Roy Exum: Dave Writes A Check

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

For over 50 years there have been scamps, scalawags, and out-and-out crooks who have carefully guarded secrets that they didn’t want me to know about and I’m alright with that. Eventually the truth always comes out. But if I was a bum I wouldn’t want folks to know about my “bumminess,” would you? Conversely, what makes me maddest is when athletes, preachers, women of distinction, or others who are noble don’t want me to find good stuff out because I’ll write it and then they are scorned because the vultures will twist it to fit their agendas.

Sleazy reporters turn it into ‘fake news’ with the sole intent to embarrass or tarnish the good deed, or something else that really matters. There is a growing number of people who believe if something doesn’t stink, create scandal, or berate a public figure,it's not worth writing. The days are long gone since something good is included in the news of the day.

All of this is to say I slipped around the other day and discovered what was promised to be a secret. It seems a man we’ll call “Dave” was born so poor he couldn’t afford enough dirt to put under his finger nails. I’m talking serious hardscrabble. The story is told that not until he joined the Marines his future had little promise and the Marines was his only try. But as it has done with millions, the Corps straightened up his back, put purpose in his step and outfitted Dave with the guts to not just say but to solemnly vow ‘Semper Fidelis’ (Latin for the Marine motto “Always Faithful.”)

Later came the day when he was one of four who signed a signature note with sweating hands for $75,000. They didn’t know at the time how they were ever going to make the payments but each had the drive, the Marine-type guts, and the spirit to make a pretty good go of it – I’ll say! Between 2013 and 2018 Dave and his wife had taxable income of $78.6 million. Better put, it doesn’t exactly bother them to pay taxes on earnings and they are able to do a lot of good things for those in need and their community.

It has been learned that Dave got wind of a Medal of Honor Museum that is being built in Chattanooga to honor our greatest heroes. The old Marine know all about Mr. Charles Coolidge and how he earned “The Medal” over a four-day span in German-held France on Hill 623.  And he saw the movie ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ about how Desmond Doss wouldn’t carry a rifle due to his strong religious beliefs but single-handedly saved upwards of a 100 wounded GIs at Okinawa.

Oh, Dave heard about it alright and without being asked, he wrote a hefty check to help us honor Dave’s heroes. The check? All I am going to share is that it was for six figures … and the first digit was not a “1.”

Get this straight and pray it isn’t sullied cheap. Dave’s last name is Black and his wife, Diane, is currently the front-runner to become Tennessee’s next Governor. I’m smart enough to know this wasn’t a leak. This was from a Marine named Dave. He’s going to be mad I let the secret slip but, trust me, many, many more are going to be glad.

Patriotism runs strong in the Black family. General B.B. Bell is far and away one of the most respected men I have ever known and he dropped me a note after I wrote a deserved column about the Congressman (she won’t allow Congresswoman) not long ago. General Bell has endorsed Diane and --- trust me – B.B. doesn’t suffer fools gladly. What ‘til he finds out what Dave just did. Lordy.

While we are on the subject … Clay Travis has a great website called “Out Kick the Coverage” and I read it pretty much every day. Back in March, he allowed Diane Black to be a guest columnist and see how you like her offering:

* * *

WHY I RETURNED MY NFL TICKETS

By Congressman Diane Black, Republican Gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee

When the National Football League’s Oilers moved from Houston to Nashville, my husband Dave and I were first in line for season tickets. Sports have always been an important part of our lives, and having an NFL team in our city was a dream come true.

We love going to the Titans games – spending Sunday afternoons with family and fellow Tennesseans, as well as opposition fans that we politely welcome to our city before watching their team crumble under the weight of a superior team and a superior fan base.

That’s why I was so disappointed to see the NFL and its players disrespect our flag and our anthem during this last season. When Dave and I first saw these protests, we made a decision. We decided that our season tickets would remain in a drawer all season and our seats would remain empty. We didn’t attend or watch a single NFL game this season.

Every American has the right to protest and to avail themselves of the right to free speech outlined in the 1st Amendment. But just because we have the right to do something doesn’t mean we should.

Every time I stand, put my hand on my heart and join thousands of my fellow citizens in the singing of our national anthem, I get choked up.

I think about my husband Dave, who served in the Marines and fought on the ground in Vietnam. I think about my father, who fought in World War II. I think about my son Steve, who served in the Persian Gulf War.

And I think about the millions of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers who have fought throughout our history to protect the values espoused in our anthem and represented by our flag.

Supporters of these protests claim that those kneeling are not protesting the flag or the anthem or the troops, but rather are protesting the treatment of minorities by our law enforcement.

Let’s address this briefly. First, if the protests aren’t about the flag, the anthem or the troops, then why are they occurring during the singing of the national anthem, which honors our flag and our troops?

The quarterback who instigated the protests, Colin Kaepernick, was candid in his intent. He said “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” His protest was of the flag itself, because he believes that the flag represents oppression.

I reject that. The flag represents the freedom we have in this country – freedom unlike any country in the history of the world. Freedom that was earned in blood and sweat and sacrifice. Freedom that demands respect.

Second, there have certainly been incidents of improper actions in law enforcement. But these situations do not justify the generic demonization of hard-working, dedicated police officers across the country.

The men and women in law enforcement wake up every morning and risk their lives for our safety. They go to work knowing that there’s a chance they may not make it home that night.

These are people worth honoring, not insulting. And that’s the message the American people sent to the NFL this fall. Television ratings for the league were down almost 10% over last season, and stadiums around the country sat half empty, even during the playoffs. This will continue until the NFL shows us that it has heard our voice.

For now, my family has decided that we’ll spend Sunday afternoons fishing instead of attending Titans games. And that will continue until the NFL and its players show due respect for The Star Spangled Banner that waves for the land of the free and the home of the brave.

We are sending a package to the Titans this week to let them know. Along with a letter explaining why we won’t renew our tickets, we will send them back the unused tickets from last season.

If you agree and want to support our troops and police, we hope you will find your own way to make your voice heard with us. The people who defend us deserve our thanks.

* * *

For the record, my love for sports is as strong as it was before I wrote my first story over 50 years ago but I’ll admit it; I haven’t watched an NFL game since Colin Kaepernick took his first knee.

DISCLAIMER: This is not an advertisement, an “info-mercial” nor an endorsement for Diane Black. But I strongly believe this is stuff you need to know.

royexum@aol.com


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