Tennessee resolution to condemn neo-Nazis and hate is killed off in just 36 seconds
A resolution calling on Tennessee lawmakers to condemn neo-Nazis and white nationalists has been killed off in less than a minute.
The motion simply aimed to “denounce and oppose the totalitarian impulses, violent terrorism, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that are promoted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis.”
It was introduced last week to a state government subcommittee, and explained that “recent tragic events have proven that white nationalism and neo-Nazism remain very real threats to social and racial progress”.
In August, far-right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to the death of Heather Heyer.
Those rallying at the “Unite the Right” march were heard chanting: “F*** you faggots”.
The resolution, written by Democratic state representative John Ray Clemmons directly after Charlottesville, didn’t name any specific organisations or people.
It simply asked lawmakers to “urge law enforcement to recognise these white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organisations and to pursue the criminal elements of these domestic terrorist organizations in the same manner and with the same fervor used to protect the United States from other manifestations of terrorism.”
This seems reasonable, as statistics have shown again and again that far-right extremists are responsible for more attacks than any other group.
The motion also would have held that Tennessee “and its people will not tolerate discrimination or hate in any form or manifestation and that we stand united with resolve to promote and ensure equality for all Tennesseans.”
Again, who would stand against a resolution attempting to condemn hate? Who likes hate? Or discrimination?
Despite it seemingly being a simple win for the lawmakers, the committee chair – Republican state representative Bill Sanderson – gaveled the motion into oblivion after 36 seconds.
Clemmons accused Sanderson and other Republicans of conspiring to kill the bill.
He told CNN affiliate WZTV: “Generally, when something like that happens it’s because everyone got together and planned it beforehand.
“It was insinuated to me the Chairman told them to kill the bill by not seconding,” he added.
“Why, I can’t begin to imagine.”
Clemmons lashed out at his fellow legislators who had stopped a resolution he saw as uncontroversial.
He asked: “What example does this set for children when their own state won’t denounce acts of violence by hate groups?
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“We have blown a tremendous opportunity.”
Republican committee member Bob Ramsey pleaded ignorance, saying: “We have no expertise on it.
“How could we determine these groups are terrorists? We don’t know the federal guidelines on terrorism.”
Federal laws on terrorism are available online.