This week I’m going to do something special. There’s an event coming up that I don’t want you to miss just because you didn’t hear about it. It’s going to be your chance to show, in the simplest of terms, what being a proud Tennessean is all about. You see, it won’t matter how many hundreds of people are there, or which “singing hat” music star shows up. It won’t matter what grand-standing VIPs queue up to the microphone or how many TV-cult philosophies are spouted. We’re going to keep it simple. This year on tax day, while the Tea Party in Hendersonville swarms over City Hall spreading their doom and gloom about our great country, the Sumner County Democratic Party will be doing something a little different. We’ll be welcoming you and your neighbors to an old-fashioned covered dish dinner. We’ll bring the BBQ and sweet tea, you bring the fixings.
Why should we get together? Because our county is full of good communities and friendly people who believe America is a fair and upstanding place. That’s what Democrats have always believed in: helping their neighbors and standing strong for their Country. Common sense folks are done with the anger and fear that’s trading on old wounds, fanning the flames of hatred, and endangering our beautiful land of the free. And in this Land of the Free, we must not be afraid to peaceably assemble. We must come out of our houses and gather to discuss our problems and find the way to our solutions. Because America has never been short on solutions. Time after time we have risen to our Nation’s call to duty: to defend our Constitution, to gather our community’s strengths and help those in need, and to promote greater prosperity and a secure future for our children. All accomplished through the rule of law, created by We the People.
The problem isn’t that we can’t solve our problems. The problem is that Democracy isn’t being allowed to work. How can we find solutions when the market place of ideas is constantly shut down by a monopoly of anger, disinformation, and threats of violence? By any definition, “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” from our Bill of Rights does not include violence. When corporate-controlled Republicans whip up the roaring crowds, suggesting that they should “reload and take aim,” it is nothing short of un-American. The purpose of intimidation is clear. Keep folks like you and me from getting involved, diminish participation to the loudest few, and stop We the People from working together. My question is: will it work? Remember that in a recent poll, only 28% of Americans identified themselves as sympathetic with the Tea Party. Will the vast majority of Americans allow themselves to be cowed by the threats of an ill-informed, easily mislead group that resemble nothing so much as a school yard bully? A sore loser whose threats run the gamut from plain old lying and cheating to flipping over the game board? I don’t think so. We see that the Tea party is simply a back-lash. A well funded Republican media gauntlet aimed at distracting and beguiling a small number of Americans into outrageous actions. My heart fills with compassion for them, for I fear they know not what they do, or what corporate masters they serve.
So the SCDP is hosting the Civility Dinner at the Salem Community Center. Let’s get together and just do right by each other and our country. Tell the crowds to put away the bullhorns and lay down the ugliness, you don’t have to shout to be heard. Because this year on April 15th we are going to reclaim the honor in Middle Tennessee. We’re going to feed folks, and we ask you to bring what you can. Whether you bring your best covered dish or a bag of chips, you’ll be welcomed! We’re going to talk about what we need: jobs, fairness, and honor. And we’re going to pitch in to help make it happen, here in Sumner County and all over Tennessee. Come and visit at the Civility Dinner, because civility is what makes America special.