Cynthia Bond Hopson

Expulsions Distract from the Real Issue

Expulsions Distract from the Real Issue

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Expulsions Distract from the Real Issue

If the expulsion of two duly-elected Democratic members of the Republican-controlled Tennessee House of Representatives wasn’t so scary, it would be an excellent example of losing sight of the main thing—gun reform.

How did punishing the Justin—Jones (D-Nashville) and Pearson (D-Memphis) for being part of a protest stemming from the March 27th massacre at The Covenant School in Nashville that killed six people move past the NEED for meaningful gun reform and lead to them being expelled.

Silly me, I figured state legislators everywhere would drop their usual lawmaking and send an immediate message to our children that their safety was a priority. Instead, the Republican majority chose to talk about chamber decorum and compared the peaceful assembly of constituents to the January 6, 2021, insurrection in Washington, DC.

Nobody harmed police officers, nobody broke through barricades, nobody targeted specific members–instead children, parents, teachers, and community leaders joined Jones, Pearson, and Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) in trying to show the urgency this latest massacre demanded.

The thing that makes this sad and troubling is the vote went right along party lines. Rep. Johnson said she was spared expulsion by one vote because she is Caucasian and the other two are Black.

Sadly, we still don’t have gun reform legislation that makes and keeps our schools and children safer. I can’t imagine trying to study or teach when every time the door opens, there’s a potential threat behind it. Stress and anxiety are causing all kinds of problems as children grapple with peer pressure, drugs, bullying, social media, and more laws that cause confusion among those who are grappling with their gender identity and sexuality.

How do we explain to Tennessee families and the world that instead of our legislators applauding the constituent engagement and working together to create common sense laws to protect us, they got distracted by the shiny object on aisle 13?

I worry that these expulsions—the first in years—may spread to other states hellbent on disenfranchising transgender athletes and arming teachers and administrators instead of getting to the root causes of this horrible scourge in our nation where people take their frustration out on the innocents.

Legislators are elected to represent the people and govern, not be God, and somewhere down the line I think some have gotten it twisted. Laws should be fair as much as possible and crafted to do the most good and the least harm, perhaps that one simple rule needs to be reinforced during the orientation and onboarding of every person who gets sworn in, ‘lest we/they forget.

We, the people, especially the children and their care, safety, and education, must be a priority. That can’t happen if the people in these two districts have no representation because their leaders were expelled. The children didn’t leave their classroom to ask for expulsion. They asked for safety and people who would be brave enough to fight for them.

We cannot get distracted and take an imaginary or proverbial high road about civility while our children, teachers, and administrators keep dying. If legislators had decided to suspend their regular lawmaking and handled the people’s urgency, maybe we would be more appreciative of the decorum they espouse, however, it’s kind of hard to get excited about bullhorn use when assault rifles and those wielding them continue their rampages.

I pray the councils and commissions responsible for the two replacements will ignore retaliation threats and send them back to the House to continue listening to the people, raising their voices, and crafting laws that serve and protect all of us.

Looking for inspiration and straight talk with a bit of attitude? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more, and now every first and third Sunday on 94.7 FM, she’s hosting her very own podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, & One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There to Here.” In each episode she’ll share some of her favorite people who’ll inspire and uplift you. She’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful, so slow down, you’re in for a treat!


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