Not a one of you has ever heard of a lady named Megan Jones Bell. But, because our state legislature is determined to allow California’s unique brand of crazies to pull Tennessee down to its loathsome level, our state lawmakers probably never will. Megan is a paragon in the field of mental health strategy – i.e., ‘What's the smartest thing for state government to do right now?’
Yet our state legislature, in recent years assuring the fact Tennessee is stuck in the nation’s “bottom 10” in our treatment of today’s every-growing mental health crisis, is once again cast as clowns.
Dr. Bell, an associate professor at Stanford, will be one of six speakers who we have never heard of at this year’s National Conference of State Legislatures (NCLA). Yet I can easily predict each of these no-names will have something our state legislators need and want to know – not to mention the networking opportunities and seminars and all else there is to learn when wisdom in governance has never been as crucial.
But, no, it ain’t happening. Last Thursday a woman who is actually running for Governor – Beth Harwell -- decreed that any elected official in the legislature who plans to attend the NCLA Summit will not be reimbursed. She and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally have written that since California banned state travel to Tennessee in 2016, the Volunteers will most definitely stick their tongues out, too, no matter the price of such blatant ignorance.
Several years ago the Tennessee General Assembly approved a law to allow psychological counselors to deny services to gay, lesbian and transsexual clients if their values differed. It was a good law – in this land of freedom anybody should live and practice to their hearts’ wish – but California was so incensed this state does not think like their state the extremists banned state travel to Tennessee and other states that also differed. (Note: San Diego Senator Toni Atkins will make history Wednesday when she becomes the first woman and first lesbian to hold the California Senate’s top job.)
So what, I say. Who cares? Several national groups decided to hold conventions elsewhere. So what? Who cares? You can go all the way down the list of California’s spite – so what? Who cares? Back in 2016, the Tennessee legislature quickly formed a loosely-worded resolution that says we “may be forced to take reciprocal action.” Ya-da-ya-da-ya.
But please, no clear thinker would ever thought that California’s weirdos would actually be granted the ability to influence what is best for Tennessee’s General Assembly. Guess what? Harwell and McNally just did – you threaten not to reimburse our state representatives and the last week of July they’ll all be on an East Coast beach.
Yet instead of staying on the high road, our leaders in Nashville made a fully-conscious decision to fall to California’s level. In a limp-wristed letter to the legislature convention leaders, stating this is “not an action we feel any pleasure in taking,” it was starling obvious to all in the Western Hemisphere that the two obviously got a bigger kick out of insinuating “we will not play in your yard, either” notice or – what! – the two goofs wouldn’t have sent Thursday’s letter.
Can you only imagine what a better world this would be had they not? We go to conferences to learn, improve, to be better. Where is the seminar that teaches the folly of letting a bunch of left-coast bozos dictate what’s best for Tennessee? Find it and a public offering will surely reimburse Beth and Randy.
Talk about Kindergarten 101. Speakers Harwell and McNally resembled the hillbillies much of the nation believes Tennessee to be. So embarrassing is this latest in Harwell’s puzzling actions during the governor’s race it’s a good bet this time next year she’ll be buying tomato plants and onion sets at the Walmart.
A top Democrat in the legislature, Mike Stewart of Nashville, charged Harwell with “fairy-tale figures” for a forth-coming Medicaid health bill over the weekend but that is nothing compared to her childish behavior and the soon-to-come bitter realization that she and McNally hurt us far more than it helped. That, in a word, is called ‘dumb.’
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* -- “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” ? Mark Twain.
* -- “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, ‘cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” – Will Smith
* -- “A man seeking publicity works with the noise of voice; A man working for humanity seeks the silence of rejoice in life.” -- Anuj Somany
* -- “What we think, we become.” – Buddha
* -- “Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” -- Mark Twain
* -- “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” -- Proverbs 26:4 (King James Version)
* -- “In the end, everything will be okay. If it's not okay, it's not yet the end.” -- Fernando Sabino, translated from Portuguese.