It was a pretty good week for do-overs. Almost a year to the day after his three-putt meltdown on the final green at last year's championship, Dustin Johnson redeemed himself by winning this year's U.S. Open at Oakmont.
Out in San Francisco, a few hours later, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off a similar turnaround, winning the NBA championship against the Golden State Warriors, the team that had beaten them soundly a year ago. (In a side note, Senator Bernie Sanders refused to concede the championship to Cleveland and vowed to fight on.)
The news wasn't so good for another do-over. The most recent attempt by Democrats in the U.S. Senate to pass meaningful gun-control legislation went down to defeat on a mostly party-line vote. Which means, thank goodness, that those on the terrorist no-fly list can still exercise their Second Amendment rights to buy semiautomatic weapons and unlimited magazines. For freedom.
In fact, more people died in the Orlando nightclub massacre (49) than voted for the modest gun-control measures (44) that failed to pass the Senate. This, despite recent polling showing almost 90 percent(!) of Americans favored restricting gun rights for those on the no-fly list. If you ever doubted the absolute power wielded by the NRA, this vote should convince you otherwise.
Noted intellectual and GOP leader Sarah Palin chimed in, attacking President Obama on her Facebook page for daring to suggest such "radical" gun-control measures. "Exploiting a sick, evil, ideological-driven attack on Americans to further your twisted anti-Second Amendment mission is disgusting," she wrote. "Forget your asinine gun control, do your job and engage in Islamic terrorist control," she added. "It's a special kind of stupid to demand we explain ourselves."
A special kind of stupid, indeed. Although I would pay to watch Sarah Palin try to explain herself.
And it was another bad week for the Donald Trump campaign. In a Las Vegas speech, in less than 10 minutes, the presumptive GOP candidate made the following claims: Iran controls Iraq; Orlando murderer Omar Mateen was an immigrant and a member of ISIS; similar incidents of violence would happen "again and again" if we didn't stop Syrian immigration; and we need to start racially profiling Muslims.
So much wrong-headedness in so few words. Trump did add: "My temperament is very, very solid," so he's got that going for him.
A couple of days later, amid reports that his campaign was nearly out of funds, Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski was forced out. Trump pledged to begin running "a different kind of campaign." Another do-over.
Meanwhile, several dozen GOP delegates to the upcoming national convention in Cleveland were organizing a movement to free all delegates from the obligation to vote for Trump, even though they were pledged to do so via primary election results. That would be a really crazy and tumultuous do-over and would probably wreck what's left of the GOP.
And here in Memphis, the city took on a real historic do-over by reinstigating the process of moving the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest and disinterring the Confederate general's and his wife's bodies from the city park that once held his name.
Lawsuits have been filed; hoops must be jumped through at the state level; passions will rise; protests will be held; divisions will fester. The digging up of these long-buried humans will draw news cameras from around the country.
Is this really what we want? Is this a good use of our tax dollars? I think not. I believe we should take a page from Donald Trump and build a wall — a wall around the statue, high to hide him from view. Then charge $5 admission to get inside and look at the old racist. Use the money to fund minority scholarships.
Let's think outside the box, Memphis, instead of settling for another do-over.
I'm writing this from the restroom facility at Big Hill Pond State Park in southern McNairy County. On Monday, I commandeered the building, which contains the men's and women's restrooms, some racks of pamphlets, and two vending machines. There's no one here right now, but I plan to stay as long as necessary to protest the fact that the state of Tennessee is run by oppressive know-nothings who wouldn't know small government — or freedom, for that matter — if it bit them on their considerable backsides ...
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."