Credentials can get you through the door, but they don’t indicate much more than that. Senator Doctor Colonel Richard Briggs, M.D., is evidence of the “credentialed” phenomenon. Leaning on his veteran status here and his doctor status there, the one thing that is certain about Briggs is that you’ll hear about why he is qualified to opine on some topic because of the two letters (or three, or other three) he doubtlessly affixes to the front of his name at every opportunity. While most serious medical professionals not named Fauci carefully monitored Wuhan in February 2020, Briggs–a Republican representing District 7 in Knox County–spent the winter advocating for legislation that would ban the use of plastic bags in Tennessee bringing a touch of California compliance to the Volunteer State. When single-use plastics became an effective public health tool weeks later, Briggs never acknowledged his misstep; instead he spent the early days of the pandemic telling the press that lives matter more than freedoms as headlines touted his surgeon status while physicians opposing such views like Briggs’s colleague Senator Joey Hensley found their credentials scrutinized or discredited. As mask mandates ramped up, the Good Doctor/Soldier/Scholar regularly expounded on their constitutionality. Who knew rubbing a medical degree with a military rank led to an instant J.D.?
Tone deaf on yet another issue, Briggs has spent this session pivoting to supporting now-dead bills that allow schools to treat and vaccinate minors for STD’s without parental consent. Once again, Briggs has allowed his alleged expertise to overshadow his oath, cementing his reputation as a local politician who either ignores or lectures his constituents who dare dissent. Fortunately, Kent Morrell, a prominent patients’ rights advocate, completed an application to primary the oracle of East Tennessee last week. It's time for Knox County to bag Briggs and replace him with a candidate who’d rather build street cred than pronounce directives from on high.