Why You Gotta Be So Mean, Tennessee?

Shameful doings in the Tennessee State Senate yesterday:

In a move met with immediate criticism from advocates of the state’s refugee community, the Tennessee state Senate on Monday approved a resolution directing the state attorney general to sue the federal government for noncompliance of the Refugee Act of 1980.

With a 27-5 vote, the resolution, according to its proponents, seeks to settle a quandary created after Tennessee opted out of the refugee resettlement program in 2008 under then-Gov. Phil Bredesen.

Tennessee is still partaking in the program due to the fact that Catholic Charities is administering the resettlement effort.


Norris admitted that although the legislature does not have the authority to direct Attorney General Herbert Slatery to sue the federal government, the resolution contains a provision that would allow state lawmakers the ability to hire outside counsel to take action.

I eagerly look forward to our “fiscally responsible” legislators paying millions of dollars to some right-wing law firm to file this lawsuit, then explain how the money spent is a demonstration of their fiscal responsibility. Ouch. Makes my head hurt.

You know it’s an election year when Tennessee legislators start pushing that fear button. Republicans just don’t know how to sell their brand without going full-on nativist, blaming the most vulnerable populations for whatever ails the nation or state.

What’s weird here is that things are actually looking pretty good for the state of Tennessee right now. As the national economy has improved, so has Tennessee’s, with tax collections exceeding projections. So if the Republicans can’t point the finger at starving children for impoverishing the state, I guess they’ll point the finger at refugees and paint them all as terrorists. Shame on you guys, really. Why you gotta be so mean?

So, I was at the state Senate chambers yesterday as all of this was going down. I was among the protestors and got to see the Republicans duck inside the chambers trying to ignore the 100 or so people holding “welcome refugees” signs. I saw Democrats like Jeff Yarbro say hello to us and thank us for being there. I saw Democrats like Thelma Harper, who “cluelessly” abstained when the issue came up at committee last week, try to appear less clueless this time around, smiling at us and saying hello almost apologetically.

I did not see Democrat Reginald Tate of Memphis. He did not vote this time; last time, when it was in committee, he voted yes. He voted to sue President Obama. I can’t imagine what he was thinking.

Most of the Republicans scooted inside the Senate chamber as quickly as possible. It was as if they were embarrassed — as well they should be. These are the same people who keep telling us what faithful Christians they are. Every time the issue of abortion or gay marriage comes up, they’re always telling us about how they vote their faith. Yet the Bible has far more to say about refugees and immigrants than it does abortion or homosexuality (Leviticus 19:33-34, Exodus 22:21, Exodus 23:9, Malachi 3:5, Ezekiel 47:22, Deuteronomy 27:19, Hebrews 13:2, Isaiah 16:3-4, Matthew 25:35, Acts 28:2, etc. etc. etc.)

So you vote as a Christian on abortion and gay marriage, but not on this? That’s what we call a hypocrite.

As I’ve stated before, (see here) there’s a reason refugees are resettled in states like Tennessee, and it’s one which we should be proud of:

[…] it’s because of all the churches located here, and the support services that faith communities have traditionally provided, to help families resettle and assimilate into American life. I’ve mentioned this before, but many if not most of the groups facilitating refugee resettlement are Christian, and they work with local congregations! You know, Christians used to be known for helping people, not shooting up abortion clinics. Weird, huh?

I guess Tennessee Republicans are Christians when they wanna be, fiscally responsible when they wanna be, and pants-wetting cowards when they wanna be.

And mean all the time.


Filed under immigration, Tennessee

3 responses to “Why You Gotta Be So Mean, Tennessee?

  1. Yes, our State rulers are definitely embarrassing and hate filled. We have welcomed thousands of refugees and immigrants to our State and WILL CONTINUE to do so. The real religious community is compassionate and finds room for all who seek shelter here.
    These fools do not know anything about this subject and use SCARE TACTICS to encourage HATE.
    I am so proud to know so many across Tennessee to live the Almight’s word.

  2. Kathleen

    Good for you and your fellow protesters, Ms. Beale. And please don’t let Rethuglicans know children may not have to starve. It will give them, you know, “ideas”.

    • I didn’t mention it in my post but what was funny is that Miss Tennessee was also there, on another matter I assume, but she was wearing a gi-NORMOUS crown and I had to wonder what some of my immigrant fellow protesters thought of her.