Tennessee just hung out the “Welcome” sign inviting hate groups. A Democratic state representative offered an important resolution in a subcommittee and expected it to move smoothly onward. Man, oh man, was he ever surprised.
Tennessee state representative John Clemmons (D), introduced a resolution denouncing white nationalists and neo-Nazis. From there, he thought the subcommittee would place the resolution on the House’s consent calendar. However, the resolution did not even get a second motion in the House State Government subcommittee.
Clemmons was in “utter disbelief” after the subcommittee meeting, The Tennessean reported:
‘I’m in utter disbelief at what just happened. I didn’t think there was anything controversial about this resolution.’
Another member of the subcommittee, Representative Darren Jernigagan (D) offered the first motion. The other subcommittee members sat in absolute silence. The Republicans were: Representatives Bill Sanderson, Bud Hulsey, Mary Littleton and Bob Ramsey.
Then, the subcommittee chair effectively halted any discussion about the resolution. Without a second motion, the resolution was dead.
The state’s House Joint Resolution filed the motion immediately after the Charlottesville, VA “Unite The Right” rally that turned disastrous and ended with a white nationalist running down Heather Heyer, a peaceful protester, with his car. She died from the injuries.
The torchlit rally alarmed the people in Charlottesville, with long lines of young and some older men with angry faces. Many of the younger participants looked like they could have walked out of a corporate meeting in their business suits.
The resolution stated that white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideology, according to the Tennessean:
‘Remain very real threats to social and racial progress.’
In addition, the resolution required law enforcement agencies to consider both the white nationalists and neo-Nazi groups as “domestic terrorist organizations.” It also stated that these agencies:
‘Pursue criminal charges against them as police would in other types of terrorism.’
Clemmons doubts whether his resolution could ever advance:
‘I would love to try to pass a resolution denouncing white nationalists and neo-Nazis, but if I can’t even get a second in a subcommittee, it evidences this Republican supermajority’s refusal to denounce these hate organizations, for what reason I cannot begin to imagine.’
Had the resolution been approved, it would have:
‘(Resolved to) strongly denounce and oppose the totalitarian impulses, violent terrorism, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that are promoted” by the groups.’
Clemmons’ resolution came up on the subcommittee’s calendar directly after Identity, a white nationalist group, held a “flash mob demonstration outside the Parthenon in Nashville.”
Many of those participants, approximately 60, had also joined the Charlotte “torch march” and “Unite the Right” rally. They held a 40-foot long banner outside of the Parthenon building in Centennial Park. It read “European roots.”
Prior to an October white nationalist rally in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam (R), announced those involved were “not welcome in Tennessee.” He also condemned the “white supremacist movement.”
About 200 white nationalists joined a “White Lives Matter” rally in Shelbyville and counter protesters numbered nearly twice as many. The white nationalists also held a recent rally in Nashville.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Milos Bicanski.