Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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George W., Dr. Suess, Cormac, Clinton and Rush address weighty parking problem
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   04/26/2002)

In keeping with a short tradition, I've assembled a panel of experts to explore a vexing question of the day. "How serious is the parking problem in downtown Knoxville?"

George W. Bush: It is improssibable to over-extenuate the magnitude of this problem. Let me speak clearly. I expect the city fathers to give private enterprise the opportunicity to settle this issue with a substantial tax rebate to the richest men and women in Knoxville. Put money in the hands of private parking lot owners (and a few outside consultants--preferably from Florida or Texas) and parking spaces will descend on Knoxville like rain from the sky. At the least they'll trickle down. Again, we must be clear. I'm telling you to build more lots and if you don't, I'll send Colin Powell down there to tell you in person, and if that doesn't work I'll simply declare success and move on. Time's wasting.

Bill Clinton: To answer your question, it all depends on the meaning of the word "park." I'm not trying to be evasive. I feel your parking pain. Growing up in Hope, Arkansas, there were plenty of opportunities to park, but downtown was the last place you wanted to take your girlfriend after the ballgame or movie to go parking. For serious action I sometimes liked to drive out to this little ridge overlooking Lake Conway, about nine- and-three-quarter miles northeast of Little Rock. We called it "watching the submarine races." Some naive girls really thought that's what we were going to do, heh-heh, like they thought some kind of submarine base or something was out there at Lake Conway and sailors were racing the submarines around and around the lake. I remember one young lady telling me she could see their little periscopes moving around in circles out there on the water. Not that I ever laid a hand on that woman, ahem. So, tell your young people, I feel their pain, but when it comes to parking, there is no free ride. Not downtown anyway. Go out to some lover's lane instead.

Dr. Seuess: You cannot park to buy a coke./ You cannot park to have a smoke./ You cannot park to catch a train./ You cannot park there when it rains./ You cannot park to pay a bill./ You cannot park to eat your fill./ You cannot park without a fuss./ You cannot park to catch a bus./ You cannot park cars here or there./ You cannot park them anywhere./ So if you go, don't go by road./ The lots are full you silly toad.

The Rev. Billy Graham: Scriptures tell us, "Yea shalt thou build a mighty tower. And the length of this tower shall be 200 cubits and the breadth of it shall be 100 cubits and the height of it shall be 150 cubits, so that all who enter Knoxville from the East or from the West or from the North or from the South, and all who dwelleth roundabout, shall see it. And thou shalt carve a great arrow pointing to a gateway. For free parking is the gate that leadeth to prosperity for all who dwell roundabout. Until that cometh to pass it shall be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Knoxville... in a car." Thus it is written.

Cormac McCarthy: Now in the dusty clockless hours of the town when the streets lie barren and empty in the wake of tow trucks and meter maids. And now when the drunk and the car-less have washed up in the lee of walls in alleys and stand wall-eyed and rattling their keys in grim perimeters where lightware shadows make a gothic harp of cellar doors, no one may walk save you... and you... and you and you and you.

Rush Limbaugh: Only a left-wing neo-communist environmental wacko would complain about lack of parking in Knoxville. The problem is solved if Mayor Ashe has the courage to cut down every tree in Knoxville and replace each one with a parking space. There are enough little dogwoods and redbuds and decorative pear trees taking up space in this town to provide parking for the post office, federal building and library combined if the mayor will get off his duff and do something. I know the mayor's a Republican, but he's clearly in cahoots with the tree-huggers. Why else would he spend all winter waving his arms around and carrying on about "a penny for parks." How about "Chop down a tree and park for free?" There's a slogan that might catch on. Let people make their own parking spaces. They could carry chainsaws in their trunks. Cut down a few trees and we might get a view of all those social service and welfare buildings taking up space. There's no shortage of parking if you know where to look. Start with the trees.