When I blog, I typically try to avoid using certain words because all those words would do is, ahem, trigger people (trigger is often another one of those words…). But what happened in Tennessee with the expulsion of two Black members and not expelling the White woman (with unofficial statements that the lil’ missy better shape up!) is a classic example of actual patriarchy.
But first we should rule out what the expulsion is not. It is not a power play: clearly, the Republican Party already has a working supermajority, so what does it matter if it is 73-24 (pre-expulsion) or 73-22? It’s not as if they do this and then can do a whole bunch of things they otherwise couldn’t. It’s also not concerns over ‘terrorism’–a bunch of high school students and three non-violent politicians, one of whom was ‘armed’ with a bullhorn is not an insurrection, and these yokels know that. It is also not about concern for the dignity of the Tennessee House of Representatives: if it were, they could have just censured them or removed them from committees and let them know that further breaches of protocol would lead to expulsion.
The only reason Republicans reacted like this is because they feel their status is threatened. You could see that in the remarks by Republican Rep. Farmer, which were incredibly condescending. These are people, especially the ones from the more rural areas who have a lot of power and perks that they distribute, in the same way that the lord of the manor, the tribal leader, or the plantation master does. When people approach them, the supplicants genuflect before them because they know if they get too… above their station, there will be consequences for doing so. They are patriarchs in the classic sense of the word.
When the students–a bunch of teenagers no less–challenged them by not kneeling before their august station, that was the threat, not fears of ‘terrorism.’ The patriarch must not have his authority challenged, and that is what happened in Tennessee, and why they reacted so fiercely.