Occupy Bill Haslam

Wade Munday is a writer in Nashville. When Bill Haslam was elected the 52nd Governor of Tennessee, he was chided quite often for running a vacuous campaign. It can be argued he is either a prop of the Republican political machine in the state or he is bland. Television ads are designed to say as little as possible in 30 seconds or less, but Haslam’s ads weren’t as educational as a pillow fight with Kim Kardashian. One ad showed the former Macy’s executive talking about bringing down healthcare costs-something he failed to do during his first legislative session and something he has no answer for. In his ubiquitous gray suit and black backdrop, the Governor looks downright affable even if he doesn’t seem to have much substance. He’s a nice guy one assumes. A very wealthy, nice guy.

But now amidst the Occupy Nashville protests/ encampments/ Southern Festival of Books patrons, Bill Haslam has verified that no matter how friendly he is he is not that smart. Sending 75 State Troopers to arrest a handful of tame protesters takes Zach Wamp’s statement, “I’ll meet President Obama at the border,” to an entirely different level. If this weren’t a group of “ordinary-looking” Tennesseans but let’s say a group of Muslims protesting the state’s overzealous approach in attempting to impinge upon their inherent rights as citizens, what would Haslam do? I would like to think state-funded evangelists would be deployed to save souls, but in reality I think he’d send in the National Guard. He’d do that because he doesn’t know what else to do.

In his first term in office he was manhandled by the National Rifle Association and others. He might be Governor of Tennessee, but he has no more authority than Kim Kardashian armed with a pillow. (She’s really taking a beating in this post.) By presiding over a nationally-mocked Legislative session with bills such as “Guns in Bars,” he’s proven that he can be little more than a puppet. By cowering in front of 54 protesters and ordering their arrest, he’s shown a lack of understanding of basic human rights and freedoms of speech. In this episode where he threatens and arrests protesters in a public space, the means defile the end. He ignited a fire under the rumps of Tennesseans concerned with their right to protest, and he lost this first political battle among citizens, not legislators, of Tennessee. Not a smart move for someone called Governor.

One Response to “Occupy Bill Haslam”

  1. Brandt Hardin Says:

    Not only has our Governor Bill Haslam had these protestors arrested but has pushed his agenda of suppressing the Constitutional Rights of Tennesseans throughout his brief tenure in office from shooting down Nashville’s anti-discrimination laws to creating the bill banning the use of the word “gay” in public schools. He’s railroading civil liberties to the extent of making it illegal to upload a “potentially offensive image” to the internet this year. I addressed our Governor’s antics with a visual commentary of him and his wife on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/07/potentially-offensive-portrait-governor.html Drop by and let me know how you feel about our rights being infringed upon.

Leave a Reply