I Wondered if They Looked at the House before They Priced It

Usually, Kathy T is like a real estate sherpa.  She walks into a situation, instantly finds her bearings, and can expertly guide you around.

But yesterday, we saw a house so ridiculous that I came into the living room to find her sitting in a dazed confusion.

They wanted one-thirty for the house, in a nice, but not too nice, neighborhood in East Nashville, kind of near the greenway.  There were three big pot-holes in the driveway.

The two front rooms were so charming you about couldn’t stand it.  And even the kitchen tile was dated in a way that was on the verge of coming back into style.  But we started to make a list of all the things you’d have to do to make it possible to live there–make it so the kitchen cabinet doors shut, peel off every inch of wallpaper in the house in order to keep it from falling on you in the night, either carpet the floors or finish pulling off the tack strips, redo the bathroom, or at least the floor and the tub, replace the missing light fixtures and fix the remaining ones, replace all the rotting linoleum.  And that’s just what you’d have to do to get in there and be able to live.  It was going to need a complete kitchen overhaul very soon among other things.

Anyway, I think what stunned Kathy into shock was that the wallpaper was just curling off the walls.  It would have been nothing to take it off, because it was coming off on its own.

We also looked at a house on the river, in a neighborhood near some gasoline containers, with only one way in and out of the neighborhood, near those gasoline containers, which means, I suppose, that, if there is a fire of some sort, you’re in trouble.

I’m afraid I’m about at the point where Kathy’s going to say “You will live here and you will like it” at the next remotely plausible thing we find.

“Marriage licenses are just going to be another way to legitimize people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place.”

In a way, I’m embarrassed to admit that it took seeing that Tribe and Play had been singled out for scrutiny under our bizarro anti-immigrant laws for me to start to wonder how the two things–hatred of homosexuals and hatred of Hispanics–might be linked.

But I saw this post over at GoldenI’s about how, for the first time in ten years, people can get married in Tennessee without having to prove their immigration status and that sent me over to this article in the Tennessean. I point you to the following:

Multiple state and federal courts have upheld that the government can’t bar a person from marrying simply because they or their partner are a member of some specific group, said James Blumstein, a Constitutional law professor at Vanderbilt University.

“There was a case rather appropriately called Loving v. Virginia that settled that matter,” Blumstein said about the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down laws barring interracial couples from marrying.

He said the government has to prove a marriage it opposes would have a negative impact on the country.


Arriola, elected clerk in 2006, said he never wanted to turn couples away over immigration-related paperwork. “That was the state law, and I was obligated to uphold it,” he said. “Personally, I think anyone should be able to marry.”

He predicted a spike in marriage license applications once couples heard about the policy change, but it was quiet Friday inside the back room of the Davidson County Clerk’s Office where couples come to complete marriage license paperwork. Only the department’s employees and its Web site signaled there was any change at all.

Arriola said he is a friend of the Rev. Joseph Breen, pastor of St. Edward Catholic Church, who pressured him for years about the law. Last year, St. Edward coordinated a trip for 20 mostly Hispanic couples to obtain marriage licenses and legally wed in Kentucky, where clerks don’t require immigration-related paperwork. Breen then married them in the church when they returned.

“Truly, everybody should have the right to get married, and the state should not have any rules or regulations against that,” Breen said. “What we’ve been doing here is a real shame. So we wanted to help these couples.”

Theresa Harmon, co-founder of Tennesseans for Responsible Immigration Policy, said she worries Davidson County’s new policy will draw illegal immigrants to Tennessee from surrounding states and make it harder to deport them. She plans to talk to lawmakers about overriding it.

“Marriage is a human right, and I believe in families,” she said. “But I’ve had to do some hard soul-searching on these kinds of issues.

“Marriage licenses are just going to be another way to legitimize people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place.”

How can you read this and not see, waiting in the wings, the US citizens in our country who want to be able to marry each other?

And seeing Theresa Harmon saying so clearly that marriage can be a way of legitimizing people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place, to me, strikes me as being so true that I had to sit back in my seat.

Of course, I disagree about whether gay people or brown people or whoever are “supposed” to be here, but what I’m saying is that, to me, this seems like a clear articulation of what the stakes are.  Some of us are running around trying to legitimize people and others of us are trying to prevent that from happening.

I don’t know that I had really gotten that until now.