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Republican Wants to Replace KKK Statue With Dolly Parton

Republican Wants to Replace KKK Statue With Dolly Parton

Yes to all this.

In these divided times, there's nothing that unites our broken nation like a shared love of country music's grand dame.

This week Jeremy Faison -- a Republican lawmaker in Tennessee -- suggested a bust of Dolly Parton replace a statue of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest that has sat on the state capitol ground since 1978.

Forrest is a controversial figure even by the standards of Southern war figures. In addition to being responsible for slaughtering Black soldiers in the Fort Pillow massacre in 1864, he was one of the first grand wizards of the Ku Klux Klan -- presiding over the white supremacist terror organization from 1867 to 1869.

According to The Tennesseean, Faison suggested the memorial be replaced with a tribute to a woman, pointing out that all of the eight alcoves in the capitol building are currently occupied by white men. He named Parton as a possible substitute.

"[I can] think of 100 other people deserving of that post," he said, adding: "My daughter is 16, and I would love for her to come into the Capitol and see a lady up there. What's wrong with [women's suffragette] Anne Dallas Dudley getting in that alcove? What's wrong with someone like Dolly Parton being put in that alcove?"

Parton, one of the few American figures beloved by both liberals and conservatives alike, would be nothing if not a canny pick. The 73-year-old entertainer is a local hero and has often talked about growing up in a small cabin in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee in her music. Her kitschy theme park Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire country.

Faison, who represents District 11 in the Tennessee House of Representatives, said he "fundamentally" rejects the idea that his suggestion is about political correctness or "whitewashing history." He wants the Forrest statute to be moved to a museum, where it can be properly contextualized.

"If we want to preserve history, then let's tell it the right way," he said.

Parton, who just released a well-received Netflix special, has yet to respond to the idea, but despite the universal, bipartisan love for Dolly, the suggestion is unlikely to gain much traction in a legislature dominated by religious conservatives. Whether or not her statue ever sees the light of day, one thing is for sure: It would be the bustiest bust Tennessee has ever seen.

RELATED | Dolly Parton Told Us How Many Wigs She Actually Owns

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