Tennessee tyranny leads to expulsion

Tennessee GOP expels two representatives for taking part in gun control protest

Editorial Board

After a heated and condescending debate, the Republican-dominated Tennessee state legislature recently voted to expel Democrat Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson after they — and a third representative who was spared expulsion by just one vote — participated in a gun control protest on the grounds of the state capitol, according to the Associated Press. This act, which comes just days after the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, has caused many to criticize the nature and behavior of the legislature for passing acts of political retaliation in place of meaningful reform in the wake of a tragedy. “We called for you all to ban assault weapons, and you respond with an assault on democracy,” Rep. Jones said. 

This act not only leaves thousands of Tennesseeans without representation for the foreseeable future but has also thrown the tyrannical nature of the zealous GOP majority in Tennessee’s legislature into the national spotlight. The votes largely followed partisan lines, where a 75R/25D party split left no meaningful opposition to the unwarranted expulsion of the representatives. 

Many have also linked the decision to spare the third representative — Gloria Johnson — to racism as Rep. Johnson is White, while Rep. Jones and Rep. Pearson are Black. Johnson herself also commented on this notion, telling reporters that the decision on who to expel “might have to do with the color of our skin.” 

The expulsion of these two representatives is a dangerous and unprecedented act of political retaliation by the Tennessee GOP. Pearson and Jones were taking action to represent their constituents, who took to the capitol’s steps in a peaceful protest following a tragedy in their community. As citizens, we cannot allow this undemocratic, racist and tyrannical behavior to spread. Continue to use your constitutional right to protest, and vote for representatives that will advocate for your best interests. It is our responsibility to uphold the stability and sanctity of our democracy. While Jones was recently reinstated, these actions by the Tennessee GOP are heinous and unjust, and we as citizens must be the ones to stop it.