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Peak Modern Republicanism

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Two women show off their newly purchased t-shirts outside a Trump rally in Erie, Pennsylvania. (James McLeod)

There is no bottom of the Republican sewer, but if you want to get close, hang out in the Tennessee legislature. Among many specimens is David Byrd. See, Byrd nearly died from COVID. He was in the ICU for 55 days. He was intubated and survived. Heck, his liver failed and he had to receive a transplant, one that could have gone to many other people. After recovering, Byrd has learned a lot–he immediately returned to anti-mask politics.

On Wednesday night, Byrd joined all 73 members of the House Republican caucus in petitioning Gov. Bill Lee to call a special session of the legislature to prohibit local mask mandates and keep businesses from barring the unvaccinated.

At a time when virus infections were breaking records set back when he got sick, Byrd’s signature on the letter made him part of a deadly double speak.

“Governor Lee: The General Assembly of the State of Tennessee has a constitutional duty to enact general law to shape the options, decisions, and priorities of our local governments, including local boards and other local entities. We write today to request that you call an extraordinary session of the General Assembly in order for the legislature to convene and address misdirected and mandated responses to COVID-19 by local entities and officials. It is of the utmost urgency to move quickly due to the potential of significant harm to Tennesseans…”

Byrd and the other signatories were pretending to be concerned with public safety when they were actually placing everybody at risk of suffering as he had when, in his words, he felt like “every breath is an agony.” That includes youngsters in school districts that have instituted mask mandates in response to the Delta variant.

“…We believe there is a need to curtail the overreach by independent health boards and officials, confirm a parent’s right to make decisions that impact the mental and physical health of their children, provide support and direction to schools to ensure educators are properly compensated for COVID-19 leave, and protect all Tennesseans from misdirected mandates designed to limit their ability to make their own decisions…”

And the letter did not stop with masks.

“…Finally, in addition to the debate needed around continued COVID-19 mandates, the General Assembly needs to evaluate the ongoing discrimination of Tennesseans by prohibiting their access to buildings due only to their vaccination status.”

Byrd signed it even though his eight-month, nearly fatal fight with the virus had ended with him stating, “Consider the vaccine.”

The idea that people learn from getting sick and become more responsible and might pursue politics based on that is another liberal fantasy. They won’t. They have higher principles. They don’t just care if you die. They don’t much care if they die so long as the libz can be owned. This is the takeaway out of Dying from Whiteness, which you all must read.

But the real kicker of this article is not at the end. It’s at the beginning.

Tennessee state Rep. David Byrd was recorded apologizing to one of two former students who accused him of molesting them when he was a girls’ high school basketball coach in the 1980s.

“I can promise you one thing, I have been so sorry for that,” he says in a recording that surfaced along with the allegations in 2018. “I’ve lived with that and you don’t know how hard it has been for me.”

A third student charged that he had attempted to molest her. But Byrd never admitted nor explicitly denied what the three alleged, saying only, “I have done nothing wrong or inappropriate during my term as state representative.”

The then speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Beth Harwell, called on Byrd to resign. He refused and joined many of his fellow Republican representatives in wrongdoing of another kind when the pandemic hit.

The true victim of raping children is the rapist……

No wonder Tennessee voters keep returning him to the legislature.

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