Who's Listening To You, Tennessee?

Friday, November 19, 2021

Yesterday, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles declared a state of emergency in the county.

Why? Because Mayor Ogles has taken the bold step that other leaders in Tennessee are unwilling to take. This action seeks to protect health care workers’ rights, a key point that has been missing in the state’s attempt to neutralize the Biden Administration’s authoritarian COVID-19 medical mandates.

Mr. Ogles is beginning to look like the mayoral version of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, because Tennessee’s current governor, Bill Lee, refuses to take a firm stance to protect the healthcare workers in the state of Tennessee.

The Tennessee Legislature has attempted to fight some of these battles, but there is still a group of people being left out of these attempts to combat the overreach of the Biden Administration and an increasingly authoritarian federal government. 

In the last couple of months, we have all seen massive governmental overreach, from the federal government, all the way down to local government in some counties. The actions of President Biden and his administration have caused people and families a great deal of pain and suffering. These medical mandates and the long, sweeping arm of governmental overreach has annihilated incomes, investments, years of planning, family routines, security, and peace in individuals and families. But yet, our local government has the power, granted by our nation’s founding documents, to stop all of this suffering and yet, does nothing. 

Actions are attempted by legislators who are outnumbered or out-politicized, a compromise is reached to satiate the craving of the people’s demand for justice, and the headline is run. Yet, the firing has not ceased and neither has the misery of those suffering these losses. The headline is run, the soundbite secured, the tweet sent. Nothing changes.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities across the state are still terminating yesterday’s heroes. Bluecross Blueshield of Tennessee is still ruthlessly firing people who have faithfully served them for multiple decades. Employees in Oak Ridge are still negotiating and fighting to hold on their careers. There are many more to come as the deadline looms and the federal government remains indignant.

These are the people – regardless of the sensationalistic headline that has been run, touting the supposed sword-wielding battle cry of state law makers – that are now facing seemingly impossible situations. Christmas looks dreadfully different this year. Life in the new year and beyond looks vastly different. These are the people attempting to pick up the pieces of their lives, shattered by people with power and relentless personal and political agendas. The intention is clear:

“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” President Biden said in his speech on Sept. 9. The goal, aids have said, “is to render being unvaccinated so burdensome that those who haven’t received shots will have little choice other than to get them.”

This administration and those who support their agenda, whether in government or partnering corporatists, have completely dehumanized a segment of the population. These dehumanized people have faces and names. They have lives and families. They have voices. 

But their voices are continually silenced. 

All the letters, phone calls, endless protests – seem futile when your law makers do not hear you, proven by lack of return phone calls, emails, or at best a form letter that an aide has crafted that states “thank you for your comments.” Letters to state representatives, Senators Blackburn and Hagerty, Governor Bill Lee, yield, at best, being put on a generic email list. 

Mayor Ogles has proven that he is listening with this bold action he has taken. When the consequences of removing some of the best and most conscientious, independent and free-thinking individuals come for Tennessee, these are the people you want caring for you and your family – the people the federal government is attempting to remove from society. They are intelligent, adherents of true science, men and women of faith, conscience, integrity, and purpose.

 Mayor Ogles has placed himself on the frontlines of this battle to fight for and support these individuals of the state of Tennessee. This is what a true leader looks like and what Tennesseans deserve.

Donald Trump endorsed Governor Bill Lee, but Tennessee’s governor has straddled the line on all the issues that threaten the way of life that Tennesseans value and have fought to preserve. Some like to call this a RINO – Republican in name only. I am no political analyst and do not pretend to know just how weighty an endorsement from Donald Trump is worth nowadays, but I can say that Lee has not proven himself a man for the people of Tennessee. 

Mayor Ogles, with yesterday’s action, has proven that he is for all Tennesseans, not just a man seeking a label and a headline. 

Tennessee, ask yourself: Who’s listening? Are my representatives, senators, governor – are they listening? 

Thank you, Mayor Ogles, for your bold action for the state of Tennessee. You have created a headline that actually contains some truth behind it and supports all the people of our state. 

Tennesseans, as you continue to raise your voices, ask yourself: Who’s listening?

Holly Abernathy

Holly Abernathy is a communications and creative arts professional whose writing and photography have been published in several print and online publications. She works in a variety of media secondary to raising her two children in Nashville. For more information, visit www.6qCreative.com.

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