Americans are more divided than at any time since the Civil War, but one thing we can seemingly all agree on is Dolly Parton. Now, as Associated Press reports, a Tennessee lawmaker has introduced a bill that would erect a statue of the Nashville legend standing on the grounds of the Capital building and facing the Ryman Auditorium — more popularly known as the Grand Ole Opry House.
Representative John Mark Windle, a Democrat, introduced the bill last Tuesday. It seeks to celebrate Parton “for all that she has contributed to this state.”
Philanthropy is one of the most dominant chords in Parton’s legend. Just recently, her Imagination Library gave away its 150 millionth book, she saved a nine-year-old’s life after pulling her out of a car’s path, showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and had her words turned into a mural, and gave a $1 million donation to fund COVID-19 research that helped successfully develop the Moderna vaccine.
“At this point in history, is there a better example, not just in America but in the world, of a leader that is [a] kind, decent, passionate human being?” Windle said. ”[She’s] a passionate person who loves everyone, and everyone loves her.”
The bill would solicit public input for its design and be funded by private donations rather than taxpayer dollars. But Windle was clear that he wants the statue oriented towards the Ryman Auditorium, which stands about four blocks from the Capitol.
If Tennessee lawmakers don’t find a way to honor Parton, they might join Barack Obama in regretting the inaction. Recently, the former president said he made a “mistake” in not bestowing upon her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. For her part, Parton is looking to the future, and she recently recorded a new song for a time capsule that won’t be opened until 2045.
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