Here’s how it’s supposed to work. People vote for the representatives they want to see in government and then those elected officials serve their terms. The party with control of a political body is not supposed to expel other electees. Of course, we absolutely need some exceptions to this integral component of democracy. Let’s say an elected leader attempts to withhold vital international aid to an ally until that ally agrees to publicly announce plans to investigate his political opponent. Or worse, imagine that an official successfully incited an insurrection against his own state or country as part of a broader plot to overturn an election. In cases such as these, certainly, an official should be removed from their role and barred from ever holding public office again.
Now, some people think that greedily collecting cash from special interest groups and then cravenly failing to enact legislation to limit the purchase of weapons of war that have turned a nation’s schools into killing fields should be grounds for expulsion from elected office, but that’s not how the system works. Yet, somehow, in Tennessee, two officials have been expelled over their protest against the widespread availability of these weapons. AP: “In an extraordinary act of political retaliation, Tennessee Republicans on Thursday expelled two Democratic lawmakers from the state Legislature for their role in a protest calling for more gun control in the aftermath of a deadly school shooting in Nashville. A third Democrat was narrowly spared by a one-vote margin.” (In a weird coincidental twist, the two officials that were removed were Black and the one that was spared was White. These days we’re not supposed to teach about the history of racism. I’m not sure about the present.)
+ WaPo: Tennessee House expels two Democrats in historic act of partisan retaliation. It’s historic. It’s could also be setting a precedent.
+ NPR: “The expelled lawmakers conceded they didn’t follow decorum by walking on the floor — what is called the well — and speaking without being formally recognized. Republicans said the trio’s actions amounted to an insurrection.” (Some days, I really wish that email had a rimshot function.)