No! No! No! No! And No! The Republicans in the Tennessee Legislature, while I listened to it live on the radio, said ‘You want to cry? We’ll give you something to cry about!’, to the people of Tennessee ! Like any abusive parent, that legislature punished reasonable protest and seems to feel self-satisfied about it. Lest there be any doubt about their character, the punished peaceful protesters for asking for peace itself. Then, they actively decided to punish who they felt like — people of dark skin — while not punishing a Caucasian women who committed the exact same “crime”.
Here’s the story. Three members of the Tennessee Democratic Party including one who started his term after the most recent election joined a peaceful protest by local students over gun control and were charged with breaking parliamentary rules of decorum and a vote was called to expel them. The young man explained that 1) he didn’t know about the rules, 2) that they were being used indiscriminately, and 3) at the time this happened, the legislators were on a recess, so he didn’t think, logically, that he could violate legislative rules if the legislature wasn’t in session, according to its own records. They voted him and the other Black man out anyway.
Then, to make matters worse, when it came time to expel the third person in the group, a White woman, they declined. So now, they had made it clear that not only was it wrong for students to want to stay alive, it was was wrong for two elected Black men to use their voice, it was wrong for his constituents to want to be represented in Tennessee. To her credit, she has said that she thought the decision was racially motivated.
In short, within a democracy, a legislature said there would be no justice for students, Black people in general, Black men specifically, city people (the districts they represented are in the largest cities of Tennessee) all who simply want to stay alive. And all of them will lose their rights because they weren’t polite enough? How many ways can injustice be done in one day, in one act?!
This cannot stand. Yet, in this Maundy Thursday, and now Good Friday, it does. As the man on the floor of the prayed the psalms aloud, I thought, “I want to see Easter”. I want to see peace and justice and representation in Tennessee and in all of America. I want to see, and I to be a part of, what comes next.
Resisting With Peace,