Democracy Takes Another One on the Chin in Tennessee

Tennessee has a bad gerrymandering problem in which cities (with black people) get cut up to be swamped by white rural districts. This produced a legislature with an even larger than natural Republican majority.

A week after the shootings in Nashville, three Democratic members of the legislature took part in a demonstration on the floor of the House in favor of better gun laws and safer schools. They made noise. No one was threatened or injured. Nothing was broken. Except democracy: the House is now voting on whether to expel the ‘Tennessee 3’ — two Black men and one White woman (one of only 11 in the state House) for “lack of decorum”. Details at the Washington Post, and some impressive short videos at Mother Jones on Twitter.

For all the weird and and unpleasant things in politics this week, this one bothers me the most.

Update: Lots of info at The Tennessean web site. Among the facts I learned – Rep. Jones was expelled but not Rep. Johnson. The difference might be because he’s Black and she’s White — indeed Johnson herself raised the possibility. Or it might be because he had a megaphone and she did not; the megaphone may have been due to the fact that, as Rep. Sam McKenzie, explained, “Republican leadership has repeatedly cut off Democrats’ microphones during debate”.

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