Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


February 4, 2014

WE THE PEOPLE: Spinning out of control

CROSSVILLE — Some “anti-government” folks have gone so far out on the right wing that they are causing us to spin out of control. They promote policies that actually take away personal choices. They frame social issue arguments to the point of absurdity. They show blind adherence to groups that couldn’t care less about them. And… they may take us all down with them.

Some on the right openly oppose “net neutrality,” a principal maintaining that all Internet traffic should be treated equally no matter the user, content, site, etc. Without net neutrality, large telecom companies can pick favorites, control consumers’ online experience and turn the Internet into their own private network. Consumers have few choices and little control. We enjoyed net neutrality until late January, thanks to FCC enforcement. Now the courts have ended that enforcement with the blessing of folks on the right blinded by opposition to anything involving the government. So now large corporations (don’t we all love our cable companies?) will have even more control over our options and services. Good luck with that.

It’s getting crowded on that right wing. Mike Huckabee just jumped on with a destabilizing thud. In a confusing attempt to get women to like conservatives, Mike is wooing them with accusations that they are stupid enough to believe that the Democratic push to provide safe contraceptive methods just shows that progressives think women are mindless hussies. In his world, for a married woman in a loving relationship, struggling to make ends meet and choosing to defer a family, it is immoral to ask for health insurance to cover the cost of safe, legal contraceptives. Hey Mike, what about Viagra? Guess men have more control over their libidos. Sure.

Seems these folks on the right wing are very confused about what actually constitutes control. Five years ago cities and counties in Tennessee were told they could opt out of a state law that opened parks to handgun owners. We could restrict guns in places where our children play. But the brain trust that is our state legislature is now backing a bill to take that decision away from us. Local interests across the state point out that this legislation eliminates the ability of people to control their own safety in their own communities. So — state control is good, but federal and local are not? No wonder our heads are spinning.

To shed more light on the subject, let’s consider those evil new light bulbs that are phasing out the incandescent ones invented in 1879. Turns out the new technology is saving energy and money. Thanks to reasonable efficiency standards, the industry is ripe with competition and consumer choices. Costs have fallen to affordable levels. But the far right, again out of control when it comes to “government control,” has blocked spending to implement the change — change proposed, by the way, in 2007 under the conservative Bush administration.

Is it any surprise that the parts of the country with the largest right wing strongholds suffer from the worst environmental and human health conditions? Hey Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina — how’s that lack of government control working for you?

Don’t let the uber conservatives drag us all down in their death spiral of anti-government rhetoric. Atlanta just called in the feds to help its citizens stuck on highway ice when local government failed to keep them safe. Government has an appropriate role to play in advancing the well-being of our nation and its citizens. We can calmly debate the limits of that role — but only when we are not spinning out of control.

• • •

This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at

Text Only
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice