Longtime Tennessee Democrat state representative John DeBerry, Jr. gave an impassioned speech earlier this month on the floor of the Tennessee Senate.

DeBerry, who recalls marching with his father and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared his experiences with peaceful Civil Rights-era protests and expressed his outrage that today’s violent riots are being hailed as a continuation of those carried out in the 60’s.


Appalled by the wide-spread violence being carried out in the name of “racial justice,” DeBerry slammed the looting, vandalism, arson, assaults, and rioting that have consumed Democrat-controlled cities across America for the past three months.

The Federalist reports:

Tennessee State Representative John DeBerry Jr. delivered a powerful speech against the riots earlier this month in a house session, where the Democratic representative denounced the non-peaceful riots and expressed fear for the future.

DeBerry recounted the history of the civil rights movement and the peaceful civil rights protests he witnessed as a child, reminding the chamber of what made the protests and marches of the 1960s successful. “I saw it. I saw men and women stand with courage and integrity and class, and they changed the world,” he said.

“I am one of those individuals who walked in back doors because the law said I had to. I’m one of those individuals who rode on the back of the bus on the back seats that were not cushioned because the law said I had to,” he said.

DeBerry described what happened when protests of the 1960s turned violent, saying, “When the riots started and folks started burning stuff down, that’s when my father took my arm and we left. We left because that was not what we were there for. That was not what Dr. King was there for.”

DeBerry called out Democrats for trying to “frost over” the violence, to pretend it’s not happening, or to otherwise downplay it as Democrats had been doing prior to Kenosha and their panic over polling (DeBerry’s speech was given earlier this month, before Kenosha).

The Federalist continues with the following from DeBerry’s floor speech:

“If we don’t start standing for something don’t you know that the people that are looking at what’s happening in Washington, in Detroit, in Portland, in Seattle, they’re getting emboldened because we act like a bunch of punks. Too frightened to stand up and protect our own stuff. You tell me that somebody has the right to tear down property that Tennessee taxpayers paid for? That American taxpayers paid for? And somebody has the right to destroy it, deface it, and tear it down? What kind of people have we become?

Peaceful protests ends peacefully, anarchy ends in chaos. What we see happening right now, any of us with any common sense, any common sense whatsoever, know that what we see is not peaceful. So we can continue to fool ourselves and mix with words and use rhetoric and public relations in order to frost this stuff over and put a nice picture on what we see that is frightening.”

Watch the whole thing:

DeBerry has served for 26 years in the Tennessee legislature as a Democrat, but the state Democratic Party removed him from the ballot for this year’s election, declaring for him, in DeBerry’s words, that he is “not a Democrat.”

After a House amendment essentially overruling the Tennessee Democratic Party was approved by the state’s Senate, DeBerry is running for his seat in November as an Independent.  Republicans hold majorities in both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Fox News reports:

DeBerry, 69, had been a conservative Democrat until Tennesse [sic] Democratic Party officials “blindsided” him earlier this year by removing him from the House District 90 primary ballot for his history of voting with Republicans on issues like abortion and school choice.

“I think that someone decided that the only way that they were going to get me out of office was to remove me from the ballot. So this was what a tribunal did,” DeBerry told Fox News, referring to the state party’s executive committee. “[They] decided my political future and made a declaration that I was not a Democrat.”

DeBerry has been in office for 26 years and will run for reelection as an independent, citing the “outrage” in his district over party bosses’ efforts to oust him.

“I was kind of blindsided because I have run as a Democrat since 1995 and I have won 13 elections as a Democrat,” DeBerry said. “… My views have always been conservative. The people in my district know this. And even though I’ve had opponents who have hammered me over and over about my stance on abortion, about my stance on the family and my stance on education, [voters] have overwhelmingly elected me 13 times.”

 

 
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