Commentary: Islamaphobia in Tennessee is nothing new

BY: - June 25, 2020

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Tennessee ranks second in the nation for largest number of hate groups with 38 based here, four of which are dedicated anti-Muslim groups.  The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that exposes extremism and delivers anti-bias education, says that from 2018 on, Tennessee has experienced more white supremacist incidents than […]

Tennessee House of Representatives Chambers (iStock Editorial/Getty Images)

Commentary: State legislature fails us

BY: - June 22, 2020

Now that our state legislature has finished its session, it’s time to tally the damage—not only from what Tennessee legislators did in our name, but also from what they failed to do.  Let’s start with the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the legislature and Governor Bill Lee were hell bent on ignoring expert-crafted health safety precautions, despite […]

Tennessee House of Representatives Chambers (iStock Editorial/Getty Images)

Commentary: Legislature lacks basic human decency

BY: - June 19, 2020

Let’s cut right to the chase.  There’s a lack of basic common, human decency in the legislature.  For the last five or six years, Tennessee political watchers have observed the General Assembly devolve. Members have been expelled for campaign finance malfeasance, accused of sexual harassment or assault and too often laws pursued have focused less […]

(Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

Commentary: When cult meets crisis

BY: - June 16, 2020

The cult of Trump is something that many of us have been trying to make sense of for the better part of the last four years. Conventional wisdom has it that around a third of the electorate harbors unbridled and unconditional political lust for Dear Leader, with another tenth pretty consistently disposed to like him […]

Johnson City, Tenn., June 12 - Black Lives Matter protest. (Photo: Misty Blue Scott)

Commentary: Rural Organizers Understand Sweat Equity

BY: - June 15, 2020

People across the nation seem surprised that Black Lives Matter demonstrations and protests are happening in rural areas and I just can’t seem to figure out why.  I live in Northeast Tennessee, surrounded by rural areas consumed by poverty, good ole boy clubs, and a medical monopoly. Trust me when I say people are organizing.  […]

Entry to Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park in West Tennessee. Language on the Tennessee State Parks website ( says: "Although a controversial figure, Forrest is remembered by some as a noted military tactician of the Civil War." (Photo: Tennessee State Parks)

Commentary: Wanted – a contributor to justify honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest

BY: - June 12, 2020

Wanted: One contributor to write a single column for the Tennessee Lookout that justifies the presence of busts, statues or honorifics of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Look: I am sick of hearing about Forrest. The debate over his bust in the Tennessee State Capitol – between those who want it gone and those who think it […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) (C) joins fellow Democrats from the House and Senate to introduce new legislation to end excessive use of force by police and make it easier to identify, track, and prosecute police misconduct at the U.S. Capitol June 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Commentary: The Limitations of Liberalism or How the Democrats Fumbled the Bag 

BY: - June 10, 2020

Like many people, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this moment means politically. Every hour there is a new development across the globe in the fight to eradicate white supremacy. I’ve been in and out of this fight for a few years now, working with organizations and campaigns to make this country more equitable. […]

(Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Commentary: Second Thoughts on Biblegate

BY: - June 8, 2020

The morning after President Donald Trump strode the short distance to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. for a staged show of force and a gesture towards invoking religion, I was asked to comment on the event by a British based international Catholic publication, The Tablet. I commented then: “While going to church holding […]

Man at Nashville rally, June 4. (Photo: Alex Kent)

Commentary: The tyranny of racism

BY: - June 6, 2020

June 6 is the anniversary of D-Day, the event in which Allied forces took on the Nazi army in France and began the march to Berlin that culminated in VE – Victory in Europe – Day May 8, 1945. I’ve always been attuned to the date, likely because my dad was a veteran of WWII. […]

(Ron Bailey/Getty Images)

Commentary: Gun Obsession Muddies Legislative Agenda

BY: - June 2, 2020

Our state is struggling with a public health crisis, racial injustice issues, inadequate rural health care, record unemployment, and slumping tax revenues to sustain public schools.  So, what is a big focus of our state and local government?  Yup, guns. As May came to a close, Knox County Commission (a body on which I once […]

Fires in Minneapolis during protests, May 28. (Photo: Minnesota Reformer)

Commentary: The more things change, the more they stay the same

BY: - May 29, 2020

1968 was a hell of a year.  My memories of the year are few, but powerful, as they are some of the earliest ones I have.  I turned four that year, and that may have been the year I got a pink birthday cake but I only know that from old photos. I don’t need […]

Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement stage a "die in" outside the National Civil Rights Museum following the annual Martin Luther King Day march on January 16, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. Hundreds marched from the north end of downtown Memphis in honor of the civil rights leader to the site where King was assassinated in 1968, which now houses the National Civil Rights Museum. (Photo by Mike Brown/Getty Images)

Commentary: Party loyalty shouldn’t keep you from speaking up for black lives

BY: - May 29, 2020

“Please, I can’t breathe.  My stomach hurts.  My neck hurts.  Everything hurts.  They’re going to kill me.” George Floyd is dead because four police officers made the unanimous decision that his life did not matter.  With these actions came an unspoken pact that they would defend this use of force at all costs, with full […]