A Tennessee lawmaker has made a proposal to erect a statue of Dolly Parton on the state’s capitol. The proposal calls for the creation of a Dolly Parton fund to pay for the statue and would allow her fans, family and supportive businesses to contribute to the landmark.
“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?” state Rep. John Windle (D) said after introducing the proposal.
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Parton is “a passionate person who loves everyone, and everyone loves her,” Windle says. “She has contributed so much and sacrificed so much of her time to so many great causes.”
This is not the first proposal to suggest giving the star entertainer and philanthropist recognition for her beloved image. In 2019, while discussions on replacing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest — a Confederate Army and Ku Klux Klan member — took place, Parton was suggested.
“How about getting a lady in there… what’s wrong with someone like Dolly Parton being put in that alcove?” said state Rep. Jeremy Faison (R).
Ultimately, the bust of Forrest was voted for removal by the state House of Representatives, but the Tennessee Historic Commission has the final stay and still has the issue under consideration.
Meanwhile, Parton is being considered for a memorial in Nashville all on her own merit.
Windle says he has not spoken to the “Jolene” singer about his initiative, as “the only connection that Dolly Parton and I have is that we are both hillbillies,” he quipped.
Parton already has one landmark statue located in Sevierville, TN, in front of the town’s courthouse. This one would be on the state capitol grounds and face Ryman Auditorium, a historical venue in Nashville that Parton has performed at.
Parton provided some of the few bright moments to come out of 2020. When the pandemic started, she created an online book reading for over two months that would provide kids “a welcomed distraction during a time of unrest.”
“There’s a strong argument that America should give up the whole ‘democracy’ thing as a bad idea now, and just make Dolly Parton queen of everything,” music critic Simon Price said in November.
During an appearance on The Late Show late last year, former President Barack Obama told host Stephen Colbert that his failure to give country music singer and LGBTQ icon the Presidential Medal of Freedom was a “screw up” and that he would “call Biden” to fix it.
Parton revealed that she gave a million dollars to help fund research behind one of the vaccines for the coronavirus. She gave the large donation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, specifically for coronavirus research. They eventually helped develop the Moderna-produced vaccine that has become widely available.
Moderna announced that their vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing transmission and credited Parton in a report, saying the research was supported by the “Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund (Vanderbilt University Medical Center).”
Parton also made her stance clear on Black Lives Matter protests: “Of course Black lives matter,” Parton said when asked about racial justice following the death of George Floyd. “Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”
She even changed business names to remove ‘dixie’ from the titles after realizing some people were offended by the word. “When they said ‘Dixie’ was an offensive word, I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want to offend anybody. This is a business. We’ll just call it ‘The Stampede.’
“As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumbass. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.”
In 2016, Parton told Larry King that she gets pushback from Christian fans about her support of LGBTQ people. But, rather than dance around the issue, she said she calls them out on their un-Christian attitudes and behaviors.
“I keep saying, ‘If you’re the fine Christian that you think you are, why are you judging people?’ That’s God’s job,” she explained.
“I still get threats,” Parton told Nightline last year. “But like I said, I’m in business. I just don’t feel like I have to explain myself. I love everybody.”