Saturday, April 08, 2023

Ouster of Tennessee Dems catapults lawmakers to national fame and left-wing heroes.

by Rod Williams, April 8, 2023 - The ouster of Justin Jones and Justin Pearson for disrupting floor proceedings and leading a demonstration from the floor of the House chamber has made national news and has even been reported by some foreign press. The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, CNN, BBC, the UK's Daily Mail, Vogue, TV networks and hundreds of other news media have covered the story. Almost any news show, newspaper, news magazine or political blog one can think of has covered the story.

The ouster of the three has turned them into martyrs of the left as I feared would happen. (link) Now, they are likely to be reappointed by the legislative body of the county they represented. I fully expect the Metro Council to return Justin Jones. I am unsure if the State House can refuse to seat him if he is appointed to the vacant seat by the Metro Council. While I would have voted with my fellow Republican for ouster were I serving in the House, I am not sure that that was the best course of action. A simple admonition, and censor may have been the best course of action and then if such action occurred again, oust them.

Their behavior was certainly unacceptable, but strategically it might have been preferable to take less drastic action. I tend to think the three house members, while true-believer radicals, exploited a tragedy to make a point and to raise their stature in the progressive community and unfortunately, the House Republicans played right into their hands. 

Below is a sampling of news reportage of the event. 

National Review, April 6: Tennessee House Votes to Expel Two of Three Democrats Involved in Gun-Control Protest. 

“What they did is they hijacked the House floor which has never been done in our history,” Sexton told National Review of the three lawmakers. “They pulled out a bullhorn. They weren’t recognized. They were ruled out of order and they led a protest from the House floor with a bullhorn to those in the balcony. They shut down the proceedings of the House. We had to go into recess due to their actions.”

“They disregarded the Sergeant at Arms asking them to leave the well at multiple occasions and they really didn’t stop yelling in their bullhorn until I had to clear out the balcony because of behavior that was caused blatantly by those three members,” continued Sexton. “Those actions that they did on the House floor deserve expulsion.”

USA Today, Opinion by EJ Montini, Arizona Republic: Anti-‘cancel culture’ Republicans in hiding after expulsion of Tennessee lawmakers.

Politico, April 7: Ouster of Tennessee Dems catapults lawmakers to national political fame. "By kicking out two Black lawmakers from the state legislature, Tennessee Republicans unwittingly made them national heroes of the left while handing Democrats a major fundraising and organizing opportunity."

NPR, April 7: Tennessee House votes to expel 2 of 3 Democratic members over gun protest

The Guardian, April 7: Two Democrats expelled from Tennessee house over gun control protest

Joe Biden and Barack Obama condemn expulsion of Justin Jones and Justin Pearson from Republican-controlled state house ...Joe Biden called the move “shocking, undemocratic and without precedent” in a statement. “Three kids and three officials gunned down in yet another mass shooting. And what are GOP officials focused on? Punishing lawmakers who joined thousands of peaceful protesters calling for action'”

Former president Barack Obama joined in the condemnation, tweeting: “This nation was built on peaceful protest. No elected official should lose their job simply for raising their voice – especially when they’re doing it on behalf of our children.”

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