As a progressive leaning voter in the state of Tennessee, it is easy to feel alone. While I may live and work in the politically moderate Nashville area (compared to the rest of the state), it is difficult to find elected officials that represent many of the things I hold as core values. We are a state that is overrun with conservative zealots whose only priority is to crush any and all opposition to their points of view. To these people, it isn’t about finding compromise. It’s about complete domination.
Let’s use Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey as Exhibit A. With a recent tweet to his followers, he made it clear he doesn’t mind sticking it to his political opponents. This example of shameless antagonism is a microcosm of the conservative mantra. Belittle your opponents. Make them out to be the enemy. Claim liberal bias in the media. Rinse and repeat.
A worse example of feeling unrepresented is Jim Cooper. He is my congressman, and I helped vote him into office. He has embraced many things I support. Others, not so much. The worst example of the latter is his support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). I understand why he is supporting this legislation. While he may represent the aforementioned politically moderate city of Nashville and surrounding areas, he also has big monied entertainment companies amongst his constituency. He is merely playing to that. However, this legislation will have a chilling effect on free speech.
Democrats in this region are feeling under siege. Anyone cast as “liberal” could possibly lose their position in public office. At least that is the fear. This fear of losing one’s elected office is causing my elected officials to vote with their jobs in mind, rather than their consciences.
I want the people I vote for to champion equality. I want the people I vote for to stand up for free speech. I want my elected officials to stand up for those that don’t have a voice. A functioning democracy should represent all people. Not just the majority. Not just the richest. They should absolutely represent the minority and the marginalized. This is why I feel profoundly unrepresented in Tennessee specifically, and the South in general. Who is going to speak for me?