Politics is a strange game both in Nashville, Washington, DC

Published 12:00 pm Friday, April 21, 2023

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A Johnson County representative, who also represents part of Carter, Sullivan, and Hawkins counties in the Tennessee Legislature, resigned suddenly this week for an ethics violation that became public Thursday. Two weeks earlier he had joined fellow Republicans in expelling two Black legislators for protesting in support of gun control on the state House floor.
Rep. Scotty Campbell of Mountain City, who served as vice chair of the Tennessee House Republican Caucus, violated the Legislature’s workplace discrimination and harassment policy. The brief Ethics Subcommittee findings document from late March did not provide specifics. Campbell’s only response to the ethics panel’s decision was: “I had consensual, adult conversations with two adults off property.”
However, his resignation did not come until after he was confronted by a Nashville TV station about sexual harassment allegations involving legislative interns.
But had the ethics subcommittee findings not been made public, Campbell possibly would not have resigned. Campbell stayed in office three weeks after the subcommittee issued its findings.
Just two weeks earlier he was condemning three fellow legislators for demonstrating on the House floor following a shooting at a Nashville school. Sounds like the skillet calling the kettle black.
And, in Nashville this week, the Republican controlled legislation was hurrying to finish up business so as to not have to take up legislation proposed by Gov. Bill Lee on making it tougher for mentally unstable persons to have guns.
Tennessee lawmakers are in a push and pull over gun laws in the state, and here in Northeast Tennessee and Carter County, most people are pro-guns. But, we’ve yet to see – and God forbid that we ever will – see a shooting in our midst like the one at Covington Elementary in Nashville, Sandy Hook in Connecticut, or the many others which have taken place around the nation.
Before the Nashville school shooting, gun control advocates had spent years trying to get Tennessee lawmakers to tighten gun laws in hopes of preventing something like this from happening.
Instead, Tennessee’s Republican dominated legislature and governor’s office have made the state a more gun-friendly place – courting gun manufacturers to move here and making it easier for more people to get guns and carry guns more places.
Tennessee has become one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation over the last decade.
Among gun manufacturers who have re-located to Tennessee in recent years are Beretta, GS Performance, a Glock handgun accessory and parts manufacturer, and Smith & Wesson. The main reason Smith & Wesson relocated their production from Massachusetts to Tennessee: Tennessee’s support of the Second Amendment. Tennessee spent $10 million to woo Beretta.
Politics is not a clean game. Tennessee politics is bad, but it is even worse in Washington.
Those who play the dirtiest tend to win more times than not. Politicians who don’t play the game in this manner and attempt to stay on the high road will always come up on the short end at the ballot box, because money often speaks louder than the voters.
There’s a saying that if you saw how your food is made at the factory or cooked in your favorite restaurant, you would never eat again.
The same is true for politics. If you saw what goes on behind closed doors and in the back rooms of our political establishments, you would never vote again and become an anarchist.
What a difference a week can make. Ask Scotty Campbell.
Two weeks ago when he voted to oust three lawmakers (only two were ousted) for demonstrating on the House Floor in Nashville, did he think that he would be resigning for doing something nonethical? Probably not, but someone squealed, and it cost him his job in Nashville.
Yes, politics, is a strange game, and if we aren’t careful, those guns can be used to shoot us in the foot.
However, we commend Campbell for taking responsibility for his discretions and resigning.

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