During the War of 1812 more than 25,000 Tennessee Volunteers participated in battles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. Tennessee native Andrew Jackson led them at the Battle of New Orleans, where Volunteers took part in the greatest victory of the war when they helped to defeat the British.
Twenty years later, 300 Volunteers made the trip to help Davy Crockett and the Texans at the Alamo.
The Volunteers’ efforts were maximized during the Mexican-American War, when more than 30,000 of them were deployed.
Clearly, Tennessee has a proud legacy of fighting for freedom. Yet today, the holders of this symbolic name of Tennessee Volunteers have outlawed tobacco smoking in their home football stadium.
And matters get worse. U.S. citizens living and smoking in Tennessee are being persecuted while Congress writes tax breaks for Tennessee tobacco farmers who hire undocumented Mexican workers under H2-A visas: “Concerned that the government’s H-2A program may be too costly for Tennessee tobacco farmers, U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon has introduced legislation providing tax cuts to farmers who use temporary foreign labor. The bill, HR 4821, would give farmers a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the difference between the minimum wage and the required H-2A wage, which is $7.63 an hour in Tennessee. The federal minimum wage is $5.15.”
So, the sons and daughters of the Volunteers study in smoke-free environments, the state is regulating the individual behavior of law-abiding tobacco-smoking fans, and the federal government is helping destroy local jobs for Tennessee residents who used to work in this “thankless” agricultural industry.
Calling the true Volunteers: There is no valor in this tobacco policy lunacy, nor in your sheep-like acquiescence to such intolerance.
Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager for The Heartland Institute.