A response from Rep. Sherrell and hope for the future

Think for Yourself


Last week I asked State Representative Paul Sherrell to set the record straight. Thursday night, I received a call from Representative Sherrell. He told me that he had been unable to contact anyone at the number the robocall came from. That is the same experience I had when I tried calling the number from my caller ID. He told me he had nothing to do with the calls. Representative Sherrell told me that the Tennessee Highway Patrol had confiscated knives and pepper spray from some out-of-state individuals who came to join the protests. I have no way of confirming this with the THP. I can only rely on their statement that no arrests were made, no property was damaged, and no individuals were injured. While similar to the robocall claims, Representative Sherrell’s claim is more plausible and not directly contradictory to THP’s statements about the protest.

Representative Sherrell also said he regrets how much media attention the three Democratic Representatives who participated in the disruption have been receiving, attention that included a visit from the vice president and an invitation to the White House. Representative Sherrell assumed I was a Democrat because of my article. I explained that I wanted to allow him to distance himself from the robocalls and set the record straight. As I have explained in this column, I judge ideas on their merits and don’t assume a particular motivation based on party affiliation. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt until evidence can be found and evaluated. I may not support Representative Sherrell completely, but I admire his quick response to my article. That is more than some would do. I will continue to monitor the situation if any new evidence or facts come to light. Still, I am satisfied with Representative Sherrell’s response for now.

I had initially intended to submit an article critiquing and building upon Troy Smith’s recent articles about perception. Maybe next week. For the rest of this article, I will offer praise that is lacking these days. I have heard a lot of complaints about kids today. They are the same complaints I heard when I was a White County High School student. I know that these kids aren’t perfect angels. No kids ever were. Having two teens, I have spent much time around their friends, teammates, and classmates. These kids impress me. Maybe it is something special about White County. I pay attention to them, and I see potential.

Today’s teens are just like my friends and classmates from the Class of 1986. They are bright and inquisitive. They are worried about fitting in and being accepted. They are scared about their futures but eager for them to begin. They also learn best by making mistakes. They make the same mistakes that teens have been making for decades. I watch them and am jealous of all the possibilities ahead of them. As I told one senior tennis player, “The purpose of college is to try.” If she wants to walk on to the UT Lady Vols basketball team, I believe in her, but she has to try if she wants to know. When we are young, we try everything. As we get older, we try less and less. We are blessed with some impressive young people in White County. I know they’re not perfect, but I am proud of them and love them for who they are and who they will become.

Representative Sherrell and his fellows at the Capitol probably get more grief than they deserve at times. They are not perfect, but who is? Whether I agree with them or not, I hope their intention is to make Tennessee a little better for all of us. Our teens are imperfect but don’t deserve the insults often hurled upon their generation. I believe in the potential of our youth, and they will make Tennessee better. Think for yourself.    


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