DANIEL VAUGHAN: The narcissism and pathological lies from the Tennessee Three

 April 14, 2023

I've lived almost all my life in Tennessee and spent the last couple of weeks watching the coverage of the so-called "Tennessee Three" with some interest. Mainly because I was curious if anyone would actually cover it accurately. I assumed the coverage would be slanted; that was an easy call. What I can't get past is that people are actively lying about an event for which there is video proof of what happened.

If you live outside Tennessee, I could forgive you for thinking three Democratic legislators got expelled for their free speech. That's how nearly every national outlet covered the event. MSNBC was so convinced this was what went down that they covered the vote to expel these three House Representatives live. The coverage made it sound like these three were giving speeches and arrested on the spot for supporting gun control in the Tennessee House.

I might even give you a pass if you live in Tennessee and believe this because the coverage here wasn't much better. Although, we do have a Tennesseean reporter to thank for filming the pivotal moment via phone from the gallery. Vivian Jones, the government reporter for the Tennessean, shared the video clip here.

The real story of the Tennessee Three.

In that video, you see an unmistakable picture of what happened. Rep. Justin Jones takes a bullhorn and protest sign, both remarkably similar to those used by protestors in the gallery, and starts yelling into the bullhorn at the well. The House chamber is full because there's an active session, and the House was in the middle of debates and votes.

Jones starts chanting, "No Action, No Peace," repeatedly, purposely trying to grind the session to a halt to prevent any legislative business from occurring. Jones gets help from Rep. Justin Pearson, who joins Jones to the side and later takes the bullhorn and starts yelling a speech into it. They both get joined by Rep. Gloria Johnson.

Mind you, this is a legislative assembly where microphones are present for everyone to speak and be heard. Those mics also record all goings and happenings for transparency and the historical record. This moment wasn't about being heard: it was about one Representative, aided by two others, trying to shut down the legislative process.

You'll note that these so-called "brave" Tennessee Three don't discuss policy specifics. They use weasel words like "responsible gun control" and other empty expressions. If this was about kicking out legislators on the grounds of speech the Tennessee Republican Party didn't like, every gun-control advocate would have gotten expelled.

But it was only these three. The three Representatives who attempted to halt all legislative business. The three who tried to deny votes or speeches from any other county in the state of Tennessee. The three narcissists who proceeded to turn the moment into the media sun all about themselves.

Tennessee Three thrust victims aside for their own personal spotlight.

The Tennessee Three claim they stand for victims and policy changes. Let's look at that.

Vice President Kamala Harris decided to come to Nashville to make a splash around the Tennessee Three. They had a big event all around these three Representatives. Notably absent from the visit was any trip to the school where the mass shooting occurred. No victims' families were present at the event. Nothing was done at all by the White House besides some throwaway lines that people died at a school from a mass shooter. They also skipped over that the shooter was heavily into the leftist trans movement.

You'd think a competent White House would at least have two brain cells telling them to do something with the victims. Optically, this was an idiotic decision. Morally, it is grotesque to lie about the narcissistic Representatives who attempted to shut down a democratic process and make it about themselves.

It's hard to disagree with Charles C. W. Cooke on this point, "Via sheer force of will, the press has managed to turn the anti-democratic actions of two disruptive lawmakers into a heroic tale of bravery, protest, and integrity, and to do so on such a scale as to have rendered that judgment as the conventional wisdom. I expect that, for the rest of my life, I will be told about the time that Republicans in Tennessee expelled two lawmakers for disagreeing with them."

The grotesque politics of anti-democracy Democrats.

This narrative appeared out of thin air from people desperate to protect their own political party. But we have video evidence of what happened. You can watch it with your own two eyes. A Democratic Representative stormed to the podium and yelled at everyone with a bullhorn, "No Action, No Peace."

Is it any surprise he and the other two got expelled? Let me put it another way: I can't think of any Tennessee House leadership going back to the decades when Democrats ran the state when the legislature doesn't take this same action. If you believe Democratic House Speakers like Jimmy Naifeh or Ned McWherter would allow this kind of act from their own caucus, you're high on your own supply. You have a right to free speech; you don't have the right to prevent a House session or vote from happening.

The Tennessee Three are the real threat to democracy. They wanted a heckler's veto to democracy and were correctly denied that. One final irony. When the Tennessee House passed broad bipartisan measures to protect schools, that legislation passed by a vote of 95-4.

Who voted against protecting schools through more robust measures? The Tennessee Three. Their Democratic counterparts voted for it and helped shape the legislation. That's how a bipartisan democratic republic works. There's no evidence the Tennessee Three care about anyone but themselves. I hope they enjoy the MSNBC limelight.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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