The following are the full remarks as prepared by Carol Swain for delivery at Tuesday evening’s Resign Now! Megan Barry Rally:
We are here because leadership matters and so does good government. We believe our city and state and our children would be best served by the immediate resignation of Democrat Mayor Megan Barry. Her illicit affair with a married subordinate and the on-going investigations concerning her abuse of power and the people’s pocketbook make her unsuitable to carry out the duties of the office.
We are not here to judge her extramarital affair, for which she has apologized and asked for the forgiveness of God and the people of Nashville. Mayor Barry correctly stated God will forgive her, and many of us have already done so. I count myself as one of these. Forgiveness is an expectation and duty of Christians, if we expect God to forgive us of our sins. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. We can ask for and expect forgiveness when we confess and turn from sin.
But, in forgiveness, we are left with the messy details of our wrongdoing and must deal with unexpected and unintended consequences of unethical and sometimes illegal behavior. This is something Mayor Barry doesn’t seem to grasp. We the people of Nashville can forgive her, but that does not mean that we want her to continue in her leadership role over the city.
For the sake of our children, for the good of women’s rights and equality, for good governance, and effectiveness, the mayor should muster the courage to give a farewell address.
She is setting a poor example for our children by sending the signal that one can make a mistake and then apologize, but not expect consequences to follow.
Because of Megan Barry’s reckless behavior, people’s lives and marital covenants have been damaged forever. The longer she remains in office, the longer we are left with an embarrassing situation that highlights the hypocrisy of the Metoo movement.
Nashville is now a city with an administration that lacks the moral authority needed to conduct city business without projecting an air of corruption to the outside world. It’s a leadership that’s heading in the wrong direction.
Mayor Barry cannot teach our young people anything about ethics and morality. Despite having been an ethics and compliance officer herself, who formally established high standards of conduct for other city employees, barring them from giving preferential treatment to individuals, she exempted herself from those same rules.
Mayor Barry allegedly involved other subordinates in apparently helping her hide expenses connected with her affair, where she traveled with her lover even . . . staying days beyond what was necessary on the city dime.
Presently, there are at least three ongoing investigations of her activities taking place. Shockingly, though, none of the major local political figures of either political party have taken a leadership role in asking Mayor Barry to step aside for the sake of the city and the integrity of government.
Although she had offered to write a check for any inappropriate expenses, that does not make the unethical, immoral behavior go away. I’m sure many embezzlers would like to write a check to make their mistakes go away.
Mayor Barry’s affair and the surrounding circumstances represent a setback for women’s rights and equality and highlights one of the major flaws of the #Metoo movement. The movement denies men due process, but seems willing to give some women a free pass.
We are at a point in American history where there is zero tolerance for abuses of power in sexual relationships involving subordinates, unless, however, the abuser is a woman. Under the current rules, a man is presumed guilty and sentenced by the court of public opinion when one or more women accuse him of inappropriate behavior.
There is a deafening silence among men and women about the abuse of power and the inappropriate relationship that Mayor Megan Barry confessed to having with her bodyguard. Although her lover had the integrity to immediately retire from his position, our mayor clings to office with no regard to the damage she has wreaked and continues to wreak on other people’s lives.
There is also the problem of good governance. Integrity and trust are essential for effective government. Right now, Mayor Barry has proven she cannot be trusted on small things.
How can we trust her on big things like the effective use of our taxpayer dollars? Presently, she is being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for the possible misuse of funds, as well as for official misconduct. How can Mayor Barry lead under such a cloud of her own making?
Mayor Barry wants more of our tax dollars. Her proposed transit program comes at a cost of 5.2 billion dollars with long-term expenses totaling 9 billion dollars. There is no evidence that the proposed transit plan would actually solve Nashville’s transportation problems. Her megabucks’ solution to a problem that some believe can be addressed more easily at a fraction of the cost will give Nashville one of the highest local sales taxes in the nation.
Is this what we want for Nashville? I think not! We want Nashville to be an affordable, well-run city, with a leader who commands respect from men, women, and children.
We do not want Nashville to fall into the ranking of the eight of ten cities with populations over 100,000, with Democratic mayors characterized by crime, corruption, high taxes, and cronyism.
I join my voice with yours. Mayor Barry needs to resign. She does not have what it takes to lead with integrity, honesty, and good judgment. Mayor Megan Barry, I call upon you to resign, for the sake of our city and yours.
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Carol M. Swain is a former professor at Princeton and Vanderbilt Universities. Her most recent book is Abduction: How Liberalism Steals our Children’s Hearts and Minds (co-authored with Steve Feazel). Follow her on Facebook: Profcarolmswain and Twitter: @carolmswain