Memphis, Tennessee is fed up with being a Democrat city in a Republican state and aspires to become a full-fledged blue-state of its own. Furious with state legislators over confederate monuments, local Democrats are plotting a rebel “secession” coup themselves.
The controversy started when Nashville lawmakers voted to take away $250,000 from the city’s 2019 bicentennial celebration budget, as punishment for trying to re-write history. Rep. Andy Holt, (R-Dist. 76), argued that “bad actions” have “bad consequences.”
Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Dist. 98) didn’t like the “disrespect.” He wants a divorce. “The thought hit me,” he mused, “wow, this is an abusive relationship.” Maybe it might be time for Memphis to “consider breaking up.”
Tricky, but possible, the city’s Democrat-leaning Council Chairman declared when he heard the idea. “It’s very interesting but yes, it can be done,” Berlin Boyd confirmed.
Details are still very sketchy but Boyd is seriously considering the possibilities. There are practical issues which need to be considered before things get too far along. “Would we want to be the size of Rhode Island?” Boyd wonders.
Including more of West Tennessee might have a bigger impact.
Offended by the loss of $250,000, Memphis Democrats are willing to give up hundreds of millions from the state. For education alone, Tennessee taxpayers write a check to Memphis for more than $517 million this year.
Berlin Boyd already thought of that. Don’t forget about the revenue-side benefits of secession, he says. “If we become our own state we could control our overall destiny. We could create a state income tax.”
Not only can they levy property taxes, they would get to keep the sales tax money too. If that isn’t enough to balance the budget, casinos, and weed will make up the difference.
Boyd admits legalizing marijuana and gambling, in order to fund a brand new state, is a far-fetched pipe dream. “It’s a long shot, but it could happen,” he insists.
The amendment to send Memphis a message by withholding money specially earmarked for their 200-year historical celebration passed the Tennessee House by a 56-31 margin.
Left-leaning Memphis administrators were frustrated when their planned removal of the two statues was firmly opposed by both the general public and the state legislature.
It is easy to see why Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and rebel President Jefferson Davis, are persona non grata, not local heroes. However, erasing their existence does not repair the damage they did.
African-Americans should be outraged when they see statues of these people. They should use them as an example to teach children what went wrong and why it should never happen again.
Instead, they try to hide their heads in the sand and pretend it never happened.
When they couldn’t get a Historical Commission waiver to have the statues carted away, the city council granted special approval to sell the two parks to a non-profit for the absurdly low figure of $1,000 each, not the required market value of the land.
In the middle of the night over the Christmas holiday, the new owners, not obligated to obtain Historical Commission approval, quietly removed the offending statues.
The city knew what it was doing and the whole scheme was an intentional effort to break the law. They had been fighting over the issue for a year.
“It was the city of Memphis that did this and it was full knowing that it was not the will of the legislature,” Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Dist. 97) points out.
Mayor Jim Strickland tells critics that the city may have taken “an unconventional route” to get rid of the historical monuments but vows what was done was legal. “The entire process was within the bounds of the law,” he claims.
Now that Memphis got a financial slap on the wrist, liberals are having a total snit. “This amendment, and the explanation, is hateful, it is unkind, it is un-Christian-like and it is unfair,” Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Dist. 91) complains.
Even though she is angry with the legislature for imposing the sanction, Rep. Akbari is not in favor of the city seceding from the state.
Senator Lee Harris (D-Dist. 29) calls the decision “a point in our state when our lop-sided Republican government has decided it will openly punish political opponents and use government force to do it,” he wrote in a statement.
While predominantly African-American and liberally Democrat Memphis may be angry enough to start a new civil war, their chances of accomplishing anything more than blowing smoke are incredibly low.
First, the measure would have to be approved by a majority of Memphis voters. Assuming there is enough local support to clear the first hurdle, the next challenge is approval from state lawmakers. That is something that will never happen.
“If they allowed Memphis to go they’re basically inviting every other part of Tennessee that has any beef with the state” to do the same exact thing, Political Science professor Stephen Wirls explains.
Because the measure is never expected to make it past the state level, there is no need to consider what will happen if it ever gets to Congress, but the outlook is grim there too.
Mayor Strickland isn’t too upset about having a quarter million less to budget his city’s 200-year birthday party with. “It should not have an impact,” he promises. “This money was never in our budget.”