For some reason, our state legislature makes news for hilariously frustrating reasons, like the time that a Muslim foot bath was installed in the capital.
This has led to a Jon Stewart phenomenon, WasTNOnTheDailyShow.com. As of this writing, it has been a whole five days (!) since our state has appeared on "The Daily Show."
Tennessee has so many things to offer. We have great industries like FedEx, AutoZone and Alcoa. We have the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and St. Jude. We are the de facto Music State and have a history of caring for those who need it. So why are we often steered toward such ridicule?
There are several scapegoats, but the main reason our state legislature and our whole identity has been derided by many news outlets is because of State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), who represents District 7. This district includes campus residents, Fort Sanders, downtown, parts of northeast and northwest Knoxville, and a good piece of Farragut.
A quick rundown of the idiotic things Campfield has done: he said that it was impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual intercourse; he tried to pass a bill that would allow underprivileged children to eat only if they got good grades and in doing so, also insulted a child; he made a joke about a pressure cooker right after the Boston bombings; he introduced the hilarious "Don't Say Gay Bill," which, for his homophobic self, assumes that if you don't talk about something, it will just go away.
And he's incredibly insulting to deal with. Many of my friends have been called mentally unstable or stupid by this elected representative. He is prone to stock emails – if you've emailed him in the last month, you've received it – and he sent me a one-word email earlier this week.
Y'all, enough is enough. We should be proud of the hundreds – no, thousands – of students who have stood up to his measures, but if this many people are passionate about killing his egoistic, uninformed legislation, why stop there?
Let's vote him out of office.
After all, Campfield doesn't work for donors or Fox News or bigots. He works for us.
In the 2010 election, he defeated his primary opponent by only 3,449 votes. In the general election, he defeated his opponent by 8,147 votes. Not many people vote in these elections.
By comparison, 4,710 students voted in SGA elections last year, only 25 percent of the undergraduate student body. Combined with pre-existing disdain for Campfield in other Knoxville areas, we can turn out the vote to change how we are represented.
If we can get, for example, 5,000 students to vote for Dr. Briggs, we can easily vote Campfield out. Since Campfield is so fond of Thomas Jefferson – though misquoting – I will end with something Jeffersonian.
In "A Summary View of the Rights of British America," he wrote, "When the representative body have lost the confidence of their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to themselves powers which the people never put into their hands, then indeed their continuing in office becomes dangerous to the state, and calls for an exercise of the power of dissolution."
So let's take control of our own well-being. We can cause Campfield's dissolution. Register.
Wade Scofield is a senior in religious studies and Latin. He can be reached at email@example.com.