May 16 2008

Alert from comments below: Mayor apologizes for "monkey" remark


It's about time. Now let's

It's about time. Now let's hope he can control himself in the future.

Asheville conversation


Those who read my posts generally know where my thoughts take residence.
I am influenced not only by those persons who share my views but by others who change or moderate my views.

Those who know me also know that I spend a considerable amount of time in the "liberal enclave" of Asheville; also know to some as "San Francisco East." A lively debate ensued last night which began with discussion of the local embarrassment of the recent conviction of former Buncombe County (Asheville) sheriff Bobby Medford on illegal video gambling profiteering. Then, the focus quickly shifted to what was happening on "my side of the mountains."

Not surprisingly, someone mentioned that Mast General Stores were selling "Life is Good" Monkey T-shirts and wondered if I would like to take one back to Maryville as a gift to the Blount County mayor.

Predictably, the recent "monkey" comments of Mayor Cunningham and his "lame apology" were then discussed. Liberals, conservatives and libertarians were present at this discussion: black and white; female and male; northern, southern, western, and eastern; newspaper writers, teachers, accountants, bankers, and warriors from the world of the military and those who have learned toleration from our own mistakes and recognized prejudices.

To a person, regardless of race, creed or political affiliation, the remarks of Mayor Cunningham were deemed inappropriate, offensive, and an insult particularly to those of us from the South who would prefer that persons from other places, races and cultures think of us as other than a certain negative stereotypes.

And, frankly, the mayor's "apology" struck a cord as nothing but a self serving rationale for universally offensive speech uttered in any public forum. For some, the "apology" was worse than the "monkey" reference itself.

When I was asked about the mayor's pedigree, I correctly noted that Cunningham was a former United States attorney. They thought I was kidding and one person chided me for "denigrating my own profession." Alas, as we know, my statements about the Mayor's pedigree are quite true.

For one who traveled though Blount yesterday on one of those gorgeous days that can only be found in our beautiful part of the world, juxtaposed in my thoughts were the ugly and demeaning words, supercilious rationale for bad behavior, and generational political bonding exemplified by the traditional Blount County leadership.

No wonder one of that diverse Asheville group characterized Blount County, Tennessee, as a "political machine" and a "joke." Take it as you will-you of the Blount executive and judiciary-but the word "joke" refers to you. Though I personally defended some of the elected officials who surely do not share the views expressed by the county mayor at the Lincoln Day Dinner, my words fell generally on deaf ears to those persons from near and far who are laughing at you.

Those persons DO have considerable influence and contacts with the outside world-a world that can bring jobs, culture and tourism to our area. Those persons through the world of technology now have recent, shining examples of how the Blount County executive and his political cronies consider the thoughts and rights of its citizens, residents and its political opponents.

The world is getting smaller, folks, and as a presidential candidate has recently said: "Words Do Matter!" Words matter because they reveal the heart and thoughts of those in whose faith the electorate has placed its trust: electorate which may come from places other than Blount County. This place is just too beautiful to keep the rest of the world out.


Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-671-0598

Cunningham fits right in with TN GOP


"Whoever is in charge of the Tennessee GOP needs to think long and hard about the kind of campaign they want to run, and I think that's true for everybody, Democrat or Republican," Obama said in the ABC interview, adding: "These folks should lay off my wife."

Obama said his wife "loves this country. For them to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her is, I think, just low class. I think that most of the American people would think that as well."

Tennessee's Republican Party was roundly criticized in March, including by likely presidential nominee John McCain, for a news release that used Barack Obama's middle name — Hussein — and showed a photo of him wearing what it said was "Muslim attire."

"Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference." --Voltaire

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