“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”

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.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    If people talk like fascists, act like fascists and walk like fascists…

  2. billseymour says

    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).

  3. says

    It is in the nature of authoritarians to not know when to stop. They will push and push until everything comes down on them.

  4. 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!

  5. stuffin says

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. microraptor says

    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.

  8. nomuse says

    “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?

  9. says

    Just to make their injustice even more cartoonishly garish, of course they evicted the two black troublemakers and left the white woman alone.

    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.)

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    I do wonder what happens next.

    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.

  11. says

    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.

  12. robro says

    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…

    How long a person can expect to live is one of the most fundamentally revealing facts about a country, and here, in the richest country in the world, the answer is not just bleak but increasingly so. Americans are now dying younger on average than they used to, breaking from all global and historical patterns of predictable improvement. They are dying younger than in any peer countries, even accounting for the larger impact of the pandemic here. They are dying younger than in China, Cuba, the Czech Republic or Lebanon.

    You may think this problem is a matter of 70-year-olds who won’t live to see 80 or perhaps about the so-called deaths of despair among white middle-aged men. These were the predominant explanations five years ago, after the country’s longevity statistics first flatlined and then took a turn for the worse — alone among wealthy nations in the modern history of the world.

    But increasingly the American mortality anomaly, which is still growing, is explained not by the middle-aged or elderly but by the deaths of children and teenagers. One in 25 American 5-year-olds now won’t live to see 40, a death rate about four times as high as in other wealthy nations. And although the spike in death rates among the young has been dramatic since the beginning of the pandemic, little of the impact is from Covid-19. Over three pandemic years, Covid-19 was responsible for just 2 percent of American pediatric and juvenile deaths.

    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.

  13. wzrd1 says

    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.

  14. dstatton says

    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.

  15. StevoR says

    @ ^ dstatton : Hmm .. Name is familiar but lessee :

    Nathan Bedford Forrest (July 13, 1821 – October 29, 1877) was a prominent Confederate Army general during the American Civil War and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan from 1867 to 1869. Before the war, Forrest amassed substantial wealth as a cotton plantation owner, horse, and cattle trader, real estate broker, and slave trader. …(snip).. In April 1864, in what has been called “one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history”,[5] troops under Forrest’s command at the Battle of Fort Pillow massacred hundreds of troops, composed of black soldiers and white Tennessean Southern Unionists fighting for the United States, who had already surrendered. Forrest was blamed for the slaughter in the U.S. press, and this news may have strengthened the United States’s resolve to win the war.

    Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Bedford_Forrest

  16. 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.

  17. Erp says

    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.

  18. says

    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.