If you think tonight's U.S. presidential debate is getting round-the-clock coverage in your neck of the woods, imagine what it's like if the debate is happening nine miles from your home. This debate logo is plastered on billboards all over Nashville, and the minute last Thursday's Palin-Biden debate ended, local news went from daily coverage of the Belmont Debate* to saturation coverage. Heck, I'm surprised Snowbird isn't the moderator.
It also means that Nashville is going to be seen on every news outlet for the entire day, and that's never any fun if you live here. Why? Because most of the time, it's an excuse for columnists, TV hosts and copy writers looking for an easy angle to whip out the most hackneyed tropes about our town being the capital of hillbilly doofusdom. For what it's worth, it doesn't matter to me if it's Fox News or The Daily Show doing it; it still rankles me. Today, when I read that right-wing shill and poor excuse for a country artist John Rich (you may know him from Big and Rich, lucky you if you don't) serenaded John McCain on CBS's Early Show this morning, I audibly sighed. This is exactly the kind of Hee Haw nonsense that Nashville doesn't need.
So rather than opine about the politicians or the debate itself, I'd rather use this space to let you know that Nashville is a great place to live, and is far more sophisticated than any way it's likely to be portrayed today or in the post-debate punditry. It may be the capital of a "red state" (god, I hate that "red state/blue state" taxonomy - did the news outlets hold a Council of Nicea in 1993 or something to regularize which party was red and which was blue? I swear, I remember the party/color correlation varying from network to network until then), sure, but Davidson County itself went for both quasi-native son Al Gore and purported Yankee elitist liberal John Kerry in the most recent presidential elections.
We have an opera and an Opry. We have a bazillion international dining options, a large and still-growing Hispanic population, an internationally acclaimed symphony, the greatest live rock band ever, and snowball-throwing polar bear statues:
(image taken from The Bridge & Tunnel Club because I'm
not risking motorcade traffic to go take a fresh pic myself)
It's not London or Paris or New York, but it's got enough of everything for me. Today it also has Barack Obama, John McCain, and millions of viewers, but keep in mind as you watch the festivities that you not only need to be sorting out truth from fiction when it comes to the candidates, you need to be doing the same thing with what you see and hear about Nashville.
*held at Nashville's own Belmont University, which was Belmont College when I moved here in '88, and was previously best known as That Formerly Baptist College That Vince Gill Is Always Donating To That Turns Out All Those Music Biz People. The "Battle of the Boulevard" referenced in my title is what the local press calls the basketball smackdowns between Belmont U. and their just-down-Belmont-Boulevard denominational-college neighbors, the Church of Christ's own David Lipscomb University.