Pearl River Tennessee is looking for attention. This isn’t Virginia, they want to make sure that we understand that love has nothing to do with it. Tennessee is the Volunteer State. They aren’t talking about church suppers, little league games, neighborhood cleanups, and Red Cross blood drives. They are proud of their ability to take up arms and volunteer for our nation’s various wars. What the Republican-dominated legislature seems to be confused about is that the War of 1812, when they got praise for how many picked up guns as part of the militia behind Old Hickory Andrew Jackson to fight the British, is different from when fellow Americans pick up guns to kill children in school in Nashville more than two-hundred years later in 2023.
Most Americans, even gunsels would understand in the wake of a senseless massacre of children that a bit of protest might be expected and tolerated, even if they wanted to put their heads in the sand once again about gun control. In the predictable hue and cry for tougher gun control in the wake of the Nashville killings from residents there and elsewhere, how is possible that the most hard-shelled, rock-ribbed Republican in the legislature wouldn’t realize that there would be passionate speeches and sincere proposals to do something about the tragedy? Certainly, they knew they had the votes to continue to stand pat and do nothing. The power was in their hands after all, but why were they surprised, and how could they really be outraged when a couple of legislators raised their voices in protest of their inaction? Are these folks so delicate that a megaphone triggered them so much? Who knew good manners were more important to them than speaking truth to power about the blood of little children?
Is there any question that race was involved when they voted overwhelmingly to expel the two Black male legislators, but voted by a one vote margin with seven Republicans holding her hand to keep the one white woman who joined the protest? They claim “no,” but she even claims, “yes.” There have been many reasons to take a hard look at some of the miscreants that have served in the Tennessee legislature over the years, but they have hardly expelled any duly elected members since the Civil War and 1865. Of course, race was an issue now and then.
Did they think this would end well, or just be another tree falling silently in their forest? Think again. The President has weighed in with outrage. The Vice-President flew down to consult with folks in Nashville. The county commissioners in Memphis and Nashville, where the expelled representatives were elected, are leaning towards reappointing them to serve and go back to Nashville. Pundits are wondering whether guns could join abortion as wedge issues for 2024 at this point.
There’s no question that in Tennessee, Florida, and some other dark red states, this whole free speech thing it has become a problem for them. They not only exult in their power, but they don’t want to brook any protest or dissension. Look around the world, and it’s easy to see that this isn’t unusual in many autocratic countries, but hey this is America. If they don’t know that, then they need to be taught some hard lessons.