Letter to the Editor: When Bold Men Are Called to Lead – Tennessee’s Gubernatorial Race

Bill Lee

Dear Tennessee Star,

Mr. Mark West expressed his opposition to Bill Lee for Governor in The Tennessee Star several days back. West began with the Old Testament story of a brief conversation between Deborah and Barak. This is a story I’ve not known scholars to hold up as a turning point in Jewish history. Also, the relevancy of this anecdotal story to Bill Lee leaves me wondering even though it seems clear to Mr. West.

I am in FULL SUPPORT of BILL LEE. And from the Old Testament I offer the story of Nehemiah from the book of Nehemiah. So Nehemiah is released from his long term obligation to the king and follows his call from the Lord to travel a long distance back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls and the Temple. So with “only” the grace of God Nehemiah sets out. Along the way he tells his story to whoever will listen and picks up scattered support. As he moves closer and closer to the near impossible task of rebuilding, families and clans close around him in support as they are inspired by God and by Nehemiah’s commitment to the rebuilding task. And they are also moved by their own need for a rebuilt Temple… hope happens. And suddenly enemies of their effort come out of the woodwork for the usual reasons: greed and the threat to their existing lives of ease. So the enemies, of course, seed misinformation, and that brings us to Nehemiah 8:9 which TN will hopefully see played out on Aug 2.

Mr. West then talks about his near one hour Jul 2017 meeting with Lee. From that meeting West said several nice things about Lee but then concluded that Bill Lee “was and is unwilling to lead on one of the greatest threats to the foundation of our culture – the sanctity and distinctness of the sexes and the all out assault on something as basic as the dignity, privacy and safety of every female in our state.” You are dead wrong there Mr. West. You should have checked back sometime after your long ago Jul 2017 conclusion. Lee’s position on this issue has been on record for some time now:

Governor Lee will combat any effort by the Dept. of Ed or any social movement to infringe privacy rights of students and will do everything in his power to defend schools from threats of lawsuit or intimidation. School leaders who exercise common sense will have the protection of our state government. As Governor, Bill will not allow the privacy rights of every student to be sacrificed for the social movement of a few. A governor with these stated convictions will obviously support a bill on the issue.

That works for this voter.

I agree that West’s closing Old Testament quote from Job 31:34 is helpful: “Have I feared the crowd or the contempt of the masses, so that I kept quiet and stayed indoors.” Diane Black did fear the crowd and stayed quiet so that today we still have Obamacare. Bill Lee is done with quiet. And that takes us back to Nehemiah 8:9. Bill Lee will hopefully be calling on all of us to step up and rebuild TN.


Ed Smith, Heritage Foundation Sentinel
Nashville, TN

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2 Thoughts to “Letter to the Editor: When Bold Men Are Called to Lead – Tennessee’s Gubernatorial Race”

  1. David James

    Readers and potential voters should not be fooled that Mr. Smith’s sign-off as a Heritage Sentinel means anything more than the fact that he like many others have signed up with the Heritage Foundation and may even be a donor. Mr. Smith does not speak for the Heritage Foundation so using this as part of his own identification is grossly misleading to readers.
    His commentary is however, revealing for a different reason – Bill Lee went “on record” about a potential bathroom bill only AFTER he was politically assailed for his instinct to run away from these difficult social/cultural issues. How ironic that the self-described non-politician is showing us exactly what type of politician he really is – will say whatever he needs to to try and win. What Bill Lee and his supporters can’t own up to is the fact that Bill Lee who has branded himself and his campaign as the Christian choice, could not answer this question without anyone’s political advice. It should have been a no-brainer from the start except it wasn’t which suggests that just because Lee is a Christian doesn’t mean he’ll make the right decisions. Unlike Trump, Bill Lee’s inexperience in politics and the milieu in which many of the more difficult battles are fought in Tennessee’s legislature, does not bode well for the state. It’s disheartening that a candidate and his supporters who are waving the Christian banner resist being straight up honest about Bill Lee’s decision-making as evidenced by factual, documented information.

    1. Kevin

      Mr. James, so who exactly do you think better deserves our votes? Even in a beauty contest between alligators, one can either stand for the candidate/contestant that BEST represents one’s values, OR, one can fail to exercise their civic duty. You might chose to surrender your rights, but I don’t!

      Bill Lee IS the candidate who is fresh, new to the game, and at least at this point, unjaded. It is up to us citizens to keep him, once elected, on the straight and narrow! There is no doubt in my mind that the other three candidates, could not be kept between the lines even if every one of the 6.7 million people in Tennessee called them weekly!

      And with regards to your comment about Mr. Smith’s addition of “Sentinel” after his name, I can only venture a guess that you are a Diane Black supporter, or bot. Strange how Black supporters will claim Diane’s 78% lifetime, 86% this year, Heritage score as a badge of honor in one post yet minimize it’s members in another. It’s pretty obvious that you know little about Heritage Action, and even less about the author of this piece. But I would expect nothing less from a Black supporter!