Opinion | The Tennessee Expulsions: ‘What a Travesty!’

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To the Editor:

Re “2 Democrats Expelled in Tennessee Power Play” (news article, April 7):

I grew up in Tennessee, went to Friday night football games, ate catfish and hush puppies. One great-great-grandfather fought in Morgan’s Raid against the Union. A great-grandfather was in the legislature and voted against women’s suffrage. For good, for bad, Tennessee was my home state.

Which I now don’t recognize. Our 28-year-old daughter just moved to Nashville for a job. She had fond memories of visiting my family in Gallatin as a little girl. But she knew things had changed when she was in a local Starbucks and saw a guy walk in with a Glock stuck in his pants.

And now she sees the Tennessee House expelling two Black members — only the Black members — for daring to raise their voices for stricter gun laws. She saw a legislature whose priority is racist political punishment, not the bullets that exploded in six people last week.

This will never be my daughter’s state. And I don’t think it’s mine anymore either.

Beth Potter
Harrington Park, N.J.

To the Editor:

During President Biden’s State of the Union speech, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert repeatedly interrupted him, with Ms. Greene screaming, “Liar!” Both women are still members of Congress.

But let two Black representatives in Tennessee protest the lack of gun control legislation after children were massacred, and they are thrown out of office by the Republicans. The white female legislator was allowed to keep her seat.

What a travesty! What a terrible place this country has come to!

Barbara Barran

To the Editor:

Re “As Young People March for Their Lives, Tennessee Crushes Dissent and Overrides Democracy,” by Margaret Renkl (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, April 5):

As a 67-year-old lifelong resident of Tennessee, I would like to assure Americans that the horror of what is happening now in our state does not reflect the attitudes and beliefs of everyone here (as evidenced by the thoughtful and persuasive writing of Ms. Renkl).

The tyranny of the majority is on full display as the legislature runs roughshod over the moderate and far left while approximately 35 to 40 percent of the citizens of our state regularly vote against the right-wing candidates, proposals and mandates.

The supermajority in the state house has silenced those voices by gerrymandering, enacting oppressive laws in the name of religious dogma, and now expelling duly elected representatives.

Perhaps it is naïve to look for fairness in politics, but we certainly can demand that our voices at least be heard. We hope for justice to prevail through the checks and balances in our systems. Otherwise, we are silenced, frustrated, discouraged and angry.

Wesley H. Roberts
Pegram, Tenn.

The ‘Troubling’ Ethics of Clarence Thomas

To the Editor:

Re “Revelations About Justice Thomas Prompt Calls for Tighter Ethics Rules” (news article, April 7):

Justice Clarence Thomas is the embodiment of all the reasons the Supreme Court needs a public set of ethical standards to guide and monitor its behavior.

It has long been reported that Justice Thomas has refused to recuse himself from cases where his far-right activist wife, Ginni, has been involved. Now new reporting shows him having been entertained on a billionaire’s yacht without reporting such largess as legally required.

Public confidence in and esteem for the court have dipped to a shockingly low level over the past 25 years. As the court lacks any power to enforce its rulings, public perceptions of its honesty and integrity are manifestly important.

Trust in the institution of the court has been carefully built over many generations, yet it is inherently fragile. Justice Thomas is single-handedly eroding this trust. The court should act, in fact it must act, to counter this loss of trust before permanent damage is done.

Ken Derow
Swarthmore, Pa.

To the Editor:

I find it nothing short of astonishing and troubling that Justice Clarence Thomas has never disclosed the extent of the gifts he has received from the Harlan Crow family over the last couple of decades.

If the rule of law is to apply to everyone (just as it just did with Donald Trump), how can Justice Thomas escape scrutiny over the travel and leisure gifts he has received over a long period from a G.O.P. megadonor billionaire?

It seems absurd to believe that he has not been influenced by this donor, who has underwritten so much of Justice Thomas’s leisure time, little of which has been disclosed. If we cannot expect the justices of the Supreme Court (each of whom wields enormous power) to act ethically in this country, we are really in trouble.

Peter Alkalay
Scarsdale, N.Y.
The writer is a lawyer.

Fighting Inflation

To the Editor:

Re “Fed’s Inflation Target May Be Too Low,” by Jeff Sommer (Strategies column, Sunday Business, March 26):

I disagree with Mr. Sommer. There are three important reasons inflation should be beaten back down to 2 percent.

First, high inflation disrupts long-term planning of every kind, be it personal, corporate or government. Why? Because it dilutes incentives to save and invest.

Second, persistent high inflation will erode, and eventually destroy, the incalculable benefits the U.S. derives from the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

Third, and ultimately most important, American citizens rely on their currency to live their daily lives. Depreciation of the dollar via inflation degrades our trust in our institutions, our government and ourselves as citizens in a social contract.

God knows, there’s enough of that already.

James L.P. Glidden
Holliston, Mass.

Bring Back the Ties

To the Editor:

Re “Where Have All the Neckties Gone?,” by Peter Coy (Opinion, nytimes.com, March 31):

Bring back the ties. It is an easy way to show your individuality and style while still dressing traditionally. And, sorry, but a man in a suit without a tie looks incompletely dressed. Ditto for untucked shirts.

Lewis Kampel
New York

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