As their Senate brothers and sisters, led by Connecticut’s Sen. Chris Murphy, did last week with a filibuster, at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) started a sit-in to call attention to their august body’s inability to do something in regard to gun legislation.
The Senate couldn’t muster the moral fiber to approve any gun legislation. And the party of Lincoln (and my father) in the House doesn’t even want to talk about gun legislation,particularly two bills similar to ones rejected by the Senate earlier this week.
Their inaction flies in the face of what the vast majority of Americans want.
The sit-in continues, after one white Republican, born in ’69, attempted to school Lewis and others on what means a sit-in:
“Calling this a sit-in is a disgrace to Woolworth’s. They sat-in for rights,” Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., tweeted in a reference to black civil rights activists who refused to leave the store’s lunch counter when they had been refused service in 1960. “Dems are ‘sitting-in’ to strip them away.”
There have been soaring speeches, and village idiot (there is no kinder way to put it) Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) attempting to interrupt the proceedings with a shout that “radical Islam” had killed “those people.”
I think I got that quote right.
And there was granny-starver Speaker Paul Ryan (see him in the chart above? The one that shows the top recipients of the NRA’s largesse?), who attempted to interrupt proceedings with votes on non-related issues (including a flawed Zika bill).
It was neither man’s finest hour. Along about 2:30, there was an attempt to adjourn by the Republicans, amid shouts of “No bill, no break” from the Democrats.
This is not democracy. Not even close. And my thoughts and prayers are with Speaker Ryan, that he will remember the evening as the moment his political career went into a corner and died.
At roughly 3:15 a.m. the House adjourned, though the Democrats continue to send out pirated live streams on Periscope and Facebook. They’ll meet this morning to decide on a next step.
(My vote? Stay on the floor. #NoBillNoBreak, and let their Republican colleagues explain to the folks at home why they won’t even talk about legislation that addresses gun violence.)
The Connecticut delegation has been fully visible, and for that, we’re grateful.
Why all this trouble? Read this Vox story. For many of us who stayed up until the wee hours (and are bleary-eyed today because of it, it’s not as if the language of the proposals don’t matter. They do. So does due process for people on the terrorist watch list. But the sit-in and the filibuster before it signal that maybe, just maybe, our elected representatives want to do something about our national epidemic of gun violence.
If this was simply a publicity stunt, as Speaker Ryan said yesterday, I’m still all for it, and though I don’t pull late nights as gracefully as I once did, we all should be losing sleep over this.