Home Editorials Shame on Republican majority General Assembly

Shame on Republican majority General Assembly

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

The Republican led Tennessee legislature is showing the country, as well as the world, who they are. Their draconian actions to manifest their power and position borders on being tyrannical and egotistical, setting a bad precedence in decimating our democracy as well portraying the state of Tennessee in a negative light. All the rationalizing and political rhetoric to justify their decision to expel state Rep. Justin Jones of Nashville and Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis for violating house decorum rules, when a megaphone was used to get attention, is falling upon deaf ears. No one is denying that the lawmakers expelled may have been technically wrong, but the punishment was excessive and didn’t fit the crime.

The truth is that the two Black representatives expelled were intentionally ignored and disrespected by the House Republicans in their attempts to verbalized the concerns and demands of their constituents—to enact strict gun legislation following the mass killing of three nine-year-old children and three adults at the Covenant School, a private Christian school in Green Hills, a neighborhood in Nashville. Many people assume that the drastic action of expulsion by the super majority Republican legislature was done due to the disdain and lack of respect Republican legislators have for the two young, Black, articulate and intelligent representatives who were adamantly conveying the wishes of their constituents, whom Republicans have continuously dismissed and ignored.

The actions of this majority Republican legislature should not be surprising, because they have unapologetically flexed their power for the most part refusing to cooperate on bipartisan legislature that would benefit all the citizens of Tennessee.  They are threatening to withhold funds to cities if their subjective wishes are not met.  The epitome of abuse of power is being executed and it appears to be legal.

In their attempt to exercise their power and punish Representatives Justin Jones of Nashville and Justin Pearson of Memphis, they only catapulted them to a national and international stage as heroes advocating for gun legislation and democracy.  They also brought about attention to racism and the abuse of power so clearly seen and displayed by the Tennessee legislature. In fact, statements made by Republican lawmakers such as Cameron Sexton, Speaker of the House of Representatives, comparing the nonviolent protest initiated by Jones and Justin to the insurrection at the United State Capitol, only cemented the ignorance and refusal of Tennessee Republican lawmakers to adhere to common sense and the will of the majority of the state’s voters.

We can find divine intervention as we look at the abusive actions of Tennessee Republicans, because we also see the proliferation of young, intelligent, positive politicians surfacing with new ideas and directions accommodating the wishes of people who feel disenfranchised. Many feel we should replace an old, racist regime consisting of old, out-of-touch White men trying to subjugate people and hold onto power.

We can only hope the ‘Tennessee Three’: Justin Jones of Nashville, Justin Pearson of Memphis, and Gloria Johnson of Knoxville (who was not expelled by only one vote) are reflective of the diversity and collaboration of intelligent people working together to bring about the voice of the people they represent. An inability or refusal to work together in the best interests of all the people serves no one.

Maybe we should thank these Tennessean Republicans for helping to cause more young people to become ‘woke’ and become committed to vote and speak out to replace what we all see and know are old, divisive, self-serving and racist politicians. While Tennessee Republican lawmakers play hardball and think they are winning, they should remember that sometimes when you think you are winning you are only losing.

There is the probability of a national boycott against Tennessee because of the reprobate actions of its Republican led state legislature that unapologetically abuses its power, ignores the wishes of the majority of its citizens, and continues to manifest racism. Common sense dictates you don’t spend money with people who don’t respect you.

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