So, a bunch of Tennessee lawmakers are going to Turkey on the dime of the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians. This seems like a fine idea to me. I only wish the trip had been earlier in the year.
But one thing did strike me as curious. Here's the list News Channel 5 has of participating legislators:
Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville; Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown; Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah; Rep. Roger Kane, R-Knoxville; Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis; Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis; Rep. Johnnie Turner, D-Memphis; and Terri Lynn Weaver.
One name there stands out — Vance Dennis.
Vance Dennis was the sponsor of HB 3768, now Public Chapter Number 983. You don't remember HB 3768? Well, it was hilarious. It stated in part that:
any otherwise enforceable contract which incorporates any substantive or procedural law, legal code or legal system of another state, foreign jurisdiction or foreign country that would violate rights and privileges granted under the United States or Tennessee Constitution is declared to be against public policy of this state and is unenforceable in this state
In other words, any contract that is unconstitutional is unenforceable. Our genius state legislators thought we needed a law that says that. It may be just an unfounded rumor, but I hear that bill was actually drafted in the Department of Redundancy Department.
Why did we need a law making illegal things illegal? Let's let the conspiracy-minded Tennessee Eagle Forum tell you all about it:
Toward the end of the 2010 session of the Tennessee General Assembly, HB3768/SB3740, the "American and Tennessee Law for Tennessee Courts" bill was passed. You might be surprised to know, that Tennessee was the first state in the country to pass legislation of this type and now other states are looking to follow our lead.
Supporting the sovereignty of our state to protect its jurisprudence from the encroachment of foreign law that is discordant with our Constitutional liberties, this type of legislation has become ever more relevant in light of the aggressive efforts to advance the imposition of Shariah law in the United States. And because of the way our new law defines "foreign law, legal code or system", it was duly noted during the House sub-committee meeting that our new also applies to Shariah law.
Yes, to protect us from Shariah Law! It's been so long since that was the Right's big bogeyman I barely remembered we were supposed to be afraid of it. Hell, maybe Vance Dennis doesn't remember that we're supposed to be afraid of it.
But it's awfully convenient. When he benefits from anti-Islamic bigotry, Dennis writes this redundant waste of Code in order to appease his hateful voters and alienate Muslim Tennesseans. When he gets a Mediterranean vacation out of it, Dennis is happy to accept gifts from Muslims.
I'm all for peace, love and understanding, so I'd hate to dissuade Dennis (or Campfield and Weaver, who also signed on to co-sponsor HB 3768) from going on this trip. He might learn something. But I would hope that the next time our state legislature is looking to gin up support based on their willingness to stick it to Muslims, voters remember that these folks are willing to travel on the dimes of those very people when it benefits them.