There are those who fault Donald Trump for the unkind divisiveness that is “the second plague” roiling the United States right now. But did you notice that when the brilliant Amy Coney Barrett was approved by the Senate to become our newest Supreme Court Justice, the entirety of “those” Democrat Senators voted against her? I tend to believe many who voted ‘no’ would actually support her, as do a large majority of the citizens in this country, but “mob rule” in Washington is where The Great Divide in America starts.
Closer to home, Republican State Senator Todd Gardenhire is being castigated over, of all things, fried chicken.
He made an off-hand remark saying that those in the inner city survive on fried chicken they buy at convenience stores and those who have twisted it completely out of context are pathetic. No one has a bigger heart for those in impoverished areas and the better fact is that Gardenhire has been trying as hard as he can to have grocery stores return to areas where people have limited access.
He also knows the real reasons there are no neighborhood stores in Chattanooga’s so-called “food deserts.” It's for the same reason three Rite-Aid pharmacies will not be replaced after Monday’s rioting in Philadelphia, that dozens of chain stores are boarded in Minneapolis, Portland, and other riot-ravaged American cities. The bad behavior by a few comes at a high cost to many.
I have talked to Todd and other elected officials on behalf of wonderful and serving people who have to drive miles to get groceries but when you talk to grocery retailers about placing stores in the inner city areas, they shake their heads. When the once-thriving Red Food Stores had a store at the far end of Third Street, their executives did all they possibly could to serve that community. One day some clown opened some charcoal starter fluid and splashed the flammable liquid down the aisles and then lit it.
All manner of havoc took place. Evacuating the store, trying to stop shoplifters who seized the moment, the fire trucks, the first responders, the hazmat teams, and the key. That’s the one that locked the door for the last and final time. The Red Food people tried – I know they did – but the costs of off-duty officers, the constant behavior issues, and the harassed employees left no choice. In short, a handful of thugs created a “desert” where no ‘bottom line’ stores will go any more.
Poverty is vicious. Chattanooga’s weekly black-on-black shootings are costing the predominately black neighborhoods in ways the black community cannot see. We’ve had about 130 shootings in Chattanooga this year and virtually none of the victims have health insurance. Each shooting carries a minimum cost of $25,000 but the blacks who have nowhere else to live, dare not help the police for fear of being the next victim.
So, let’s get back to fried chicken because in my mind there is nothing racist about it. I eat it all the time and never have I associated it with race. The best chicken in town comes from Champy’s and, because it tastes so good, white and blacks alike eat there every day. Sadly, Todd’s mention of it as no friend to obesity, blood pressure and diabetes – conditions that affect a disproportionate number of blacks – gave his black opponent, Glenn Scruggs, a chance to play his “race card.”
Scruggs, by all accounts a fine person, has no chance of beating Gardenhire on Tuesday. I believe Scruggs is desperate this late in the race and has yet to find out the “race card” has been played so badly and so often that it is a detriment to all who use it. Gardenhire has done so much for the people of District 10 – most especially those in poverty – that he’ll waltz. And the fact he has not said one thing that can be construed as a negative about Glenn has denied Scruggs of many talking points.
While the fried chicken remark is a long reach, the disappointing part is that Scruggs knew and understood Gardenhire’s methodology in addressing the health concerns of the black community, this heightened by the senator’s involvement in indigent care at Erlanger, which will easily reach over $150 million in costs that are not compensated by any source.
Gardenhire is also an active proponent of education in Hamilton County and has repeatedly emphasized that the best route out of the next generation’s escape from poverty centers on a rigid curriculum that will do much better than the existing model that has resulted in the majority of Hamilton County public school children who cannot read at grade level.
Chronic behavior problems in the inner-city schools, well documented, led to behavior problems in the inner-city communities, like splashing charcoal lighter fluids down the aisles of grocery stores that soon prefer to permanently close. This summer the same mindsets cost the American people over $2 billion (with a ‘b’) in race-fueled protests. Such egregious actions by unchecked mobs were widely reported to the point our nation’s Senate – as high up as it gets on the state leadership pecking order - took notice.
Then, with no regard with what the reaction might be, 48 hours ago the members of the Senate approved the appointment of a Southern-born lady to the highest court in the land, despite a mob of Democrats unanimously standing partisan against what will undoubtedly prove to be among the finest things we as a nation have ever achieved.
Remember this next week when your election ballot will feature names ending with a “(D)”. Your vote on Tuesday is all we’ve got to rid our nation of such absurd hatred. Mark your ballot wisely.