Yesterday evening I traveled to Sevier County, TN. I’ve been there and through there hundreds of times both as a child and an adult. But I wasn’t there for a fun time. I was there because a Sevier County commissioner, a publicly elected official, Warren Hurst had made several inflammatory comments during a public meeting back in October. I was there to attend a rally and protest in support of those who he had targeted. You can read about his original comments here: it was picked up by the national news, NBC News.
We rallied around 5 p.m. and then headed to the Courthouse. We were early for the 6 p.m. meeting but we were told that the room was full. Afterwards, 3 people who spoke for our group told us the room was NOT full and we had been denied our chance to be seen and heard by the commissioners. The interesting thing about this situation was that 3 individuals who WERE allowed to be there greeted us upon leaving the meeting with nazi salutes and slurs. You can see that here in this picture:
I was amazed and scared by these people. Amazed by their emboldened brazenness and scared because I was thinking about what happened in Charlottesville, VA. What if these people came back to hurt us? They berated the crowd for around 20 minutes. Thankfully, there was a heavy police presence that kept them separated from us.
You can watch the video of the commission meeting here: WVLT, Channel 8 out of Knoxville was there documenting what happened: Commission Meeting.
At approximately 28:35 in the WVLT video linked above, you can see an outburt from one of the members of the hate group, who WAS allowed into the meeting.
At the end of the day, we all want to live our lives as we see fit. That’s part of the American dream and experience. There is NO need for public officials to be ugly (as my mom used to say) in describing people he’s probably never even met. Comments like this are emboldening hate groups every day and we HAVE to stand against it.
Please join me in condemning the statements by Commissioner Warren Hurst and the actions of these hate groups.
-The East Tennessee Hillbilly