Political landscaping is shifting in Blount — for the good | Your Voice
After reading Steve Wildsmith’s column, “Newbie Doesn’t Know Blount County” (Jan. 17, 6A), I decided to read Mark Pulliam’s column, “Left Colonize Red Cities,” published online Jan. 13 in The Federalist and RealClearPolitics. that Steve was referring to.
I served as a senior editor and then an editor for The Daily Times for over 27 years. During this time readers made various claims regarding perceived political leanings: some said we served as the “arm of the religious right” while others said we were “a left, democratic rag”. With regard to Mr. Pulliam’s comments in The Federalist (yes, I’ve read it), I’d take his assessment of the Daily Times’ current editorial bias with less than a grain of salt.
As a longtime political observer, I had a chance to tell Mr. Pulliam a thing or two about Blount County politics. I remember when we joked that the Blount County’s Democratic Party might meet in a small room. When retirees from the north and elsewhere discovered the great quality of life in the Smokies foothills (for many of them it was halfway to Florida) the political landscape began to change a bit, but nothing as Mr. Pulliam describes.
Obviously, as Steve suggests, Mr. Pulliam is a transplant who didn’t do his homework, especially when he thought before moving that Maryville College – a historic Presbyterian college – is like Rush Limbaugh’s lauded Hillsdale College. Likewise, his resettlement studies failed when he assumed that the leadership and the people of partisanship ruled over the people, as the political population group mostly interviewed Republicans.
Yes, I was slightly surprised when Sarah Herron was elected to Maryville City Council, but it only served as evidence of what I’d been saying for years: The county is changing. Is it changing for the worse? I don’t think so, but not because I’m kind of a leftist. Like many Blount Countians, I’m a middle-of-the-road voter who sometimes “splits the ticket”.
Steve, with whom I worked in the newsroom for nearly two decades, is right when he says that Blount Countians of all political beliefs have learned to serve together for the common good. When it comes to the homeless and the poor, Christians in this county may split in the elections, but we will band together to do justice and show mercy.
“Not from here” Mr. Pulliam might be happier in Mississippi, Alabama, or Louisiana.