Place of honor for Shaw with relatives of Akilah Dasilva. Photo by Wade Payne/The Tennessean
A sweet, small, symbolic bit of schadenfreude this weekend when Nashville officials booted foul-mouthed, hard-drinking, has-been redneck and Trump supporter Kid Rock from his position as Grand Marshall of the city's annual Christmas parade, replacing him with James Shaw Jr., who saved lives last year when he confronted a shooter at a local Waffle House, instantly became a real-life hero to many, and obviously should have had the gig in the first place. Rock, who's actually rich-kid-who-never-grew-up Robert Richie from a Detroit suburb, was disinvited after he mouthed off during an interview at his Nashville bar with Fox's Steve Doocy, urging people to lighten up and forget all the political correctness nonsense: "God forbid you say something a little bit wrong, you're racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, this that and another," he said. "I would say, 'love everybody,' except screw that Joy Behar bitch.” Behar is a comedian, co-host of ABC's "The View," and fierce critic of Trump.
Doocy rushed to apologize for the profanity, which was striking given that most of what they air is profane - "unholy, heathen...characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles." Still, city officials were unhappy: the mayor said he would be "inclined not to participate" if Rock was there and a councilman said he “evokes neither the spirit of Christmas nor the inclusivity (of) the best of Nashville.” When organizers yanked him, Rock's response was as classy as ever: He doubled down on his right to be no-talent douchebag who once gleefully besmirched the White House with low-life pals Ted Nugent and Sarah Palin, and his bar co-owner, who donated a chunk of cash to the parade, threatened to sue to get it back. In the end, a smiling James Shaw led the parade, riding in a horse-drawn carriage with relatives of Akilah Dasilva, one of the shooting victims, and declaring, "It warms the heart to be here." He was widely celebrated on social media as a role model, an inspiration and "the best of America," which might even be starting to raise the bar a bit.