Sen. Blackburn (R-TN) used the "socialism" trope. It proves she doesn't know her history about Tennessee.
Mary “Marsha” Blackburn has been a Tennessee politician for over 20 years. She was a state senator from 1999 to 2003; a representative from Tennessee’s 7th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2003 to 2019; and was elected to the United States Senate in 2020. But despite her tenure, she seems to not know the history of the Volunteer State.
What Senator Blackburn may not know is that many Tennesseans are alive today and arguably enjoy a higher standard of living because of a government program many people assailed and labeled “socialism” back in the day.
I’m talking about the Tennessee Valley Authority, which employs 10,000 people in Tennessee and neighboring states.
While the TVA gets its revenues these days from selling electricity to local power companies and many industrial and federal customers, it started out in life in 1933 as part of President Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal programs.
FUN FACT: I doubt I’d be here today if not for the TVA. And, ironically, I’m named after one of TVA’s (and Roosevelt’s) fiercest opponents – Wendell Wilkie. Almost all of my Tennessee kinfolks were and still are Republicans, but we all owe a debt of gratitude to Roosevelt.
I grew up in the hills of East Tennessee, where towns and farms would routinely get washed away by floods. And very few folks in that part of the country had electricity back in 1933.
The TVA created much-needed jobs in those hills and throughout the valley. One of the TVA’s first and most grateful employees was my dad. He was hired to help clear hundreds of acres that would become the beautiful Watauga Lake.
Another FUN FACT: The TVA wasn’t my dad’s only New Deal employer. He also got a job building parks and recreation areas for the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Heck, Senator Blackburn and I are about the same age. I’m just a few months older than her. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Senator’s kinfolks down in Mississippi – one of 7 states served by the TVA – where she was born got work because of the New Deal.
What some people (like Senator Blackburn) condemned as “socialism” 90 years ago has enabled generations of Tennesseans to thrive. I wonder, if Senator Blackburn had been in the Senate back then, how would she have voted?
Great reminder of the good the dreaded socialism has done for America!
As Truman said, socialism is anything that helps the common man, and the wealthy want us to be afraid of it!
Socialism has become a derogatory term used by the Republicans to make anything that would help lift all boats, sound like a threat to the electorate. Almost none of them could actually define the term.