It’s a dark time for the city of Nashville. Mayor Megan Barry is out after admitting to a first-time felony.
The now-former mayor resigned from her post Tuesday and pleaded guilty to theft of more than $10,000. The misdoings came as a result of an internal investigation following an admitted affair.
For me, it’s sort of a relief to see Barry go. It’s been a long, bumpy and very awkward road since the mayor admitted to having an affair with her longtime police security guard earlier this year. Even as someone who’s supported her in the past, I thought resignation may still have been the best option available.
The damage Barry caused to her relationship with the city was and is irreversible. The people of Nashville are surprisingly still supportive, but the selfishly motivated abuse of taxpayer dollars was too much for Barry to continue in her current position. The city can finally move on.
While I admire Barry’s narrow focus and her attempts to put her agenda above her dirty laundry, taking her seriously became a challenge following news of the affair. It’s hard to trust a person, even if they have great plans for the city, knowing nude photos of them were consensually taken with a government-issued smartphone.
Last week, the Tennessean‘s lead editorial writer released a piece demanding Barry’s resignation, saying she should “put the interests and the needs of the people she serves above her own.”
The entire situation has basically been this meme:
In the end, the mayor’s demise seems a fitting punishment. Some may say she’s getting off too easily, but many of these critics will be out-of-staters with no stake in the politics of Tennessee’s largest city.
Besides resigning from her position in shame, the now-former mayor is required to reimburse the city $11,000, with three years of unsupervised probation, which she can later have removed from her criminal record.
Is this just a slap on the wrist? Perhaps, but the public humiliation accompanying the direct punishment, as well as the invalidation of Barry’s political legacy, is in itself a steep price to pay.
I accept the meager court-ordered punishment for Barry. She’s been open throughout the investigation process and, ultimately, was willing to step aside when the situation became unmanageable.
That’s more than I can say for some. Let’s not forget that, while Barry has resigned in disgrace, other American politicians credibly accused of far worse crimes remain firmly in their seats of power.
Megan Barry got what she deserved. Much like the former mayor, President Donald Trump and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens are also under investigation. If the chips don’t fall their way, will these men willingly abdicate their power? ■