I empathize with downtown Nashville residents as they struggle with the aftermath of the Christmas Day act of domestic terrorism. I’m relieved that recent sporadic protests by Ashland residents have not yet caused physical and material damage.

Ashland, my hometown, is itself experiencing, if on a much smaller scale than in Nashville, an existential threat. Whenever weather allows, misguided “pissed-off patriots” over-run the corner adjacent to the culturally quintessential Paramount Arts Center, leaving this busy intersection a danger to themselves, pedestrians and motorists. Their issue is their inability to accept the results of the recent presidential election.

So, what’s the harm beyond indignation? This is what I have witnessed: sporadic gatherings of sycophants sporting garments embossed with disrespectful images of our nation's flag, and older adults wandering on and off the curbs, in motorists’ path, while jostling oversized posters calling for anarchy. Explaining their point to real children passing by must be a daunting parental challenge.

It’s an embarrassment. Local ordinances codify how best to deal with legal but disruptive behavior. Such dangerous activity in a major thoroughfare should be prohibited!

I believe citizens should protest injustice. Our well-being directly depends on respecting the sacred words in our Constitution that define our rights and democratic processes — and not on guns, graft and extreme, baseless propaganda. A government by the people requires earnest participation and exercising critical thinking skills.

The majority of voters in the 2020 election rightly determined that executive governance by opportunists inevitably leads to chaos and regression. I recognize the real patriots who with courage and humility resisted unprecedented efforts to suppress voting. Cowardly politicians and nefarious motivations will not change the outcome. Nor will whining and irresponsible misrepresentation or ignorance of facts alter the only appropriate verdict voters could have rendered.

Ned Lemon


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