HART: Water Wars: Don’t mess with Tennessee
“It is feared that if today they come for our river, tomorrow they might come for our Jack Daniel’s or George Dickel.” —Proclamation from Tennessee
CHATTANOOGA, TENN — Georgia is thirsty and is looking to sip some of Tennessee’s water. It must be because of all of those crackers.
Georgia wants to take land on the Tennessee/Georgia border that it does not own and drain the Tennessee River. Tennesseans see no reason to give Georgians the straw through which they can drink the Volunteer State’s milkshake.
Thus, the battle line is drawn. The dispute involves a government survey done by Georgia 200 years ago that it now says was a mistake. It seems that the survey was “good enough for government work” at the time, but it was off by a mile.
Thirty thousand Tennesseans live in the area that Georgia wants to take in this retroactive land grab. Those residents get to go from paying no state income tax to paying 6 percent in Georgia. And for what? Maybe Georgia could spend the money on a better surveyor.
I suggest Tennessee file a countersuit and charge Georgia with Grand Theft Irony.
Just like I meant to buy Google stock at $5 per share but did not, neither of us has a right to go back and recreate something we did not get right the first time. Maybe Georgia can use Apple Maps to help; it's good at helping users discover new places where things aren’t.
Georgia barking these threats at Tennessee is like a poodle locked in a cage yapping at you as you walk by. You pay it a little attention because you think it is cute.
I have lived in both states; Tennessee is simply better run than Georgia. Tennessee is called the Volunteer State because it can’t make people live there. Politicians know that, so they make the state desirable. Tennessee has zero income tax and is run with relative efficiency. Its citizens have a rugged independence that is appealing. Politicians once tried to institute a state income tax and angry mobs descended on the capital.
Just the right amount of fear keeps elected officials at bay.
One Tennessee town knowingly elected a dead man as mayor. The people sent a message: They wanted an elected official who would not steal from them or cheat on his spouse.
They also wisely put the UT dental school in Memphis rather than with the undergraduate college in Knoxville. They knew there were not enough teeth in Knoxville to support a dental school.
Northerners are attracted to the South in general and to Tennessee in particular. Some Northern retirees move to Florida, find it to be like New York with 100 degree temperatures, and relocate to Tennessee. They are called “half backers” since they have moved halfway back North. They love Tennessee's climate, people, low taxes and the possibility of secession.
Tennessee hosted the Scopes "Monkey" Trial, learned a lot, and now lets Darwinism take care of its problems. Once two guys got in a bar argument over who was the better shot.
One said, “Bet I can shoot a beer can off your head.” The other said, “Can noh’t.” So they went to the parking lot to try and one guy killed the other.
Tennessee officials did not waste taxpayer money trying the survivor for manslaughter. He was allowed to plead to the lesser charge of being a redneck, which carries a $50 fine, the same as murder.
The U.S. Justice Department would have gotten involved and given him 20 years in prison — but there was no racial element in the crime, the defendant did not demand an ID from someone wanting to vote, and he did not illegally download any music.
It is a fiercely independent state. It did get in trouble with the Justice Department for making Gibson guitars out of illegally harvested wood. Like moonshine, the guitars are handcrafted in Tennessee, where legally manufacturing anything takes all the fun out of it.
Tennessee has great tourist attractions including Graceland, the Jack Daniel’s Distillery and Dollywood. There is also Euro-Dollywood, which I think is in Kentucky.
Tennessee should stand firm and play hardball on this water kerfuffle. Maybe it could bring in Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now there is a leader who knows how to crack down on Georgians.
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or at visit RonaldHart.com.