Two of three rebellious Democratic legislators were expelled from the Tennessee legislature. The two who were expelled are Black. The third, who survived, is a white woman. This is an unprecedented sanction for defying the majority and speaking without permission, on behalf of gun control. Expulsion in the past was reserved for criminal behavior or sex scandals, not dissidence. The two legislators were expelled for breaking House rules of decorum.

It was an outrageous, undemocratic decision.

The vote to expel the second legislator, Gloria Johnson, a special education teacher, failed by one vote. When asked why Rep. Jones was expelled but she was not, she responded, “It might have something to do with the color of our skin.”

The Republican Party in Tennessee gerrymandered legislative districts to give themselves a supermajority. Democrats are powerless. Governor Bill Lee is a hard right ideologue.

After the murder of three children and three staff members at the Coventry School in Nashville, parents and students surrounded the Statehouse demanding gun control, which will never happen in this state so long as the state is solidly owned by the GOP.

Instead of enacting gun control, the legislators passed a law to arm teachers and “harden” schools.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Voting has begun in Nashville, where the Republican-controlled Tennessee state House of Representatives have already agreed to oust one of the three Democratic lawmakers in what marks the first partisan expulsion in the state’s modern history.

State Rep. Justin Jones, the first lawmaker expelled when lawmakers voted to adopt HR65, called the resolution “a spectacle” and “a lynch mob assembled to not lynch me, but our democratic process.”

“We called for you all to ban assault weapons and you respond with an assault on democracy,” Jones said during his 20-minute opening statement.

Earlier in the Thursday session, the legislature passed HB322, a bill that requires schools to implement a number of safety plans and security systems, over the objections of the three members who face expulsion.

“This bill is not about school safety that will not make our students safer,” Jones said, adding the move to “make our schools militarized zones” is borne out of refusal “to address the real issue, which is easy access to military grade weapons, which is easy access to weapons of war on our streets.”

State Rep. Gloria Johnson, a former teacher, decried the possibility of “gun battles at our schoolhouse door,” and state Rep. Justin Pearson, the last of the trio, argued that “the root cause that each of us have to address is this gun violence epidemic do the due to the proliferation of guns.”

“We don’t need a solution that says if you don’t lock a door or get someone with a gun, we need a solution that says people shouldn’t be going to schools and to houses and to neighborhoods with weapons of war,” Pearson added.Protesters gathered both inside — in the gallery, where they were told to remain silent — and in large groups outside, in apparent support of the three Democratic lawmakers.

Jones, Johnson and Pearson are facing expulsion resolutions for allegedly violating the chamber’s rules of decorum by participating in a gun control protest at the state Capitol last week. The demonstration came in the wake of the deadly Covenant School shooting in Nashville on March 27, where a former student fatally shot three children and three adults, police have said.

Republican leaders said that by siding with the large crowd of peaceful parents and students the three legislators had encouraged an “insurrection,” and some (the House Speaker) said it was even worse than the January 6 events when thousands of people broke into the Capitol and sent members of Congress hiding for their lives.

The courageous “Tennessee Three” were subject to expulsion for defending the lives of the innocent while the Republicans cower before the NRA.

The Tennessean reported:

Moments after voting to expel Jones, the House took up a resolution to expel Rep. Gloria Johnson.

Johnson brought two attorneys, former state Reps. John Mark Windle and Mike Stewart, to represent her. Windle spoke first on her behalf, pointing out specific accusations in the resolution of actions that Johnson specifically did not commit.

“It is an absolute falsehood that has been perpetuated on this body,” Windle said. “This woman did not shout – and that’s the first particular that they charged.” 

Windle noted that Johnson did not bang on the House podium or become disorderly.

“Do you know who Gloria Johnson is? Does anybody know her? Is she a boogie man?” Windle asked. “Gloria Johnson is a school teacher. A special education teacher.”

“Today is Maundy Thursday, the day of betrayal,” he said. “Isn’t it fitting these allegations are made during Holy Week?” 

During his remarks, Stewart argued that expulsion of a member for decorum violations is unprecedented in the House body.

“I haven’t heard anybody on this floor cite a single example of somebody being expelled from a legislative body based on these sort of flimsy charges,” Stewart said. “This is not just unprecedented in the state of Tennessee, and has no precedent in the United States of America.”

Rep. Gloria was not expelled, although she acted in concert with the other two legislators, both of whom are Black men, the youngest in the legislature at 27.

Then the legislature took up the case of the 3rd Democrat—Rep. Justin Pearson—who protested inaction on gun control. Like Rep. Jones, Rep. Pearson was expelled.

The two representatives can run for their seats again, but their districts will currently have no representation.

The GOP is a party that opposes democracy. In state after state, it is going full fascist.