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Don’t take this lying down


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I was incensed watching the Tennessee State Legislature vote to silence three Democratic legislators by expelling them, and to succeed in jettisoning the two who are African American, adding a layer of repugnant racism to their anti-democratic behavior.

I was frustrated. What can I do? I don’t live in Tennessee. I don’t run a big corporation that could threaten to pull its business from the state in protest. Then I remembered: I do have my own state legislature, and—while it has no power over Tennessee—it can take action to shun its professional colleagues there.

So I sat down and wrote my state senator an email, asking him to introduce a resolution that censures the Tennessee GOP for its racist and anti-democratic silencing of its Democratic critics. Less than 24 hours later, he called me to say that he loved the idea, that it would need to work its way through party leadership to get to the floor of the Senate and that he would do his best to move it through. I explained this was not only intended to shun the Tennessee GOP but—assuming we would probably see a party line vote—it would put my state’s Republican legislators on the record as supporting anti-democratic and racist behavior.


So, dear readers, this is exactly what you can do, whether your statehouse is red or blue. Write, call or text your Democratic state leadership. Tell them you want a resolution introduced to express the will of your state’s people. And make it clear that you don’t expect your state to respond to every injustice you encounter around the country—but with such an egregious, authoritarian and dangerous move by the Tennessee GOP, this needs to be called out for what it is!

Democrats control both houses in 19 states and at least one legislative house in 3 more. Imagine if nearly half of the states passed resolutions censuring the Tennessee GOP! Even we don’t have the power to change what was done in Tennessee, we do have the power to keep the shame of it from fading, and—if the GOP members around the country fall in line and vote against such resolutions, as expected—to remind voters of their anti-democratic views come election time.

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