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I was at a fundraising event for Nashville Pride Monday night and I sat next to a very nice young man who works for the Tennessee legislature.

If you follow the news about this area at all or my occasional rants in this journal, you know that the Tennessee legislature is completely insane. Every last one of them.

Their legislative priority this past session was making sure gun owners could carry their weapons into state parks. That includes, for example, the World War II memorial downtown.

Oh, and bars. Because guns and firearms go well together. (Fortunately many townships and counties have thwarted the legislature's efforts by passing local restrictions.)

Their priority. Apparently all the other problems, such as the state's complete fiscal disaster or dismal educational system, will resolve themselves. Or the state's dismal environmental record - mountaintop removal, for example. Or perhaps they'll be resolved by guns in parks.

So I talked to this young man briefly about the situation. (He shall remain anonymous because (a) I wouldn't want his job threatened for the expression of a personal opinion and (b) I'm terrible with names and can't remember it.)

I asked him point-blank, “Are they all insane?”

Without hesitation, he said, “Yes.”

We both laughed. Then I followed up by asking what's actually going on. His answer was a bit rehearsed but honest.

“The skills that help you get elected are not the same skills you need to be a good lawmaker.”

It sounds simple and I suppose I realized that before, but hearing it put so succinctly and so well made it feel like a bit of revelation.

And it's definitely not what they tell you in high school civics or even law school.

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