---Sheila Degan Gilbert, Chair, Calhoun County Democratic Executive Committee
"When will Calhoun Countians wake up and realize we are on the cusp of our own disaster?"
As Chair of the Calhoun County Democratic Executive Committee, I am writing to show our support for the two ousted Tennessee House members, Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson.
The Republican controlled body voted not to oust a third member who was a white female and had engaged in the same activity as the expelled members. The irony of casting out the two black members and leaving the white female wasn’t lost on anyone, especially Rep. Gloria Johnson. Why all the uproar? These three were willing to join the ongoing protesters of gun reform. The price they paid for this bold action from members of the Tennessee Republican-Led Legislature was expulsion…at least for two of them.
Nashville had experienced a horrific killing of six people - three adults and three children - at the Covenant School only ten days earlier. Then this unprecedented action by the Republican Led Legislature seemed to pay little to no attention to the intent of the peaceful protest. Instead they equated it to the January 6th Insurrections. Ridiculous on its face - then they voted to expel these members.
Alabama could easily be the next to experience a shooting disaster given the copycat actions often seen by radical groups. The Republicans have become rabid - using little to no sense when it comes to responding to those who challenge them.
According to the Pew Research Center, when listing party affiliation by state, Alabama ranks 3rd with 52% of the population identifying as Republican. Wyoming is first with 57%; and Utah is second with 54%. Those numbers should frighten those of us who realize that our Alabama Legislature is controlled by Republicans as is our Congressional delegation.
"The number should have been twelve hundred or more. "
Last week the Calhoun County Democrats had a “called” rally to protest the shooting in Nashville….only twelve people showed up. That number should have been twelve hundred or more. Calhoun County Democrats work diligently to draw attention to the violence caused by guns. Alabama has the second highest rate of gun violence in this country and has some of the weakest gun safety laws. Consider that the person standing next to you in the grocery store may be heavily armed and doesn’t even need a permit to carry a gun.
In an effort to draw Calhoun Countians attention to the dangers of gun violence we have held marches, made signs, buttons and t-shirts as well as hosted a Moms Demand Action speaker, flown our flag at half-mast and taken other actions to draw attention to the need for stricter gun laws. We have been largely ignored. When will Calhoun Countians wake up and realize we are on the cusp of our own disaster?
Get involved with your local Democratic Party, talk to your legislators and by all means - don’t be afraid to take a stand. The late Rep John Lewis frequently urged all of us to not fear getting into “good trouble”. The next shooting disaster could be looming before us right now.