Republicans are even more stupid and short-sighted than I thought. In Tennessee, the Republicans totally dominate the legislature, they have all the power, and they couldn’t resist the temptation to use that power to brutally squash even the vestiges of influence the Democrats have.
The Republican-led Tennessee House voted Thursday to expel two Democratic lawmakers who halted proceedings last week to join protesters demanding gun-control legislation after a mass killing.
In a historic act of partisan retaliation, the chamber voted 72-25 to oust Rep. Justin Jones (D), a 27-year-old community organizer elected in November to represent part of Nashville, and 69-26 to expel Rep. Justin Pearson (D) of Memphis. Republicans did not have enough votes to remove Rep. Gloria Johnson (D), a former teacher from Knoxville who lost a student to gun violence.
They were protesting the inaction of the legislature in response to the Covenant School murders, in which three nine-year old children and three adults were killed. The Republicans are so determined to do nothing that they finally did something, by throwing out the few activists they had.
Just to make their injustice even more cartoonishly garish, of course they evicted the two black troublemakers and left the white woman alone. Tennessee, can you be any more blatant?
At least the charges were revealing.
Republicans in the House filed the resolutions Monday to oust Jones, Johnson and Pearson, saying the three lawmakers “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor” to the House.
The only dishonor here is the action of cowardly Republicans who not only expelled the people who criticized them, but then proceeded to ignore the problem of gun violence in their state. Apparently, the most honorable people in the legislature were Jones, Pearson, and Johnson, and the Republicans moved decisively to silence them.
I do wonder what happens next. The Tennessee Three will be a focus of a growing activism in the state, but let’s get real: the racists who elected a swarm of fascists to the legislature are going to be happy with their actions, and we’re also going to see a growing conservative resistance.
They’re probably building a Death Star already.
If people talk like fascists, act like fascists and walk like fascists…
I think I remember reading somewhere that the actual rule that they broke was about approaching the podium without permission, or something like that.
OK, they also made a big show of it; but unlike in school shootings, nobody got hurt. But then we already knew what Republicans really care about, and it’s not about kids getting shot (no matter how often they lie and say that it is).
It is in the nature of authoritarians to not know when to stop. They will push and push until everything comes down on them.
Matt G says
From the party that wants to impeach Judge Protasiewicz…before she even takes office. Are we prosecuting future crimes now? Pretty dystopian, repubs!
The Tennesse Republican House protected their super majority but nine year children have no protection against being shot by a military assault weapon. So brave.
Doc Bill says
Tennessee, what a flaccid state! Don’t even know how to do nothing right.
Now, here in Texas we are the champions of indifference. Nineteen kids and two teachers gunned down with FOUR HUNDRED Walmart Rambos standing around in a cluster, doing the cluster thing. And almost a year later … nothing. No changes. The same FOUR HUNDRED goons still employed by the Office of Public Thuggery. Nobody from the Governor down gives a rat’s ass. But, hey, they got things to do, kids to harass, women to persecute, accountability to dodge, funds to raise. Business as usual.
Hang on, I spoke too soon. The legislature did make it easier to buy a handgun. So, that’s something I guess.
As one comment I saw put it, Tennessee managed to make ejecting two state representatives look worse than ejecting three.
This should serve as a wakeup call to the entire nation. It won’t, but it should.
“Gentlemen, no fighting! This is the War Room!”
Best line was the fellow who “chastised” the dissenters with “I’ve been working on this for 27 years!” Yeah, made a lot of progress, did you, buddy?
SC (Salty Current) says
She wasn’t expelled, but they did lie about her actions, subject her to a ridiculous interrogation, and come (I think) within one vote of expelling her. She said on MSNBC this morning that they also turned off her badge and opener for the parking garage even prior to the vote, which haven’t been reactivated after the resolution to expel her failed, leaving her unable even to retrieve her scooter from the garage. She still doesn’t have access to the building. This seems very illegal. She also said that, in contrast, within three minutes of the votes to expel Jones and Pearson, they were removed from the web site, so plainly none of this is careless or accidental.
(Describing what the legislature has been like, she noted that the Republicans gerrymandered her block out of her district, so she had to move a mile away from where she had lived for 30 years in order to run in 2022.)
Akira MacKenzie says
The capitalist media will play this story for its 15 minutes of outrage before everyone rolls back over and falls asleep. This will be forgotten in a week. The only people who’ll complain are amongst leftists–some of whom will write off the protests as “performative.” Meanwhile, the right will play the protests off as the Democrat’s Jan 6 insurrection proving just how dangerous and hypocritical.
The American people, a collection of particularly shitty people out of a shitty species, will side with the right if they are even aware of this story at all.
There are 25 Democrats there including the two the Rethuglican fascists expelled because they dared to protest against their bastardy. My suggestion: the Democrats continue the fight at the next sitting by rejecting the expulsion and escorting the two back into the chamber and disrupting proceedings until democracy or what passes for it is restored.
Mike the Mad Biologist has something to say about the expulsion.
Speaking of capitalist media, an opinion piece by journalist David Wallace-Wells appears in the NY Times this morning: It’s Not ‘Deaths of Despair.’ It’s Deaths of Children.
Here are the opening paragraphs…
Sadly the folks, riled up by politicians and their rich bankers, will never acknowledge this and go on clutching their AR-15s and their misread Second Amendment.
Eject my representative over first amendment expression and redress of grievances, be greeted the following day with an Ordinance of Secession for my county/district.
And start a move to halt all state tax monies from moving into revenue’s purses from said district/county.
Escalate as needed, since we’re into taxation without representation. I seem to recall a war being fought over that very thing.
geezer septuagenarian says
You ban books, you ban drag
kids are still in body bags.
When Johnson was asked why she was spared, she said, “Because I’m a 60 year old white woman.”
Fun fact: Tennessee still observes Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.
@ ^ dstatton : Hmm .. Name is familiar but lessee :
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Bedford_Forrest
Marcus Ranum says
There are 2 military bases in TN. If I were president, I’d close one, immediately. Give them a year to contemplate whether they want the other closed too.
The Tennessee constitution allows their local district legislatures to appoint a temporary representative while waiting for the special election. Nothing prohibits the expelled representative (solely for being expelled) from running in the special election (or probably being appointed by the district legislature), and, according to the constitution, if re-elected, they cannot be expelled again for the original offense.
Apparently Nashville which is Jones’ district is going to try to do that (and hoping for Monday evening to get him in as interim). Same may happen in Shelby County (Memphis) which has Pearson’s district.
One wonders if these yobbos† have ever heard of anything called “proportionality.” Silly intermediate steps like a resolution of censure (like their US Senator famously did to a Senator from Massachusetts who nevertheless persisted in intemperate speech). Or like a ruling from the parliamentarian on whether the “offending individuals'” conduct actually interfered with consideration of any business properly on the floor at the time of the event — you know, sort of like an “indictment.” Or…
Never mind. These would-be tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood wouldn’t last 45 minutes in an officer training program. Not even for the Navy. Hint: There’s a difference between “leadership” and “bullying.”
† Which is exactly what they are: “Fans” of Millwall FC in the 1980s, renowned throughout Europe for their violence, their ignorance, and their bigotry — the very definition of “football hooligan.” That the ignorance extended to just about everything in football that might not have been familiar to Vinnie Jones and Paul Gascoigne matches the Tennesee House’s competence at “governance” on all appearances, too.
PBS Newshour had some good commentary on this earlier this arvo – Aussie time :