Essence Jarrett shares a moment with Ed Asner. Courtesy photo

By Clint Confehr

NASHVILLE, TN — Renaming the Tennessee Democratic Party’s Three Star Jackson Day Dinner was an issue raised by fliers distributed as people entered the State Fairgrounds for the fundraiser last week.

“To have a dinner in honor of this man” Christina Wisneski’s flier says of Andrew Jackson, “is a direct slap in the face to many of those of us working hard every week to fight fascism, trumpet boy and his Russian agenda.”

Virginia Democrats faced similar requests for their fundraisers in the 1970s when Thomas Jefferson’s affair with Sally Hemings became better known. Jackson’s execution of the Trail of Tears, destruction of the National Bank and subsequent depression are mentioned in the flier, but not at the banquet attended by nearly 800 people who heard guest speaker Ed Asner say why he’s a Democrat.

Democrats “look out for each other. They know an attack on one is an attack on all,” Asner said. They want to expand affordable health care to all Americans.

“If the Republican Party had its way, people like my son and grandson would be discriminated against for having a pre-existing condition,” Asner said. They’re on the autism spectrum. Asner was here supporting the Nashville Intellectual Developmental and Disabilities Housing Group; “…the first in the city to help adults with autism and other intellectual and development disabilities find affordable housing, gainful employment and a strong social network … for them to thrive and contribute to the community.”

Asner introduced Congressman Jim Cooper of Nashville as someone the audience already knows. “You’re lucky to have a congressman who is accessible. This congressman listens. He reads the bills and makes informed decisions.”

Cooper, who introduced Sen. Amy Klobucher (D-Minn.), Cooper “prays” that senators won’t adopt Trumpcare as passed by congressmen. Klobuchar feels the same way Asner feels about Republican plans for Trumpcare, partly because her daughter has an allergy and carries an EpiPen-brand auto-injector in her pocket for emergency treatment.

“So when they jacked up that [EpiPen] price four times … I felt like every parent felt, ‘You can not do this to my kid. You can’t do that just because a monopoly fell in your lap,’” Klobuchar said. “So that’s why we have to have … negotiation in prices under medicare part B.”

Applause paused Klobuchar’s discussion as she: rallied party supporters; advocated worker pay raises; and offered ideas on lowering the cost of living.

A few hours earlier, distribution of Wisneski’s flier advocated making party events “affordable and accessible to all.” Three Star dinner tickets started at $1,500.

The flier and dinner speakers advocated similar views: there’s strength in diversity; the party should help oppressed people; and it should strengthen the shrinking middle class.

TNDP Chair Mary Mancini said the banquet’s seating arrangement seemed to be like a mullet haircut; business upfront and a party at back.

Clint Confehr — an American journalist since 1972 — first wrote for The Tennessee Tribune in 1999. His news writing and photography in South Central Tennessee and the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical...

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