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Subdeacon Joe

The Battle of Athens, A Reminder of Why

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Why the 2nd Amendment is more relevant today than ever.

https://www.americanheritage.com/battle-athens

"Since the Civil War, political offices in McMinn County had gone to the Republicans, but in the 1930s Tennessee began to fall under the control of Democratic bosses. To the west, in Shelby County, E.H. Crump, the Memphis mayor who had been ousted during his term for failing to enforce Prohibition, fathered what would become the state’s most powerful political machine. Crump eventually controlled most of Tennessee along with the governor’s office and a United States senator. In eastern Tennessee local and regional machines developed, which, lacking the sophistication and power of a Crump, relied on intimidation and violence to control their constituents.

In 1936 the system descended upon McMinn County in the person of one Paul Cantrell, the Democratic candidate for sheriff. Cantrell, who came from a family of money and influence in nearby Etowah, tied his campaign closely to the popularity of the Roosevelt administration and rode FDR’s coattails to victory over his Republican opponent.

Fraud was suspected—to this day many Athens citizens firmly believe that ballot boxes were swapped—but there was no proof. Over the following months and years, however, those who questioned the election would see their suspicions vindicated. The laws of Tennessee provided an opportunity for the unscrupulous to prosper. The sheriff and his deputies received a fee for every person they booked, incarcerated, and released; the more human transactions, the more money they got. A voucher signed by the sheriff was all that was needed to collect the money from the courthouse. Deputies routinely boarded buses passing through and dragged sleepy-eyed passengers to the jail to pay their $16.50 fine for drunkenness, whether they were guilty or not. Arrests ran as high as 115 per weekend. The fee system was profitable, but record-keeping was required, and the money could be traced. It was less troublesome to collect kickbacks for allowing roadhouses to operate openly. Cooperative owners would point out influential patrons. They were not bothered, but the rest were subject to shakedowns. Prostitution, liquor, and gambling grew so prevalent that it became common knowledge in Tennessee that Athens was “wide open.”

Encouraged by his initial success, Cantrell began what would become a tenyear reign as the king of McMinn politics. In subsequent elections, ballot boxes were collected from the precincts and the results tabulated in secret at McMinn County Jail in Athens. Opposition poll watchers were labeled as troublemakers and ejected from precinct houses."

 

On a small scale this is what both JFK and "The Happy Warrior (Hubert Humphrey) warned about.

”By calling attention to ‘a well regulated militia,’ ‘the security of the nation,’ and the right of each citizen ‘to keep and bear arms,’ our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy… The Second Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.”

- John F. Kennedy

Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible. (Hubert H. Humphrey)

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Finish the story!!

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Huh!  You beat me to it, Joe! 

 

I had not seen your post, but just happened to talk to a cousin this afternoon and he asked me if I was familiar with the story.  I confessed that I was not, and he encouraged me to look it up.  I did, and watched a number of YouTube discussions... then saw that there had been a made-for-TV movie broadcast in '92!

 

The Kid and I watched the movie this evening - link below.

 

There are some thoughtful comments on IMDB  ~ here's one excerpt that caught my eye:

 

Quote

 

...So you might be wondering, why is this movie not readily available on NetFlix or Hulu? One of the overarching themes in this movie is that the 2d Amendment is the ultimate guarantor of all other rights found in the Constitution. This concept does not fit the leftist/Utopian world view and as such, is not permitted to be known or shown.

 

Because of this, it is somewhat of a modern miracle this true life story of the "Battle of Athens" Tennessee was ever made. Given the current political climate today and the undercurrent of election stealing and voter fraud that is being addressed with nearly 35+ states passing voter ID laws, this movie is very timely and topical.

 

It is well worth the viewing just to reinforce the importance of the need for the 2nd Amendment, but all of the other themes of the movie, definitely makes it worthwhile....

 

 

It was kind of fun seeing a younger, mustachioed "Admiral Chegwidden" with hair playing the crooked sheriff!   

 

 

 

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