Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


April 30, 2013

WE THE PEOPLE: Confederacy of duds

CROSSVILLE — Thomas Paine wrote, in Common Sensein 1776: “our wisdom, there is a visible feebleness in some of our proceedings which gives encouragement to dissensions.” Our contemporary feebleness includes bucketsful of Distinctions without Differences. Currently prominent among them is: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Equivalents masquerade as logic in much civil and uncivil discourse. Imagining science and religious dogma to be equally valid tools in the pursuit of measurable reality is another blatant false equivalent.

How about: “We are a republic, not a democracy?” True, we can’t be a democracy when piles of corporate money are propping up partisan folly and suppressing votes by gerrymandering. Big Money Baggers (BMBs) have trouble accepting a leader they couldn’t buy—one who was elected freely and equally by all citizens and who is committed to the common good. But there are no signs that BMBs will shrink back into their britches and retreat into their Whack-a-Mole holes.

A republic is a government where the people select a group of men or women to represent their differing interests. We are not a republic now, either, because moneyed corporations and special interests exert more control over government than do the votes of the people. Or, maybe we’re a corporate republic now that the Supreme Court says that corporations are people. Most voters want more control over sales of assault weapons, less access to them and sane ammunition clip limits. But when the NRA sputters for more guns with longer clips, most of Congress gets in line to kiss the NRA’s boots. Should we accept leadership from corporations and forget Congress?

It’s common to hear that the current administration is imposing socialism. That’s a honey of a false equivalent. Socialism is an idealistic system of communal ownership. The present administration is not intent on doing away with private property and giving government the job of making goods. That is not to say that we don’t already have a form of socialism. And those who say they hate socialism the most would raise a great national yowl if they had to part with their social security checks and public assistance for relatives in need of food.

So, how can we disperse this smokescreen? Borrowing a phrase from politics: “It’s the common ground, stupid.” Our country could be at the edge of its best years. But if we’re to practice what we pretend to believe, more citizens must stop doing things to others that they don’t want done to themselves.

And, Congressional Lone Rangers need to find the head-end of their pachyderms and jackasses and quit trotting backwards. Congressional leaders need to learn how to steer and dig their spurs into the right places so they don’t keep riding full speed, and rear first, into one brick wall after another.

Our county’s best days are ahead and not past. But we need to replenish our depleted stock of common sense. Let’s hope a real leader, a courageous statesperson, will emerge from a Congress that piddles, whines, and backs into walls. Somewhere among the duds there must be a few leaders with common sense enough to lead the people forward, again.

• • •

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: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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