Local 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford gives his point of view on the recent action by state lawmakers stripping Memphis of $250,000 apparently as retaliation for removing confederate monuments.
The vindictive action by the Tennessee House to punish Memphis for taking down confederate monuments says more about some state lawmakers than it does about the city. And what it says is that our legislature is dominated by individuals who glorify white supremacy and racism.
How else to explain the grandstanding move to take $250,000 out of the state budget that had been allocated for Memphis’ bicentennial next year.
Conservative lawmakers have been angry since December when city leaders figured out a way to get around state restrictions that prevented the removal of confederate statues. The city simply sold two parks to a non-profit group which immediately took down the statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis.
So on Tuesday, 51 state House members approved an amendment to remove the allocation for Memphis and made it clear they were doing it as punishment. The action really has no serious impact because the city was never counting on state money for the bicentennial. Which means this was all a right-wing show.
But here’s the larger point. These 51 legislators, who don’t live in Memphis, feel they have the right to tell this majority black city how to handle its business. Memphis representative Antonio Parkinson was correct in calling the House action vile and racist. And sadly, its drives yet another wedge between state government and Tennessee’s second largest city.