GOP lawmaker levels impeachment threat over bust removal

Gov.-elect Bill Lee speaks to a Chamber of Commerce event in Memphis on Dec. 6, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

While many members of the General Assembly are privately breathing a sigh of relief about the defeat of a resolution to throw out a judge over an absentee balloting ruling last summer, they are now being faced with another threatened ouster, this time of Republican Gov. Bill Lee if he were to violate a proposed new ban on moving busts from the second floor of the state Capitol.

Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) and Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) have introduced legislation to reconstitute the Tennessee Historical Commission to give the General Assembly control over eight of its 12 members. The panel, which last week OK’d moving the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust to the State Museum, is currently appointed by the governor.

Ragan has also had an amendment drafted declaring:

Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the statues currently on the second floor of the state capitol must never be altered, removed, concealed, or obscured in any fashion without approval in accordance with this section and must be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.

If an elected official were to go ahead and do it anyway, “the violation is an impeachable offense and grounds for ouster,” according to the amendment. Public officials would also be personally liable for damages, penalties, and fines.

Ragan was scheduled to present his bill the same day the Historical Commission voted for move the Forrest bust, but he took the measure off notice (which used to mean it was dead, but now indicates it could come back at any time). Hensley is scheduled to present the upper chamber’s version on Wednesday.

The Ragan amendment also includes a provision to add protections for monuments located on private land. If approved, it would likely apply to the garish Forrest statue alongside I-65 in Nashville that its late owner left to either the Sons of Confederate Veterans or the Battle of Nashville Trust. The latter has said it would remove the statue.

It is unlawful for a person, firm, corporation, or other entity acting without authority to multimate, deface, defile, abuse contemptuously, relocate, remove, or obscure a privately owned monument, plaque, marker or memorial that is dedicated is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state , the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof.

59 Responses to GOP lawmaker levels impeachment threat over bust removal

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    What a breath of fresh air it is as we are in the stultifying atmosphere of Cultural Marxism that seeks to do away with knowledge of our heroic past in order to create a dystopian present to have two firm conservatives like John Ragan (ACU-90%) and Joey Hensley (89%) put forth legislation that simply says “No, not in Tennessee.” Want to finally say “No” to the grievance industry? VOTE CONSERVATIVE

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      MARLE says:

      Aren’t private businesses permitted to have a big confederate flag flying outside their headquarters and retail establishments in TN? Or have a life size statue or bust in the lobby or entry way? All those moneyed businessmen so eager to bankroll politicians’ efforts to put this in Government locations should show their pride, honor etc for the confederacy and all it stood for by flying the flag proudly over their car dealerships, their law firms, their real estate offices etc. Why is “pride and honor” only relegated to a display for government?

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        Cryan says:

        Stuart isn’t a conservative. He’s a fascist.

        I’m sure he’d love his ideal big government forcing private businesses to fly the rebel flag.

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          MARLE says:

          I am simply asking why those who support the bust in the capitol don’t proudly display confederate pride in their own business establishments. If you’re proud of the confederacy then surely you’d want that on property you personally control before you insist it be on government property.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          MARLE surely you can differentiate between a businessman who has certain religious and political beliefs which he wants to support as a citizen and the same businessman who wants to attract customers, clients, patients etc. of all religious and political beliefs to his businesses so he refrains from placing objects on the premises of his business that dissuades ANYONE from giving him that business. The two situations are not at all analogous.

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            MARLE says:

            So the desire to display your unabashed PRIDE in the confederacy stops at YOUR pocketbook as a businessman but you want to foist the “burden of pride” onto the state as a whole. You get more moronic as the days go on.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            To be “moronic” is to be feebleminded or mentally defective. To support in any legal way ones political and/or religious beliefs while at the same time not carrying that support to such an extent as to injure your business or livelihood is a perfectly rational decision that shows no sign of feeblemindedness or being mentally defective. Just because that is not the choice MARLE would make, or pleases MARLE to see others make, doesn’t make the choice “moronic”

            There has been a regrettable increase in childishness, vulgarity, name calling etc. on this forum of late. You are the last person who I would think would participate in this regrettable trend.

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            MARLE says:

            I know….I hate it but when there is Zero logic behind statement after statement I get left with no choice when trying to describe the descent into the absurd.

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            Taxpayer #314 says:

            Stuart always gets into trouble when he tries to explain his thinking and his beliefs, he is just so confused.

          • Avatar
            Jonathan Swift says:

            “There has been a regrettable increase in childishness, vulgarity, name calling etc. on this forum of late.” Wow, Stuart. How about this: I didn’t realize that you are such a hypocritical snowflake.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I can’t put my finger on the “hypocritical snowflake” remark but it can be a valid criticism of someone that is inconsistently hypersensitive. On the other hand, to call someone a “communist” when he obviously says nothing to give any indication that he adheres to the political philosophy of communism, or to call someone “moronic” who shows no signs of being feebleminded or mentally defective is simply wrong and only shows exasperation and frustration while eroding the level of dialogue on this forum.

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    Henry Walker says:

    Eric, As I read the proposed law, it says that it would be unlawful to move a privately owned monument if done by someone “acting without authority.” So if the Battle of Nashville Trust ends up owning the Dorris property, the trust would have the authority to remove the Forrest statue…… unless the removal violates the terms of the late owner’s will, which is a separate issue.

    • Avatar
      Erik Schelzig says:

      The question would be under whose authority. The new landowner’s, or that of the newly-formed Historical Commission.

      • Avatar
        Elmer Gantry says:

        Which cellphone companies are utilizing the two transmission towers on the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue parcel of land – cell phone customers have a right to know this information.

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        Lena Mazel says:

        So, I think it would apply to those who would try to block 65 with trees, etc (which people have tried to do with the Dorris statue before, but TDOT wouldn’t do it because of a law about these types of situations — and because Dorris threatened to just put everything on giant pedestals above the trees). If Battle of Nashville Trust gets the statue, they’d still probably have the right to take it down. But if the SCV gets it, and the public tries to take a stand, I think that’s where the law would come in. I’m saying all this mostly based on the language in Dorris’ will, which gives either the SCV or BONT rights to the property provided it’s “adequately maintained.”

        • Avatar
          Elmer Gantry says:

          The fight between the SCV and BONT will be over the revenue produced by the two cell transmission towers.

    • Avatar
      Phillip Lassiter says:

      Step out on the porch and fire up another joint

  • Avatar
    Elmer Gantry says:

    Is the non-Tennessee native Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, as is Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald)?

    • Avatar
      Elmer Gantry says:

      The Ku Klux Klan or Invisible Empire (1914)
      Rose, Laura Martin, 1862-1917
      https://archive.org/details/cu31924083530117

      DEDICATION.

      “THIS book is dedicated by the author to the Youth of the Southland, hoping that a perusal of its pages will inspire them with respect and admiration for the Confederate soldiers, who were the real Ku Klux, and whose deeds of courage and valor, have never been surpassed, and rarely equalled [sic], in the annals of history.”

      ENDORSEMENT.

      “THIS Book was unanimously endorsed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, in Convention assembled at New Orleans, La., November 12-15, 1913, and co-operation pledged to endeavor secure its adoption as a Supplementary Reader in the schools and to place it in the Libraries of our Land.’

      “A Resolution to endorse this Book was adopted, without a dissenting voice, by the Sons of Confederate Veterans at Reunion May 6-8, 1914 at Jacksonville, Florida, and their efforts pledged to have it placed in the schools throughout the South.”

  • Avatar
    Elmer Gantry says:

    It is remarkable that the non-Tennessee native Rep. John Ragan has to stones to keep pontificating his adoration of the Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest to his (and others) East Tennessee constituents:

    “According to a number of sources [see 53], the harsh policies and the reprisals that followed the bridge burnings intensified the anguish and suffering of the Unionists. “It is a fact which no one could dispute that a heritage of hatred for the Confederate element was burned into the hearts of the East Tennesseans, a heritage which Parson Brownlow was to capitalize to the fullest extent,” his modern
    biographer has concluded. It has been estimated that from 2,000 to 3,000 “non-combatant, unarmed Union people in thirty-one counties” were shot, hanged or slaughtered “in cold blood,” in addition to the “despoilment of personal property.” – “That D—-d Brownlow”, p.243. By William Gannaway Brownlow, Steve Humphrey.

    https://archive.org/details/ThatDDBrownlowBeingASaucyAndMaliciousDescriptionOfWilliamGannawayBrownlow/page/n263/mode/1up?q=cold+blood

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      There is nothing in Erik’s article that gives any indication that John Ragan “. . .pontificat[es] his adoration of. . . .” Nathan Forrest. Of course, if he does the fact that he wasn’t born in Tennessee doesn’t either reduce or enhance his moral or intellectual right to do so. Further, if he does express his admiration for Forrest and his constituents continue to elect him as they do, perhaps this generation of East Tennesseans are more sympathetic to the feelings of the other Tennesseans who were outraged at the fact that Tennesseans would not only want to remain in the Union but actually take up arms to fight their fellow Tennesseans who didn’t.

    • Avatar
      Phillip Lassiter says:

      Idiot. Go back to California

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    LeeAnn C. says:

    Misleading headline. The Nathan Bedford Forrest bust has been decided. This legislation fixes the awkward misteps taken in that instance, including the Governor’s ill placed intervention. I truly wish those assigned to creating headlines would take more care in the wording.

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Swift says:

    With so much that can be done legislatively to actually improve the life of our citizens, we have bone-headed representatives creating the “storm in a teacup” that resident windbag S.I.A. always out-gasses about. Yep, the guy that touts small government supports another more needless and over-reaching law.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I’m really outraged Jonathan! Damn it, it’s “TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT” not “storm in a teacup.” And you’re all turned around as well about what I gas about in terms of government. Small government means a government that, as the great James White likes to say, “PAVE[S] THE ROADS” and does little else to interfere with individual freedom and therefore taxes very little as well. The Hensley/Ragan legislation has nothing to do with the size of government, but then again, how would you know insofar as you are a liberal who is unconcerned with the size of government so long as it does what you want it to do.

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        It’s authoritarianism. Period.

        You fascists hiding behind the phrase “small government” are such hypocrites.

        • Avatar
          Taxpayer #314 says:

          Amen! Government has a purpose although conservatives don’t seem to realize what a good government can accomplish as they have never lived under a good government.

      • Avatar
        Jonathan Swift says:

        Stuart, what makes you think that I am a liberal. Is it because I often question or disagree with you uber-conservative comments? Did it ever occur to you that I may be a tepid centrist? Or a libertarian? I just read a comment from you decrying the name-calling and childishness on this forum, and here you go with your hypocrisy in overdrive. By the way, to me small government means less laws and regulations that clearly favor special interests and politics.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Jonathan, what I decry is name calling used as an epithet which simply shows that you don’t like someone and who the hell cares whether you or I like someone or not. In almost every post I indicate that I am a conservative or a “conservative with libertarian seasoning.” I do that simply to let everyone know where I am coming from in any response or reply. Frankly, I wish everyone would do the same. When people don’t do that I guess where they are coming from which I rather not do because it’s such an needless imprecise guessing game. By all means, if you are a “libertarian” or a “centrist” I will be happy to call you that rather than a “liberal.” After all, you are what you are.

          Almost all laws and regulations “. . .clearly favor special interests and politics” so wanting less of them may very well make you a conservative after all, albeit by sort of the back door. Now if I can only convince you to be a movement conservative so we simply have less powerful governments that would make fewer laws and regulations and that would attract fewer “special interests” that want certain special laws and regulations.

  • Avatar
    Elmer Gantry says:

    The Unspoken Demands of Slavery: The Exploitation of Female Slaves in the Memphis Slave Trade
    https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1119&context=gcjcwe

    “Prominent men, including Nathan Bedford Forrest, left behind evidence of their exploitation of the women they owned in the children that resulted from the relationships.”

  • Avatar
    June Griffin, Tenn. Committee for the Bill of Rights says:

    The statue of Forrest or any other military hero is not about the Confederacy or the Union for that matter. This is a recognition of the great fighting heroes of our history from either side. Because ‘peaceniks’ can’ live up to their great spirit, they wish to remove them. These men fought face to face against adversaries of our Republic, whether Farragut or Forrest, they didn’t have rubber bullets and rocks and sticks. They fought fair with arms and weapons, they didn’t carry signs or water hoses or lawyers We honor men who offer their lives for Americanism with valor and courage.

  • Avatar
    Henry Walker says:

    If a privately owned monument is located on private property, the monument may, of course, be removed by the owner. Mr. Dorris, for example, could have removed the statue of Forrest at any time. The state would not be involved; otherwise, it would be an illegal “taking” of the landowner’s property………(Although I suppose the people who drafted this could have intended to include private monuments on private property, the law notwithstanding. But that’s not the way I read it. )

  • Avatar
    June Griffin says:

    The statue of Forrest or any other military hero is not about the Confederacy or the Union. Who made it so? We are recognizing the great fighting heroes of Tennessee. Because envy and cowardice cannot tolerate courage is no reason to go after our Volunteer heritage. These men fought face to face against adversaries of our Republic, they would have laughed at the idea of carrying signs and marching like a bunch of girls. They were real men who fought fair face to face with armaments and weapons, not with sticks or lawyers. We honor such courage and valor. Still. Leave them alone.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      When the USA and Allies defeated Germany do you realize that WE made it illegal, by an individual or any governing body (state local or province) to display ANY symbol of the third Reich??????? No flag, no monument, large or small, Nothing.

      Many German soldiers were fighting to regain the motherland they felt had been unjustly seized in the Treaty of Versailles but Regardless of their intent No Bust of any general or any military man was allowed to be displayed.

      WE…..the United States decided that the killing of Jews and the engagement in War was enough to order such a decree prohibiting the display of “honor” to any symbol or person regardless of their stated intention in waging war.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        There may very well be a handful of German soldiers who were irate at the loss of the “Danzig Corridor” to Poland but the war aims of Germany were the conquest of Europe as well as the extermination of the Jews wherever they were found. These were illegal and unconscionable aims at the time they were held. The war aims of the North during the War Between the States was to force the seceding states to stay in the Union, while the seceding states wanted to leave.

        “Leaving” the country in which you find yourself is something that has been indulged in during recent decades over a dozen times mostly in a perfectly peaceful manner with no great upheaval. There is, therefore, no reason to extend the desire to blot Nazism off the face of the earth to the memory of the Confederacy and Confederates.

        • Avatar
          MARLE says:

          And why did it take 100+ years to get around to figuring out how “honorable” this fellow was? The bust was completed in 1978 in the aftermath of civil rights and in the Midst of initiatives like quota hiring and affirmative action. Co-incidence, I suppose?

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Trying to get into the heads of those who had a part in placing the bust is an academic exercise of dubious value. Perhaps the crescendo of authoritarian ukases under the guise of “Civil Rights” emanating out of Washington made Tennesseans feel it was time to honor those who once said they had enough of whatever was going on and wanted out and were ready to fight to the death for what they believed was their right.

            The question now is should that bust and others like it continue to remain in its place. The reason the question arises is as a result of the demands of the Tennessee and Nashville Grievance Companies. Now that it has, however, this is a good discussion to be had and hopefully those who believe that they should remain in place will continue to make their voices heard no matter how outre that opinion might be.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            If you wouldn’t fly the confederate flag or place a bust of a prominent Confederate general in your lobby or personal office THEN there is something you understand to be offensive. Period.

            So why should that same not apply to the government that represents the people and is our “face to the world”???? It doens’t take 100 years to place someone in “honor”. So the proximity to civil rights issue is hard to ignore but for the willfully blind.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Indeed, I understand it may be “offensive” to some people whose patronage I would like to have. I might reasonably decide that in my business I don’t want to do or say anything that I can avoid that would cause me to lose business. It would never occur to most people, however, that a government at any level would only honor individuals who are not “offensive” to someone, somewhere, sometime or even a number of people. Once again, you are comparing a private for profit entity with government. They are not comparable, that’s where you’re going wrong.

        • Avatar
          Elmer Gantry says:

          You seemingly forgot those entire elements about the expansion of slavery (“manstealing”) into new territories and white supremacy by wealthy Southern conservatives…

          Knights of the Golden Circle
          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_of_the_Golden_Circle

          • Avatar
            Elmer Gantry says:

            Senator Douglas Henry (authored the resolution proposing the placement of a Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in the Tennessee General Assembly builing) was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

            Rep. Steve McDaniel (authored legislation creating Tennessee Historical Commission; sponsor of both Tennessee Heritage Protection Acts; sponsor or co-sponsor of the legislation creating a Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty license plate; legislation sponsor of the Tennessee Wars Commission) was and still is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

            Senator Joey Hensley is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        So long as there was even ONE…no monument “honoring” him by those who felt he was righteous was allowed BY US. We are the ones who allowed no one to be “honored” under the circumstances.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          OK. Perfectly understandable. Nazism was an aggressive, genocidal belief that has no place in civilized society. No possible analogy can be drawn between Nazi Germany and the Confederacy.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            No the purchase, breeding, and selling of humans is NO COMPARISON???? moronic was charitable

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            You are comparing the killing of human beings for no rational reason at all wherever they are found around 1940 with slavery that was practiced worldwide by the most civilized countries but that was coming to an end in 1860. Eighty years difference. NO COMPARISON. And “moronic” was a misuse of the word, insulting, and simply born out of your frustration that someone has the nerve to disagree with you.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            When one atrocity is killing and the other is owning breeding and selling (and killing if they didn’t comply with the work load or tried to escape) I say BOTH are horrific and indefensible. I agree with the ban on Nazi hero-worship and the same for confederate honor in a Public Place.

            Just fyi slavery in French Spanish and British territories was ended decade or DecadeS before the South couldn’t tolerate the end of it. No telling how much longer the south wanted to own and breed humans.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            They “wanted to” so long as it was economically advantageous to do so, of course, this is speculative but I would say “not much longer.” Slavery was indeed abolished in the British Empire some years before and public opinion found it more and more abhorrent to the extent that when the cotton importers in the UK suggested more be done to help the Confederacy that was shot down by weight of opinion that wanted to see the end of slavery. Without the war, how much longer before the South, as one of the remaining places where slavery was practiced, had been the victim of an economic boycott? Slave uprisings were increasing in the South encouraged by abolitionists from the North, would that have lessened or increased as time went by? The industrial revolution was preceding making labor from sullen slaves less and less economically attractive. Finally, the moral arguments against slavery was making inroads in the southern mentality. As slavery was ending all over the civilized world the South would become more and more a worldwide extremely unattractive anachronism.

            The War Between the States cost at least 650,000 dead in a country of 31.5 milliion plus those maimed for life etc. etc. in order to keep the seceding states in the union. I say they should have been allowed to leave when they wanted to because they had every right to do so and when it became clear that the war was going to be as costly as it turned out to be it should have ended then because it simply was not worth the price.

          • Avatar
            Cannoneer2 says:

            So let’s compare three entities, the Wehrmacht, the U.S. Army and the Confederate Army. Two of the three committed genocide. The Confederate Army is the one that did not. There’s a nice comparison, for those that like Nazi comparisons. The nerve of those Confederates… The U.S. Army had to postpone its westward campaign of Native American genocide in order to crush the Confederacy.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            “not much longer” says Who? I thought you couldn’t abide “getting into the mind” of someone to discern motives. Now you can calculate how long the most perverse and lazy plantation owner might have wanted to hang onto human property? See…it isn’t so much that I don’t like to be argued with it’s that inconsistent rules of the road are what you seem now to bring to every exchange.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            “No telling how much longer the south wanted to own and breed humans.” You write a sentence that invites speculation because there is “No telling.” I answer with a sentence that contains the words “this is speculative” and offer my opinions and facts on which I base that opinion which evokes your displeasure because I am being speculative and “getting in the mind of someone to discern motives.”

            I get the distinct feeling that you are playing some game the rules to which I cannot even imagine. Unfortunately, because I don’t know the rules it’s not that much fun for me as it probably is for you so I think I will stop playing for now.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Why aren’t they wanting to Impeach #LeeTheTyrant for his tyrannical edicts during the Covid-19 reign of terror?

  • Avatar
    Charles says:

    Black citizens reportedly comprise about 17% of Tennessee’s population. Were I among them, I think I would wish to have the bust of Forrest removed. As a Caucasian, with ancestors from South and North, I regard the bust in its location to be offensive.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      And a courageous stand that is Charles, and bless you for having the courage to express it right out loud! As a Caucasian from the North most of whose ancestors were farmers and small tradesmen somewhere in the Central Europe of 1860 who, I am confident, neither knew or cared nothing about the great questions that were roiling the USA at the time, I find the location of the busts and statuary honoring Confederates inspirational.

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        Ok, Boss Hogg

        • Avatar
          Cryan says:

          I get it now. You’re a simp for a Daisy Duke type so you carpetbagged your way down south and feigned interest in the Civil War.

          I didn’t think I’d seen anything like Daisy Duke shorts until I saw Glen Casada in his bathrobe.

  • Avatar
    Misty Pardner says:

    Ragan and Hensley. That’s all you need to know to understand how stupid this action is.

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