Above: Bill Russell opening the Meet the Candidates event May 16, 2016.
The folksy gathering was held in an ultra rural vicinity of Polk County aptly named Reliance. This locality has long been a place where eagles have been gathering in response to the subtle leading of the Spirit of God. Retired military veteran and dedicated Christian believer Bill Russell moderated the gathering which was orchestrated under the auspices of the Springtown Community Support Group. Five qualified candidates were in attendance...a republican primary challenger to the incumbent, Geoff Smith; two democrats vying to be their party's standard bearer in November; and two independents: Topher Kersting and Rick Tyler.
Kersting is a Kansas native who circuitously made his way to Chattanooga 17 years ago by way of Wisconsin. He self-identifies as a centrist, specializing in being "A candidate who doesn't think outside the box–he refuses to believe the box exists." He is intelligent, sincere and writes well in his blog (https://topherforcongress.wordpress.com/). He seems to epitomize the profile of the contemporary American who lacks that foundational epistemological and presuppositional understanding that would allow the giant tapestry of understanding to morph into tight focus and resolution. Remember the old analog TV sets with their fine tuning knob? Remember how a slight and proper adjustment could bring that erratic chaos on the screen into instant clarity and focus? Pray that Topher and countless others will be successful in the journey toward greater insight and understanding. Interestingly, Kersting has now posted a critique of Rick's positions and candidacy. In so doing, he reveals a significant manifestation of cognitive dissonance. In other words, despite his glaring ignorance relative to virtually everything he renders commentary about, he unmistakably comes across as believing himself to be knowledgeable and authoritative. A good starting point for him would be to realize that saying it is so doesn't make it so. Error and falsehood are simply that, regardless of how sincere their purveyor might be. Topher's inaccuracies and misstatements are so numerous as to require a lengthy and detailed rebuttal. God willing, we will find time for just such an exercise in the near future. Meanwhile, back to our synopsis of the May 16th event.
As the meeting unfolded each candidate was given five minutes to speak and introduce themselves to the crowd assembled. Among the four candidates other than Rick, Geoff Smith provided the most inspiring and motivational presentation. He didn't hesitate to make clear his antipathy toward such policies as the funding of the ghoulish Planned Parenthood Organization...support of which was included in the federal spending bill voted for by incumbent Fleischmann in late 2015.
As the final speaker, Rick distinguished himself from the other candidates by delivering a rousing mini speech emphasizing the importance of the restoration of the Holy Bible (God's word) as the only hope for making America great again! On a few occasions, Tyler's presentation was punctuated with spontaneous applause and, at the end of the formal portion of the event he was quickly surrounded by those who were inspired and moved by his words. One older gentleman, while vigorously shaking Rick's hand, expressed the warning that, "They're going to kill you." Rick's response to this concerned individual was expressed as follows: "If everyone in the world wants you dead but God wants you alive, you'll be alive...and if everyone in the world wants you alive and God wants you dead...you'll be dead."