A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Ad says vote NO on the Taliban amendment!

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By Gerald Largen

Gentle reader, if you are like us, you have never before heard of “Tennesseans for Preservation of Personal Privacy, Inc.,”  but we stand in awe of their “maiden” advertising effort against Proposed Amendment 1, to be voted upon in the November general election. 

In case you missed it, the ad we refer to ran on page 15A of the Knoxville News Sentinel dated Sunday, 25 May, 2014, in which it takes up three-quarters of the page. 

The lead text reads “VOTE NO on the TENNESSEE TALIBAN AMENDMENT,” and continues: 

“Don’t let the Tennessee Legislature control women! On November 4th Vote No to reject Tennessee Constitutional Amendment 1.” 

To the left is the full text of the Proposed Amendment: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.” 

Between these two blocks of text is a clever drawing of a nubile young maiden bearing the label “Tennessee women” lying supine under the heel of a thuggish character wearing a huge turban labeled Tennessee Legislature bearing under his arm a scroll labeled Amendment #1.

Under this highly effective layout are several lines of explanatory text, all of which terminates with the exhortation: “Vote NO on Amendment 1 the Tennessee Taliban Amendment!” 

The ad concludes with the statement of responsibility, and disclaimer, reading: “Tennesseans for Preservation of Personal Privacy, Inc. is not affiliated with the ACLU or Planned Parenthood. Contributions from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are welcomed. Please send checks to: P. O. Box 92056 Nashville, TN37209. Email us at tnpersonalprivacy@gmail.com.” 

We expect to see many more ads on this proposed amendment, both for it and against it, but we doubt that any will be more effective than this one.


Of course the old curmudgeon does not need any ads, either pro or con, to aid in determining how he will vote on this Amendment, or on any other one, particularly the one concerning the Supreme Court and the Attorney General. 

His position on any and all constitutional amendments is identical with the late Judge Lloyd Garrison McCluen’s “Uncle Bill” in an electioneering anecdote we heard him tell. 

It seems that when he first ran for Criminal Court Judge in the old Fourth Circuit, when Blount County was still with us, he was advised that it would be a wise move to go call on an old gentleman who was in his late eighties, or maybe even early nineties and patriarch of an extensive family. 

L.G., not being one to let the grass grow under his feet, got directions to Uncle Bill’s place and went off to call on him and seek his support. 

When he arrived, he found the old gentleman at his ease on his front porch. After the usual salutations, some comment upon his venerable age seemed to be in order so L.G. said, “I understand you’re going on 90 Uncle Bill.”

 “Yes,” drawled the old gentleman. 

“Well,” said L.G, “I suppose you’ve seen a lot of changes in your lifetime.”

“Yes,” came the reply, and after a brief pause came this amplification, “And I’ve been agin ever damn one of ’em!” 

Just like Uncle Bill, when it comes to Amendments to our venerable old Constitution, we’re agin ever damn one of ’em!!! 

Our present Constitution clearly requires that the judges of our Supreme Court, like all of our courts, are to be elected by the voters in elections. 

That provision is, and has been for several decades completely ignored. Through a coalition of various factions of the power structure in the state we have utilized what was at one time called the Missouri Plan, but is now more often called, as we understand, the Tennessee Plan, whereby people are picked to be Supreme Court Justices without ever sullying their pristine paws by shaking hands with voters or prostituting their principles to ask common folk to vote for them. 

Then every once in a while the voters are asked to rubber stamp this process, and the powers that be call this an “election.”

If the Soviet Union were still alive, they might well send observer delegations to Tennessee to see how we hold these judgeship “elections” without anybody complaining that it violates the constitution, and is totally undemocratic. 

Only John Jay Hooker has had the guts to withstand the ridicule that has been poured upon him for standing up for the principle that when the Constitution calls for an election, it means an election, not a coronation. 

The the old power structure has used the device of a special supreme court to hear Hooker’s challenges and they have uniformly said that what is so plainly illegal and wrong is legal and right, and so it has gone. 

And probably whatever amendment is put in place of the current provision, the new power structure will do just as the old one did and say that it means what they want it to mean, not what it actually says, or what it actually means. 

Remember a leading figure of that new power structure, Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey wants to get rid of any Democrats on the State Supreme Court. 

His end game is not only to have a Republicans-only Supreme Court, but to get rid of Bob Cooper as Attorney General and put one of Ron’s own pet puppy dogs in that office. 

Ron, of course dreams big, his past consorting with his puppet master from King Pharmaceuticals allowed him to conceive of himself as a new Napoleon or even a new Alexander bestriding the known world, and discovering the unknown one. 

As he sees it, he will be the next Governor, with a docile General Assembly, a subservient supreme court, and a complaisant attorney general, all coalescing to make the old days of Boss Ed Crump look like a high school debating society.