 22nd chapter. There is another “biggie,” though not as well known, that comes before – up in the 10th chapter – and while it says much of the same, it makes certain people nervous.

It reads, “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.”

I want you to think about “rot” as I explain to you that the Coca-Cola Company has just publicly announced it is not sponsoring nor endorsing the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration between Aug. 22 and Sept.1 this year. But there is this -- the fact that Coca-Cola still has anything at all to do with it has the great majority of those who work for the global company that now operates in over 200 countries so embarrassed and forlorn they hardly know what to do.

You see, just last week the Cola-Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma, which is a small independent company that hails itself as a long-time supporter of the local community, jumped at the chance to become what is legally called “the beverage provider” of the National Celebration’s main arenas and, in my way of thinking, tore down in a single day much of the great respect it has taken years for Coke to build. Pepsi, which had sponsored the Celebration until scathing proof of sadistic depravity was aired on ABC’s “Nightline” news show in May, immediately and very rightfully bolted the very next day, severing any and all relationships with the Celebration and its leaders. Since then, an avalanche of horrors has beset the Shelbyville-based horse industry and it now appears there are more among the Celebration elite with past and present violations of the federal Horse Protection Act than there are without.

Yet, after almost a half-century of repeated scorn and 40 years that the federal Horse Protection Act has been skillfully dodged, it appears that a healthy 90 percent of the half-million owners of Tennessee Walking Horses have finally had enough of the criminal crowd and, with federal prosecutors and the Humane Society vowing to the American public that animal abuse must end, the industry’s annual show in Shelbyville is almost as popular with clean and honest horsemen as leprosy.

Horse abuse in Tennessee just became a felony. Stiffer federal laws have been promised and prosecutors – with the first guilty pleas since 1970 – are eager to bring such pressure to bear a criminal would rather join the Foreign Legion under an alias rather than now harm an animal, be it livestock or domestic.  Now what is sick is the legal jargon. Today’s legal slicks claim that the Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma is not sponsoring or endorsing the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, either, but have simply agreed to supply beverages for events like high school commencements, church retreats, Chamber of Commerce meetings, and … you know, 10-day horse shows at the hottest time of the year.

In other words, it’s just a money deal. What we lovingly call “Big Coke” doesn’t have anything to do with the independently-owned Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma except when some bookkeeper writes “For Deposit Only” on the back of the checks the Tullahoma owners mail in to headquarters. Please understand, nobody from Coca-Cola wants anything to do with those with guilty pleas that will be sentenced in Federal Court on Sept. 10, or the lawsuit by the Shelbyville crowd angrily filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or the continuing violations of the federal Horse Protection Act by the top trainers in the game. Or goodness only knows whatever is next for “the Country Club Crowd” in Shelbyville.  A just-released statement clearly illustrates that all the Coca-Cola crowd wants is the money. You see, it contains this flowery paragraph that reads, “The Coca-Cola Company cares for the welfare of animals and supports the proper treatment of animals. It has a strict animal rights policy in place for all events and attractions featuring animals. The Company's trademarks must not be used to promote an event or attraction that violates local, state or national laws or is contrary to the Company's policy and guidelines.”

Then on the exact same piece of paper – so help me this is true – there is another sentence that had to be written by some future Supreme Court justice: “The Coca-Cola Company’s trademarks will not be used to market or promote any events held at the arena.” Are you kidding me! What are they going to call it – soda pop?The whole thing would be ludicrous if it weren’t so blatantly shameful. During my life I’ve had the great pleasure and honor to know and befriend some of the giants of the Coca-Cola Company. Men like Summerfield Johnston, Jack Lupton, J. Frank Harrison, Crawford Johnson and Carl Navarre all knew exactly how – and when -- to take a stand like Abraham Lincoln unashamedly wrote about one time.

About 150 years ago President Lincoln stated, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong." Call it what you will – pouring rights, beverage supply agreement, dancing with the devil – I could give a rip. When Pepsi withdrew from the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, it was clearly the right thing to do and championed the ideas and values our country celebrated so fondly just yesterday.

Coca-Cola's latest statements show its crowd is apparently more into silver and gold.

royexum@aol.com

Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows, left, with representatives of the Tullahoma Coca-Cola bottling plant
Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows, left, with representatives of the Tullahoma Coca-Cola bottling plant

Many Colorful Flags

Any Investigation Into The Recent Event Should Be With An Open Mind

The Not-So-Gay Pride Week


Since the first UN conference on climate change in 1995 in Berlin, Germany, each of their annual global warming brouhahas have been held in major cities of the world, that is except the capitals ... (click for more)

There have been several instances here and around the nation where someone did or could have lost their freedom because an innocent touch was mistaken as sexual preying on a child. The local ... (click for more)

Thank you for the Chattanoogan article excerpting comments expressed about "Pride Week" at the Chattanooga City Council meeting this week. Apparently now June is LGBT Pride Month but now October ... (click for more)



Opinion

Many Colorful Flags

Since the first UN conference on climate change in 1995 in Berlin, Germany, each of their annual global warming brouhahas have been held in major cities of the world, that is except the capitals of three of the world’s biggest polluters-Beijing, New Delhi and Moscow. The next one is in November in Egypt. That should be a clue as to how many sacrifices and reductions the so-called ... (click for more)

Any Investigation Into The Recent Event Should Be With An Open Mind

There have been several instances here and around the nation where someone did or could have lost their freedom because an innocent touch was mistaken as sexual preying on a child. The local priest some years back, out with family at a restaurant. His niece sitting on his lap and he was absent-mindedly patting and rubbing her leg. The Middle Eastern family living in Texas who ... (click for more)

Breaking News

42-Year-Old Man Drowns At Boat Dock On Chickamauga Lake Saturday

A 42-year-old Hamilton County man drowned at a boat dock on Chickamauga Lake on Saturday afternoon. It was near Erwin Marina, but marina officials said the incident happened at a public boat dock, and not at the marina. TWRA Officers responded to a 911 call around 2 p.m. for a missing person. A man loading a Bayliner cabin cruiser boat had disappeared. Witnesses said ... (click for more)

Fleischmann Praises The Release Of Matthew Heath From Captivity In Venezuela

Representative Chuck Fleischmann on Saturday praised the release of Tennessee resident and Marine Corps veteran Matthew Health, who had been held captive in Venezuela for over two years. “Praise God that Matthew Heath has been released from his wrongful captivity and is coming home to his family. Throughout the over two years that Matthew was held, his family never gave up ... (click for more)

Sports

Mocs Have Big Second-Half Comeback To Win At ETSU

Allym Ford ran for two of three fourth quarter touchdowns as the UTC Mocs came back from a 13-0 halftime shutout for a victory at ETSU. Holding the Bucs to only a second half field goal, Chattanooga won 24-16. It was the fourth largest comeback in school history and the largest halftime deficit overcome. The three larger were 18 points each against Furman (10/23/2010) and ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Hoops Team Begin Practice Saturday

If it’s October 1, then it is college basketball time in Tennessee. With the official practice opening for NJCAA basketball, Cleveland State’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach Evelynn Thompson and Rafael Howard, Head Men’s Basketball Coach enthusiastically release their 2022-2023 season schedule. Falling just one game short of going to the 2021-2022 National Tournament, the Lady ... (click for more)