Tennessee Politics–Where’s my $55,000, Mr. G-man?

State Senator John Ford has threatened construction workers with a gun, neglected to set up either of his simultaneously running households (complete with women and children) in the area he actually was elected to serve, used public funds to pay his child support, used campaign contributions to pay for his daughter’s wedding, been to court for shooting at trucks along I-40, threatened an undercover FBI agent with death if he found out he was a narc, and, while all of the other state legislators arrested today were accused of taking bribes in the magnitude of $5,000-$15,000, he got $55,000 before he was carted off to jail.

Seriously, America, I can’t decide whether to be appalled or awe-struck. This is political corruption raised to an art form. It’s so gross and yet so magnificent.

Pith in the Wind has the funniest coverage, Brittney over at Nashville is Talking has the most comprehensive, and I recommend y’all peruse those sites for a little over-dinner humor.

In the “Sadly Funny” category, you’ll notice that just below all the stories on John Ford over at Pith in the Wind, is the announcement that his nephew, Harold Ford, is running for the seat soon to be vacated by our very own Dr. Kitten Killer, who is off on his Quixotic run for President.

I’ve liked Harold Ford ever since I heard him on the r&b station being all smart and funny, so I hope this doesn’t hurt his chances to for Senatorial glory.

I, on the other hand, have decided to quit my job and move to Memphis (Do I technically have to move to Memphis to run for his seat? If he didn’t live in his district, do I have to?) and run for state senate. Shoot, I know I can’t approach his mastery of the political system, but I can try to be corrupt beyond all measure in my own way.

So, Memphis, here’s what I have going for me.

1. I don’t know how to shoot a gun. I don’t even own one. Your commute will be safe from me.
2. As a woman, there’s a physical limit to the amount of children I can have and then scam money from you to support.
3. I also have a cute nephew, though he’s not old enough to run for any office yet.
4. I love Memphis and the River and the University of Memphis (though I still call it Memphis State; I’m old school like that).
5. I’m a Democrat.
6. I’m a great cook, so we could have big parties at my house, that would be paid for by campaign contributions.
7. I would not insult your intelligence by pretending to be uncorrupted. I’d use this platform to keep y’all informed of the nefarious things I’m doing.
8. I already live in Nashville, so my commute to work–and the mileage you’d have to pay for–would be a lot less than if I were driving over from Memphis.
9. I often have really cute hair, so, when I’m inevitably arrested, you won’t be embarrassed by my mug shots.
10. I grew up in Illinois! Come on! That means I practically went to “corrupt local governments” university.

So, if anyone from Memphis wants to start me on my great political career, you can leave me a comment or, if you prefer to contact me privately, my email address is in my profile. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

The Recalcitrant Brother

So, in a fit of insanity, I’ve volunteered to pick up the littlest nephew from my brother’s home and drive him back here where he will be picked up by my parents and taken back to a place where there are meals and bedtimes and regular baths.

This is, apparently, not a moment too soon, because my brother is moving this weekend and he’s moving in with the sister (and brother-in-law) of the oldest nephew’s mother.

Straight girls, I want you to ponder that last paragraph. Imagine that you have a fling with some guy you met while you were working at McDonald’s. Imagine that you get pregnant and decide to keep the child, but ditch the guy. Would you ever, ever in a million fo-fillion years dream that eight years later he might be weighing the decision whether or not to live on your sister’s couch or in your grandma’s garage? Could you ponder such insanity?

Seriously, if that doesn’t instinctively cause your knees to press together, I don’t know what will.

And, straight fellas, imagine now the horror of having to throw yourself on the mercy of the family of a woman you knocked up and broke up with years and years ago because you owe everyone in the world money and have lost your job.

How, how, how did things come to this?

I just don’t know. Seriously, I hope it’s drugs or booze, because the thought that anyone could reach this point stone-cold sober is too depressing to contemplate.

So, now I don’t want to go. I’m trying to negotiate a way to care about my family and be caring towards them without getting sucked into this shit, without having to take care of them. I’m trying hard to believe that the best thing I can do for everyone is to just get and keep my own self as lucky as possible, and not rescue people or despair because I can’t.

But, oh god, when I talked to my brother last night and I heard the fear and tired in his voice, I wanted to sell plasma and send the money to him. I wanted to invite him to come live with us until he got back on his feet. And I felt like shit because I didn’t, and because I didn’t really want to.

I want this life–a good job I love and a roof over my head and dog and good friends who love me–and a little more–a house of my own with a fenced-in back yard with a magnolia tree that blooms near the bedroom window. And as much as I feel compelled to help my brothers, I just want some small measure of good, non-insanity for myself. I feel guilty about it, but what can you do?

Anyway, today I was thinking about this book, Things Invisible to See by Nancy Willard, which is about love and baseball and World War II and Michigan–where the recalcitrant brother and I were born. It’s out of print, I think, so I’m going to spoil the end for you.

At the end of the book, the hero, Claire, has to play a game of baseball against all of the best dead baseball players there ever were, in order to win the soul of her lover, whose name escapes me, in a game arranged by the devil. The end makes me cry every time, because, even though these are the best baseball players ever, and even though the devil has cheated a hundred ways, these dead guys throw the game for her so that she can win her true love’s life.

It’s an extraordinary book, with a problematic Christian ethos, because these folks are saved by the love of a woman and the goodness inherent in people.

Everyone around my brother keeps trying to save him. I keep waiting for him to realize that he’s worth saving. I can’t decide which of those things is the right thing to do.