Something Is Rotten In The State Of Tennessee

There was a lot of airtime taken up this week by the arrest and arraignment of TFG, and I’ll (eventually) have some thoughts about that. But in the meantime, there is a real-time threat to democracy underway here in the US, and the TFG hoopla is providing cover for these authoritarians.

Last week’s mass shooting at The Covenant School sparked a demonstration on March 30 at the Tennessee state house. Three state representatives–Gloria Johnson, D-Knox, Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, and Justin Jones, D-Nashville—protested with the protestors in the chamber:

Last week, Jones, Johnson and Pearson brought a House session to a halt during the protests.

Jones, who held a sign that read “Protect kids, not guns” while on the House floor Thursday, led the crowd on the chamber balcony in a chant, shouting “No action, no peace!” into a megaphone.

On Thursday, crowds flooded the capitol to urge lawmakers to address gun violence. People of all ages — including children “from strollers to high school,” according to Johnson — attended the protest, packing the rotunda and overflowing outside the building.

“Nashville is speaking right now, loudly and clearly,” Johnson said during a video she took of the crowd. “They want gun sense legislation in Tennessee.”

During the session that day, she, Jones and Pearson stood on the House floor. After Jones led the first chant with those in the gallery, Pearson spoke through the megaphone about gun violence and began chanting “Enough is enough.”

“There comes a time when you have to do something out of the ordinary,” Jones tweeted Thursday. He added that the lawmakers “could not go about business as usual as thousands were protesting outside demanding action.”

In response, on Monday the Tennessee House Republicans voted on an expedited schedule to expel all 3 of them from the legislature.

Yes, you read that right:  3 legislators brought attention to the need for tighter gun laws in the city that 3 days earlier had seen a mass shooting, and this affronted the white majority party that they decided not to censure the legislators, or to strip them of their committee assignments (although that was done)—to expel them.

This is some bullshit, right? It’s obviously taxpayer-funded fascism at work. But according to Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton, the Tennessee Three committed a very serious offense:

Pearson and other Democrats attempted to acknowledge the large group of protesters during session, but were told to stick to the subject of the bill by Speaker Cameron.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton said their actions were more than a breach of decorum, comparing it to the January 6th insurrection in remarks to outlets.

“Two of the members; Representative Jones and Representative Johnson, have been very vocal about Jan. 6 and Washington, D.C., about what that was,” said Sexton. “What they did today was equivalent, at least equivalent, maybe worse depending on how you look at it, to doing an insurrection in the State Capitol.”

Sexton warned that there will likely be consequences for the trio.

“It could be removal of committees; it could be censorship; it could be expulsion from the General Assembly. Anywhere in between,” said Sexton.

And there you have it:  people shouting for something to be done to about gun violence that 3 days earlier had killed 6 people, including 3 9-year old children, is the same as a deadly insurrection to overthrow our government. And can you hear the unspoken part of his comment about the 1/6 insurrection? “They’re always talking about the insurrection–(and here’s the unspoken part)–AS IF IT WERE A BAD THING.” Right? Part of his overreaction has to be his support of the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election.

None of this should surprise any of us. The once-latent authoritarianism that TFG brought to the surface is now spewing its noxious hatred with abandon. But it still should make us angry and move us to hold these fascists accountable.

The final vote will be on Thursday. This story is being smothered by the media’s endless need to cover everything TFG says and does. This story is much more important. Tennessee House Republicans need to know that we as a nation see what they are doing and condemn their authoritarianism. It’s time to shout.

2 thoughts on “Something Is Rotten In The State Of Tennessee

  1. Nude Gingrich brought previously undercover criminal behavior, racism & bigotry to the forefront of the gop. He taught them how to never feel shame.

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