There is a certain process and decorum called for in a state house of representatives. But decorum is a little too much to ask for apparently.
The framing of the insurrection at the Tennessee House of Representatives has been fairly dishonest. There is an appeal to emotion: By evoking the school shooting on March 27th at Covenant School, and by the force of their performative outrage, we’re supposed to acquiesce to the protestors’ demands. Therefore, they took over the legislative body by force, attempting to assert their will by being the loudest and most aggressive.
That Democratic representatives Jones and Pearson are both African American adds another dimension of controversy, which they themselves likely anticipated. If the Tennessee Republicans responded to this provocation, they would be called racist. But what was the alternative? Let them take over the House of Representatives because they have a bullhorn, a belligerent attitude, and a crowd of protestors? Better to face the media ire and stand up to the bullying.
Rep Gloria Johnson and the So-called Tennessee Three
Now that Reps Justin Jones and Justin Pearson have been expelled from the Tennessee House for their disruptive behavior on the House floor, that leaves Gloria Johnson, who did protest but was not expelled. Together, they are sanctimoniously referred to as the “Tennessee three,” as though they are the victims of some notorious abuse.
Johnson is a downscale liberal White lady who wanted to bask in the glory of what must have felt to her like a civil rights protest. Hardly, what we saw in the Tennessee House was more like an infantile temper tantrum. When asked why she experienced a different outcome than her two colleagues, Johnson responded:
“I’ll answer your question, it might have to do with the color of our skin.”
Johnson explains that while she was not expelled, she was “talked down to” and “mansplained to,” “but it was completely different than the questions that they got.”
Maybe it wasn’t an insurrection, but it was insurrectiony.
As State Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton told Fox News, Johnson’s own lawyer argued her conduct was not as egregious as that of Jones and Pearson:
“Her attorney…came out strong making a lot of points that she was not as active a participant as the other two. She didn’t grab the bullhorn, she didn’t scream and yell. She didn’t lead the protest.”
Johnson herself pointed out that she didn’t yell, she didn’t grab the bullhorn, she “just stood there.” That is true, as can be discerned from the video. Pearson and Jones yelled at length into a bullhorn, making it impossible for the House to do its business, whereas Johnson just stood there foolishly. While she is a dishonest and dishonorable woman, there is a distinction to be made between her comportment and that of her two Democrat colleagues.
Not only did she avoid consequences by arguing that she was less disruptive than her colleagues, now she gets to virtue-signal by claiming that she only avoided consequences because she’s White. She’s implying that the Tennessee Republicans are driven by racial animus, and that is why they saved her. Some thanks! But as far as can be established, she was less disruptive than Jones and Pearson.
For his part, Pearson insists that they protested in a “peaceful and civil manner” and that it was not an “insurrection.” Jones, meanwhile, called the house’s actions “dishonorable” without a hint of irony in regards to his own actions. Whether you want to call it an insurrection or not, it was hardly “civil.” And it really wasn’t the appropriate time or place for their antics.
This is a Partisan Issue
The gun control debate, if nothing else, is a partisan issue. No matter how strongly one might feel about limiting gun rights, at the end of the day, it’s a Democrat party agenda item. Republicans just want to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners. This is especially true now that our society has increasing violence, especially in its cities, to the point where one might conceivable have need to defend oneself.
You don’t necessarily have to agree with the conservative perspective. I myself don’t own a gun, nor do I consider myself a warrior for gun rights. You just have to be aware that there are two sides to the gun control debate, both of which have an equal right to engage in politics and in the legislative process.
The framing of the Nashville Covenant School shooting as a gun control issue is itself a partisan spin by the liberal media and Democrat activists. One might just as well seek to inquire about the motives of the apparently transgender shooter, Audrey Hale, who shot and killed six people, three students and three staffers. Notice how the focus is diverted from the perp to the weapon. In the case of right-wing shooters, the focus is on the perp, the motive, and any manifesto will be grist for the media. In this case, that is all conveniently missing, and instead we’re talking about guns. Well, in the case of the Tennessee House, we’re yelling about guns.
As he interrupted the legislative session, Pearson gave what felt like an imitation of Martin Luther King’s speaking style. It would help if he had some cause of injustice he was speaking towards, as did Dr. King, rather than simply repeating partisan talking points.
This is not to say that the Tennessee House was up to something so ground-breaking (they were debating charter schools). Regardless, a few individuals should not have the right to cow the state House of Representatives. As Speaker Sexton stated, it is “disorderly behavior.”
Was it an insurrection? Inarguably they “led a protest from the House floor,” as Speaker Sexton put it. Maybe it wasn’t an insurrection, but it was insurrectiony.
Jones and Pearson seem very impressed with themselves; it is clear they have a conception of themselves as civil rights leaders against grave injustice. Yet what some are too dishonest or dumb to realize is that not everyone agrees with their passionately held views.
ABC’s biased account of the protest
The media is portraying these events in a way most sympathetic to the protestors. I would just ask this to reporter George Stephanopoulos: Do I have the right to go to ABC News office with a bullhorn and start yelling for 45 minutes because I disagree with what they’re saying?
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