Mike Williams was with us as Citizen Mike and on the way he encouraged all of us to speak. See for Mike it has always been about Memphis. For those who believe he did this for his campaign, you will see. There are documents in that request that date back to 2013. This was NOT about his campaign, rather his campaign is about this. He decided to run when the cries of the citizens went unnoticed. When you finally see what is in the request things will become clearer. The need for reform will be CRYSTAL CLEAR.
I vividly remember when Mike shared with me and Chett that he was planning a bid for mayor. I actually squealed and clapped. LOL I couldn’t help it. Finally, maybe we could be heard. He explained that watching what was happening in the city and seeing that no matter what the citizens wanted they would be ignored, he saw the need for a new voice. I see the need. This is the same man who went with us to Nashville. He means business. If he wanted to be a part of the corruption he wouldn’t try to fix it.
Why haven’t the others done what Mike did? Better question….Why weren’t any of them on the bus with us? Several council members and mayoral candidates said they would be fine with an audit. They should have been on the bus. Even ole AC had a seat if he wanted it. All citizens were invited. This was our chance to seek the change beyond the city council and the mayor.
We filed into the Capitol building. It was pretty awesome to have the building to ourselves. We were able to see the chambers on our own. We just roamed the halls. I have been there a dozen times and today it seemed like a new place. I was there as part of a movement for change. It was very Mr. Smith like.
We were brought in to a room I had been in several times with my students. We were put in the law library and greeted by our host Representative Karen Camper. She sent invitations to our State leaders and one by one they came in and we presented them with the requests and signatures. We were able to speak directly to them. We ALL said something. WE ALL asked for help. While Mike handled the introductions, trust me ALL voices were heard. We asked the Comptroller several clarifying questions and let him know that he was the Boogyman in Memphis. He was blamed for all the bad choices our leadership has made. He assured us that he doesn’t tell them to do the things they have been doing. He said he can’t tell them if they way they are spending money is dumb or not. His job is to make sure the books are on order, not if the money is spent wisely.
I did get a little upset when he said the auditing firm in charge of Memphis did a good job. I then asked, “Where do they get their books they audit from?” I then proceeded to tell him about the multiple copies of the books that were floating around. I said you can only as audit as well at the books you are given. He said he understood and promised the request would not be filed away without being looked at.
I was impressed by Representative Camper. She reminded us that we have a VOICE. YOU HAVE A VOICE. She also warned that WE NEED TO BE USING OUR VOICE. This was not just for Memphis, but for Tennessee. If you are not watching what is happening, you need to be. More will disappear if we keep ignoring what is happening. Tennessee has been advertised a great place for business due to Cheap labor and lack of union power. Wow, thanks governor. (Yes I can be critical of the man I voted for ONCE). Just once. We stand to lose so much if we stop acting as if conversations about politics are taboo WE NEED TO BE TALKING! We need to be paying attention. To be honest, while I enjoyed my time with the few on that bus, there should have been busloads of people from Memphis.
I took off of work. It is that important. Several swapped shifts and worked things out. I even took my sick son with me. He was really sick, but I would have brought him even if he didn’t have a doctor’s excuse from school. He needed to see our Republic at work. I needed him to see it is OK to question your government, it is OK to speak out, it is OK to say “this is NOT right.” We are nation founded on this very principle. “No taxation without representation.” “Don’t tread on me” “Give me liberty or give me death” “"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." "I have not yet begun to fight!" We come from a legacy of fight! We were given this precious gift of freedom of speech.
Thank you Mike Williams for giving us the chance to speak to our leaders. For giving us our voice. We didn’t have to send an email to the comptroller, I spoke directly to the man. I, Sherrie Hopper, got to speak to the man who has been blamed for hurting my family. Not shockingly, it was not his fault, he Is another scapegoat for the administration's bad decisions. I think the comptroller said three times, he cannot control dumb decisions.
Friday ended with a feeling of accomplishment. We spoke up. We represented our city in Nashville and asked in person for help. I truly believe Rep. Camper will do everything to get us that help. She spoke with me about ABC Tree. I asked her about getting legislation together to protect Tennessee jobs. She took all the information I had on the matter. It is so refreshing to see representatives that listen. The Memphis leaders don’t even pretend to listen anymore. Well…..it is time to make them. This was just the beginning. Join us in taking back Memphis. The door has been opened, it is time to become We The People and walk through it.