Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:


July 7

The Johnson City Press on registering to vote:

Northeast Tennessee, like the rest of the U.S., has heard a lot of shouting of late. Whether it be about novel coronavirus, racial injustice or politics in general, grumbles have turned into thunder.

Making your voice heard is one thing. Doing something with it is another. A vote is the loudest, most meaningful shout available in our society.

If you want to shout in the Aug. 6 general local election and state and national primaries, today is your last chance to register to vote.

On the surface, it would seem that young people in particular are more fired up than usual. What remains to be seen, however, is whether they will use that energy at the ballot box. But the same is true for most adults, as Tennessee has one of the worst voter participation records in the country.

That’s why the efforts of the League of Women Voters of Northeast Tennessee are so important.

The nonpartisan league has made registering voters and getting out the vote its top priorities in this election cycle. That includes reaching out to voters young and old — from college students to seniors — to make sure they are registered to vote and participate in the election process.

As Senior Reporter Robert Houk reported in Sunday’s edition, Washington County residents can register to vote in person at the Washington County Election Commission in the county’s courthouse at 100 E. Main St. in Jonesborough. Check with your local election commission if you reside in another county.

You can also register to vote online at If it’s been a while since you voted, you can also check your registration status, update your address, verify your districts and more at that same site.

We hear a lot of reasons people do not vote — mainly because they think their vote will not count. It’s true that your vote may be drowned out by a vast majority in a particularly partisan community.

But if you opt out for that reason, think of how many others might be making the same mistake. Voting and encouraging others to do the same is the best way to effect change.

Please, if you have not registered or need to update your status, do so today. If you miss today’s deadline Aug. 6 election, you’ll still have the opportunity to register for the November election through Oct. 5, but why wait when you can participate now?



July 7

The Kingsport Times-News on candidates running for public office:

It’s that lovely time of year when everything is green. Gardens are producing nourishing, delicious vegetables. And politicians are blaring at us if we dare turn on broadcast, cable or satellite television.

Rarely have those seeking political office used their television spots to offer much of anything of substance, nor offered the tiniest reason you, dear voter, should cast a vote in their favor. Nope. It’s just a whole lot of “I” and “me” and hot air.

But local (or local-ish) candidates seeking federal office this year have managed, incredibly, to all sing the exact same tune and still offer no substance. Take any commercial from any Republican and Democratic candidate and you can pretty much just swap out the faces and voices, but the message remains the same.

Surely you’ve seen them. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have missed these 30 seconds of sameness, allow us to catch you up:

“I’m a conservative.”

“I’m a Christian.”

“Whatever President Trump wants, I want the same thing.” That’s paraphrased, but you get the idea.

There you go. You’re 100% caught up.

For Democrats, the tune goes like this:

“Donald Trump must go.”

You’re caught up with the message from the left.

Now don’t you feel educated about the candidates? Some of you are sadly nodding with affirmation. The rest just realized you don’t know squat about many of these candidates.

You don’t know where they stand on justice reform.

You don’t know where they stand on education.

You don’t know where they stand on addressing pressing infrastructure deficiencies.

You don’t know where they stand on Social Security/Medicaid/Medicare.

You don’t know how they would respond to a pandemic or other national/global health crisis.

The list of you-don’t-knows could go on for pages.

But let’s go back to the “Whatever President Trump wants, I want the same thing” drumbeat. Republican candidates are relying on that just a little much, we think. What if President Trump is defeated in November? What if you are elected, but your crutch is gone?

The same with the Democratic mantra of “Donald Trump must go.” What if Donald Trump wins re-election? Then what’s your plan?

To their credit, a couple of the candidates have used their print ad space to give us some substance. For that we are thankful.

But overall, video substance thus far has been virtually nil. Granted, we’ve never looked to 30-second spots for depth. Far from it. But when they’re so much alike that simply changing out faces would suffice, the entire field has an identity issue.

So come on, candidates. Throw us a bone. Offer us a nugget of something that distinguishes you from the field. Give us just one reason to vote for you. Is that too much to ask?



July 2

The Crossville Chronicle offers a message for the class of 2020:

Congratulations to the class of 2020!

We are so very proud of you and all you’ve accomplished to date — and we know you will continue to make Cumberland County proud as you move on to the next chapter in your lives.

It’s not been an easy road for the more than 480 graduates. Their senior year was unlike any we can recall. The COVID-19 health crisis interrupted plans and long-awaited celebrations.

Now, many of our young people are turning their attention to what comes next.

Some will continue on to school. They may seek an academic path at a community college or four-year university or select a career-focused education at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

Some will enter the military, committing to several years of service to their country.

Others will begin working.

They will all need perseverance and tenacity to make it over the bumps in the road ahead. But we have every confidence in them.

As we wish our new graduates well, we offer a few words of advice for what comes next.

Find a career that excites you and makes you want to get up and go to work most days. Talk with people in that field and get their perspective. Do your research on job opportunities. Look for fields that are growing.

Make time to give back to your community through service and volunteerism. It takes people who care about their world to make it a better world.

Manage your resources wisely. It’s much easier to start saving for your golden years early and to live within your means if you don’t accumulate a lot of debt early on.

Be sure to make time for fun.

As Baz Luhrmann said back in 1999, “The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

And always, always wear sunscreen.