To the Editor:
It really stinks that none of our State’s top-ranking government officials could be bothered to welcome President Obama to Tennessee when he visited Chattanooga on Tuesday to talk about a better deal for our nation’s middle class. How dare he intrude on the peace and prosperity of our State, with its 8.5% unemployment rate and the recently-won distinction of being the worst state in the country in which to be without a job (24/7 Wall St. blog)?
Governor Haslam couldn’t make it because he had five appearances scheduled in other parts of the State on Tuesday—none of which apparently could be re-scheduled for later in the week, when he had nothing at all on his calendar. Senator Alexander begged off because he was scheduled to co-host a “school choice” (read charter school) round-table in Washington, like the one he attended here with his new best friend Rand Paul on Monday. I realize that Lamar is a little bit scared of Tea Party opposition in his walk-over re-election campaign next year, but did he have to let a small bunch of mental midgets force him to abandon his career-long reputation as a responsible and unifying public official? And issue such a snarky statement while doing so?
As for Senator Corker, who also claimed business in Washington, his snub of the president was the most inexplicable of all, since he has become a major voice of reason on the national scene in recent months and is beginning to be spoken of as a potential president himself some day. What’s more, he of course was mayor of Chattanooga from 2001 to 2005, and is as responsible as anyone for the fact that there was anything there for President Obama to visit.
Even Chuck Fleischmann, the Republican who represents Chattanooga in the U.S. House, was not planning to welcome the president on Tuesday. Evidently his high principles of rudeness and disrespectfulness overcame any base desire to secure more employment for his constituents, since he (and the others) were also insulting the president’s Amazon hosts, who are in the process of hiring 7,000 more workers for their Chattanooga and Murfreesboro distribution centers as well as other locations.
Just how low are our so-called leaders willing to sink in showing their contempt for the remarkable (though far from perfect) man who is the president of our United States? What has he done to deserve such spiteful treatment, other than espousing a political philosophy just slightly left-of-center, championing a visionary program to make decent health care more affordable for our most vulnerable citizens, and, I have to add, committing the unpardonable sin of not being white? The actions of the people we elected to speak for us have now mortified us and subjected us once again to the ridicule of the nation and the world. Last Tuesday we should all have been ashamed to be citizens of Tennessee.
MICHAEL S. LOTTMAN