Why Two Legislators from Tennessee Face An Uncertain Future

Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have been in the news recently, after they expelled two young Democrats from the legislature (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/07/us/tennessee-house-democrats-jones-pearson.html.


The ostensible reason for the expulsions was that Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson staged a protest demanding that the legislature pass effective gun control legislation after yet another gun massacre, this time in a private school where three students and three teachers were killed.


Jones and Pearson are both Black. A  third legislator who joined them, Rep. Gloria Johnson, a Democrat representing Knoxville, was not expelled. Johnson is White, and this further increased racial tensions.


All this was closely observed by associate solitary reporter Mike McGuiness, who is based in Nashville, Tennessee’s capital.


“They got what they deserved,” said House Speaker Cameron Sexton, a Republican, who praised the expulsions, and told McGuiness that Jones and Pearson should have their citizenship revoked and that the duo should be put on a slow freighter headed to Ghana, to the place from which thousands of Africans were impolitely put on slave ships headed for America.


“We’re the Volunteer State,” Sexton said, “and I am proud to have volunteered them to be sent back to Africa, where they belong.”