Staunchly anti-reproductive freedom Senator JANICE BOWLING unwittingly made the case for abortion rights while fighting a UT vaccine requirement.
Staunchly anti-reproductive freedom Senator JANICE BOWLING unwittingly made the case for abortion rights while fighting a UT vaccine requirement.
For a long time Tennessee Democrats have been calling for Rep. John Deberry Jr. to have the “D” next to his name removed for consistently siding with Republicans against them on many key issues. This week the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee finally took that action and voted 41-18 with 2 abstentions to do just that.
Many have expressed relief, saying Deberry’s longtime support for the Tennessee Republican agenda has warranted removal for some time. Some have expressed skepticism, saying it should be up to the voters to decide.
Republicans such as Speaker Cameron Sexton have seized on the opportunity to attack Democrats, saying this shows they’re inflexible in their beliefs and calling out TNDP chair Mary Mancini on Twitter.
What would you have done @CSexton25 as leader of TN Republican Party if, say, the majority of @WilliamLamberth‘s campaign donations came from Democratic PACs/groups/ individuals? If he had a history of making large donations to Dem candidates? If he voted against you for speaker? https://t.co/PROohSnxXR
— Mary Mancini (@marymancini) April 9, 2020
It’s no surprise Republicans would rush to Deberry’s defense. They’ve regularly expressed gratitude to Deberry for standing with them on their anti-LGBT legislation, their anti-Reproductive rights bills, Governor Bill Lee’s public school-harming vouchers, and Secretary Tre Hargett’s voter registration criminalization bill to name a few.
They’ve even run ads in support of him. (“You tha man”, guys? Really?)
There are so many instances of Deberry standing with Republicans against progressive ideals that it’s hard to keep track – but that’s what we’re here for. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
On Lee’s public school-harming vouchers, Deberry was the lone Democrat to vote for the bill, which passed 50-48 after a 49-49 tie was held open for 35 minutes while disgraced former speaker Glen Casada (and likely Governor Lee) handed out goodies to convince people to switch, including MILITARY PROMOTIONS.
Eventually, Rep. Jason Zachary flipped, the public school-harming vouchers passed, and the rollout has already been a lie and bribe-filled nightmare, causing even those who voted for it to regret it.
(Of course, that hasn’t stopped Lee from including $41 million for it in the “emergency budget”.)
On Reproductive freedom, Deberry has stood with Republicans repeatedly – even when their bills were unconstitutional, and even when they would force raped teenagers to carry their rapist’s baby to term. Deberry even went so far as to call abortion “BLACK GENOCIDE”, a phrase that will be hard to forget anytime soon.
Even on something as obviously oppressive as Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s voter registration criminalization bill, Deberry couldn’t bring himself to stand on the right side of history. He abstained, a decision which was promptly shown to be cowardly and wrongheaded when a federal judge blocked the law and ripped it apart in a scathing decision.
We spoke with Deberry at length after the fact, and he didn’t seem to understand what the law even did. Which is no excuse.
Then there are Deberry’s anti-LGBT beliefs, which have caused leading voices from the Tennessee LGBT community to speak out forcefully.
Eric Patton of the Human Rights campaign wrote to the TNDP committee before the vote, saying Deberry “consistently stood against women’s rights and LGBTQ rights”, “sponsored a bill to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and adults in matters of mental health”, and “verbally supported conversion therapy”.
“As a LGBTQ community leader, it is a clear decision to deny him the party’s support in his re-election. I strongly urge you to take appropriate action to deny his petition.You have a say, as a party leader, who is allowed to run as a member. DeBerry has displayed time and time again that he has no regard for the party or its platform, let alone the marginalized people it stands to protect.He shouldn’t get the help of the party. If he’s going to stand against the marginalized, he shouldn’t be standing with us.”
Republicans have been quick to knock Democrats for taking this action, but before you put any faith in the outcry, it’s important to keep in mind Republicans have done things like this before. Speaker Kent Williams was an incumbent removed by the state party. They’ve also kicked people off of ballots for not having the proper “Republican bona fides”.
(Meanwhile They’ve let admitted child sex abuser Rep. David Byrd stay in office, as well as Speaker Casada – who lied and who covered for his “N word”-using coke-snorting chief of staff, said ugly things about women, and may have framed a civil rights activist, and was removed as speaker for it… but those are stories for a different day).
Reproductive freedoms, voting rights, LGBT rights, public schools… these are not minor issues Deberry was standing with Republicans on. And as Mary Mancini said, the majority of Deberry’s campaign donations come from Republican PACs/groups/ individuals. He has a history of making large donations to Republican candidates.
The parties have the right to do these things for a reason. Deberry’s allegiance to the Republican agenda has been a useful political tool for Republicans for long enough.
Watch Lee & announce his “comprehensive pro-life legislation” – despite bumbling on details.
TN Dems call it “extreme & divisive”, “unconstitutional”, say it does nothing to help TN’s health care crisis.
It will lead to costly lawsuits. TN’s maternal mortality rate is 3rd world, yet Lee refuses $1 BILLION/year in Medicaid expansion funds. That isn’t pro-life.
There’s a lot going on right now, but we wanted to make sure to show you this remarkable post from TN GOP State Rep. Robin Smith (R-Chattanooga) in something called the Patriot Post, which was brought to our attention by former congressional candidate Chris Hale.
In the post Smith lays the rise in youth suicides at the feet of “leftist indoctrination” – apparently meaning schools, climate science, biology, and sex, coupled with her misguided sense of the Democratic platform as a whole.
Keep in mind, Smith was previously the chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, and recently ran for House caucus chair, so she’s not exactly a fringe player.
She starts out with a simple fact:
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data this past week that youth suicide rates increased 56% from 2007 to 2017 among 10- to 24-year-olds.”
Smith then notes that the author of the article says “researchers aren’t certain” what exactly the causes are… but who needs research? The causes are clear to Rep. Smith:
“The Wall Street Journal’s analysis of this report includes the statement that researchers aren’t certain of the cause, yet factors such as a “rise in depression, drug use, stress and access to firearms” along with the influence of social media are cited as areas of interest and study.
Access to firearms” is not all that different from 50 years ago, but let’s take an honest look at the cultural forces and influences on our youth and young adults today that may offer some real causation, not just correlation…”
Notice how Smith doesn’t like the “access to firearms part”, so she throws that out – claiming it hasn’t changed in 50 years, when there is absolutely no evidence that’s the case.
Proliferation of firearms in America has continued over the last 50 years, so it would stand to reason that access to firearms for teens would increase along with that. Calling something “an honest look” doesn’t make it so. But we digress.
Smith then talks about the detachment that results from phone and social media addiction before pointing the finger squarely at our schools for teaching about science in the form of climate change, biology, and sex:
“Once our kids are out the door, they’re headed to middle school, high school, or some type of instruction in a two-year college or four-year university. And what do our kids encounter in their day at these “institutions of higher learning”? Of late, the message has been that the Earth will cease to exist in less than 12 years because of climate change. Our kids are told that it’s their right to determine their own gender rather than live within the capacity of their biological being while maximizing their gifts and talents. Too many students hear that life is a wad of cells until a baby is outside the mother’s womb and wanted by both the biological donors — formerly called the mother and father.
Students of all ages hear that part of growing up is being sexually active, having access to abortion as a type of birth control and part of a female’s health care, and that choosing a life of discipline, maturity, and restraint is not possible — much less a characteristic of an individual living at the fullest extent of their “rights.”
Smith’s use of quotations around “institutions of higher learning” are reminiscent of the calls for the abolition of state-sponsored higher learning by Republican senators Kerry Roberts and Mark Pody. When asked, Roberts claimed he was joking – but it has become clearer and clearer that doing away with state-backed higher education is a popular policy position in the TN GOP.
It’s one thing not to believe in Climate science, but linking gender, climate, and not calling parents a mother and father (say what?) to youth suicide is quite the stretch.
Smith then says our schools are “populated with activists”, and points to Democratic policy proposals like health care, education, and higher wages (the horror!) as somehow causes of suicide because they make kids “wards of the state”:
“Our institutions entrusted with the high trust of academic instruction are populated with activists who are invested in more than educational excellence and accomplishment and are now turning to the playbook seen in failing cultures of sameness for the common good and a posture of dependency rather than self-reliance. Don’t believe this? With the demands for “free” college tuition, free health care, a universal wage for those who don’t even work and for the express doctrine of this sameness to guarantee no individual excels above another, the role of government metastasizes to a cancer that consumes its host to pay for those who don’t excel and aren’t driven to self-reliance. Shorter, we’re teaching kids to be wards of the State.”
So helping kids learn, see doctors, and earn more money makes them want to take their own lives. Or something. Hoo-wee.
To clarify: “Free” college tuition means we pay for it with our taxes and our kids go to school, as we already do with lower education.
“Free health care” again would mean we pay taxes, and we get what we pay for – as opposed to now where we pay taxes, and premiums, and deductibles… and many are still going broke and dying for lack of coverage, especially here in Tennessee.
And say what you will about a universal basic income proposal – which has gained little traction in the Democratic Party – but it’s worth noting Smith opposes the Democratic proposal for a “living wage”, which means raising the $7.25 an hour minimum to a number people can actually live on.
Tennessee is #1 in % of minimum wage jobs, so that would actually help a lot of people.
The upshot of all of this is that Robin Smith may disagree with things like climate science, and biology, and making sure everyone can see a doctor when they get sick, and higher education, and paying people for their work – but blaming people who support those things for youth suicides with ZERO evidence? That’s unconscionable and downright shameful.
If Smith was really as pro-life as she claims to be, she should reverse her position on not expanding medicaid, which we know is killing people, or blocking common sense gun safety reform, which is also contributing to the deaths of many.
Teen suicide is a serious issue. It’s not something to baselessly politicize for the sake of scoring cheap political points.
Holler at Rep. Smith HERE if you agree.
“Absolutely it was racist… you want folks to stay ignorant so they won’t hold you accountable. It was not a joke.”
She also said:
“You’ve been able to effectively train your people to believe I don’t care about myself, my baby, my community, and as long as you can keep that going there will never be an opportunity for white Tennesseans to believe they have something in common with black Tennesseans.”
Watch the CLIP below, and the FULL Facebook Live INTERVIEW HERE.
The AUDIO is also available on our podcast – subscribe on Itunes HERE.
And below you can watch Cherisse read the full testimony she tried to give during the #TNAbortionBan Senate committee hearings before Senator Mike Bell cut her off. He let a man who said he “remembers being born” go on much longer.
In response to passionate abortion ban hearing testimony from Cherisse Scott of Sister Reach – a pro-reproductive freedom witness who called Republican legislators to account for failing to expand medicaid, raise the wage to a living wage, support public education, and other public policies that should be supported by anyone who is truly “pro-life” – State Senator Kerry Roberts called for ending higher education in Tennessee on his radio show.
Presumably because that’s where Cherisse and others learn to support policy positions Roberts opposes. Yes, he lays abortion squarely at the feet of Tennessee’s colleges.
As a reminder, Cherisse was gaveled out and cut off by chairman Mike Bell, who allowed others to go much longer and finish their testimony, including anti-abortion advocate who says he “remembers being born”.
Watch and Share, and feel free to holler at Senator Roberts HERE.
At the abortion ban hearings last week, Cherisse Scott of Sister Reach stepped up and said what needed to be said, excoriating TN Senate members for “weaponizing the word of God to forward their political agendas”.
Needless to say, they didn’t take Kindly to it. Although MANY of the witnesses were off topic and went over their time, Cherisse was the ONLY witness Bell cut off – and he did it after just 5 minutes.
He let Hal Rounds, a tea partier who said he “remembers being born”, go twice as long.
Here’s video of the moments leading up to her mic being cut, and after:
Hal Rounds, Tea Party member and witness for the TN GOP’s abortion ban, says abortion is killing a person because he remembers being born.
“In the womb there was a sensation of compression and advancement.”
Speaking to supporters, Senator Mark Pody – sponsor of the Tennessee abortion ban bill – says his goal is to “destroy Satan”.
The TN GOP openly says it hopes to take it to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade with the bill, which is clearly rooted in religious ideals.
We’ll have a video with highlights from the summer study hearings coming soon.