If Republican voter suppression laws aren’t effective enough, they’ll just expel the people black voters elect. That’s what they’re doing in Tennessee.
Three members of the Tennessee legislature protested in the well of the House, demanding tougher gun laws in the wake of the March 7 shooting at Covenant School in Nashville that killed six. They interrupted the legislative session chanting, “No action, no peace.” They were found in violation of House rules of decorum and procedure. Their ID access to the capitol building was revoked and two of them were stripped of their committee assignments.
Two of the protesting members are young black men and one is an older white woman. Two of them were expelled from the legislature last night. Guess which two.
Justin Pearson and Justin Jones (no relation to me, I think) were kicked out of the legislature despite being duly-elected members. Now, about 200,000 Tennesseans, mostly black, are without representation in the state House. Gloria Johnson survived an attempt to expel her by one vote. She credited her survival to the color of her skin.
Tennessee Republicans suck at protecting their citizens from gun violence, but are great at saving them from Critical Race Theory, drag queens, and uppity-elected black men.
One Republican compared their protest to the January 6 insurrection and said it was worse. Republicans who actually aided that insurrection have NOT been expelled and are still in Congress proposing more insurrections. Some of them even got promoted to more prestigious committees despite being supporters of terrorists and despite being lunatics and morons.
Republicans also claim that prosecuting Donald Trump for breaking many many oh so many laws is political and an attempt to keep him from being president. Yet, here they are expelling black Democrats members AFTER they’ve been elected.
And, the only way Tennessee Republicans had the number of votes to do this is because of gerrymandering. Sure, Tennessee is a red state that Trump won with 60 percent of the vote in 2020, but Republicans control the House by three-quarters. Tennessee is red, but not as red as the House.
Republicans would rather expel elected black members of the legislature than do anything about school shootings, and from a previous ban they installed, it won’t be included in future school textbooks.
So what now for the two who have been expelled? They can run for their seats again in special elections. Their districts may even appoint them to temporarily fill their own vacancies. I hope they do that. I hope no Democrat runs against them in their primaries. I want to see these two young men back in the Tennessee legislature to show Republicans that they can not defy the will of the people.
This was a strict party-line vote. Only Republicans voted to expel these Democrats. This was entirely partisan. When one party starts removing duly-elected members of an opposing party, it’s fascism. And in this case, it’s also racism.
On Justin Pearson’s first day in the House, he wore a dashiki to honor his African heritage which he said that without, he never would have accomplished becoming a member of the state legislature. One of his Republican colleagues took to the floor to denounce the dashiki being worn in the House.
So, did they expel Pearson for the dashiki? Of course not. They expelled him and Justine Jones for being black.
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