It’s so easy to turn the TV on nowadays and just immediately get discouraged and depressed by everything that’s going on in the world.

It humors me to think there is some poor fool waking up this morning by a big lake somewhere out deep in the woods with no cellphone or laptop computer and he has no idea how scared and discouraged he is supposed to be feeling right now. It seems like even on our best days, lately we seem to just always try to find some reason to worry about something.

I don’t think anyone can deny we are living in a troubling time. It’s not only nationally, but on a global scale we are seeing people struggle to find a way forward on a variety of important issues. We, as a nation, are dealing with the effects of a sagging economy, the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 and the polarization of a national election all rolled into one.

It gets discouraging to me when I talk to people and everything during the entire conversation is of a negative and pessimistic outlook. I want to take a moment to make a couple observations that I think are important for our community specifically, and hopefully create a dialogue that is productive and has the intent of finding positive solutions.

I was talking to a friend the other day and I made the observation that, at least at this moment, it looks as if the two U.S. Senate races in Georgia are going to have a very large impact on our national policies over the next four years. Depending on how this election plays out, we could have potentially the same situation we had before with a Republican president, Republican controlled Senate, and Democrat controlled House.

Or, just as likely it seems, we could have Democrats controlling the White House, the House, and a Republican controlled Senate. Or, it’s just as possible that we have Democrats controlling all three legislative branches of government. Right now, we are all just waiting and watching to see how it plays out. The difference between those governing practices are drastic, to say the least.

The point I was making with this friend was that we are so fortunate to live where we live, especially during a time like this. I couldn’t look at a map and point to any other place in this country that is better situated (or insulated) to endure whatever national policy changes may be coming our way. It was obvious on election night that Tennessee is one of the strongest red states in the country.

Most major news outlets had the state of Tennessee called by 8:30 on election night. I am very proud of that. The reason we are able to continue to vote as a state for conservative policies is because we have elected officials that share the same strong conservative values that the vast majority of us here in Tennessee share.

Starting with Gov. Bill Lee and our U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander/Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn, to our U.S. Reps. Tim Burchett and Chuck Fleischmann, we are represented on the national level by some of the strongest conservatives in the party today. These men and women go to work every single day and tirelessly uphold the values and principles that Tennesseans have stood on for generations.

These men and women come to our communities and sit at our dinner tables, they take our calls and stand in line with us to vote. They take note of the positions of their constituents and then they take that information to Washington and work on our behalf so that we can worry about the real important things: like how we raise our families, how we build our businesses, how we shape our communities, and how we worship our God.

We could get off into the weeds on this policy or that policy, but the point I am trying to make is this: We should be thankful each and every day that we were blessed to live in a place where things like family, community and freedom are still cornerstones of our existence. We live in a place that values the sanctity of human life, a place that allows everyone an opportunity to get a good education, a place that still comes together to support our neighbors during a time of need.

My heart runs over with pride when I think about our county and the great people that live here. I have seen with my own two eyes time and time again neighbors coming together to help neighbors. Church members gathering car loads of food for families that have lost loved ones and schools having coat drives to clothe our less fortunate. I made the comment some years ago that “If you wanted to see the best of humanity, come to Monroe County after a tornado or flood has come through.” The power of love and sense of community is stronger here than any other place I know.

I am truly honored to serve this community and I know that no matter what is going on in Portland, or Chicago, or New York City, or anywhere else for that matter, that here in Monroe County, Tennessee, we will always come together and meet any challenge we are faced with, together as a community.

I assert that we will never be ashamed of our support for the Constitution of the United States, we will never be ashamed to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag, we will never be ashamed to say we support our police, firefighters, and first responders, we will never be ashamed to stand and say that we are proud to be “One Nation Under God”…

And I avow that in Monroe County we will never give in to any other form of government than an elected democracy.

I am humbled and I am honored to serve as your mayor and I will always stand for the principles and values that make this the greatest county in all the 50 states.

I truly believe that.

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Mitch Ingram is the mayor of Monroe County

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