It has been a very long day

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.

ClmQgmYXEAEJFn6 (1)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.

 

Advertisements

11 responses to “It has been a very long day

  1. I’m confused….
    What bill do the Democrats want to force action on?

    • My understanding is there were two, one of them (involving restricting gun ownership by roughly 5,000 people on the terrorist no-fly) quite flawed if you pay attention to due process. The other involved, as did the Senate proposals, expanding background checks.

      But honestly — and good people can disagree on this — the sit-in, as did the filibuster may have strictly been a means by which the conversation gets started. Voters have wanted a conversation. The NRA hasn’t. The NRA is a small organization with outsized power. I stayed up because (maybe naively) I want to believe that my Congress will work for me. Let’s hash out the bills. Let’s argue about amendments. I won’t embrace anything that’s a compromise, I’m sure, but Jesus H. Christ, to not even want to talk about it?

      • So there actually is legislation pending in the House. Now it makes a little more sense. Good for ratings, too.

        And what’s a little more bad law? SCOTUS just expanded police state powers. Why shouldn’t Congress? Something as good as nothing is better than nothing at all. It’s as good as it gets from Congress on gun control. Business as usual.

        • I would hope before any gun legislation is attached to the no-fly, no-buy list that we take a cold, hard look at the list.

          • It’s discomforting in the extreme to be forced into bed with Republicans and the NRA when seeking protection of civil liberties from Congress.

            It’s equally discomforting…to me anyway…to see Democrats in Congress aligning their attempts to limit civil liberties in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner with a civil rights movement that struggled to extend such liberties to a minority whose rights were limited in the same manner.

            Anything to upstage The Donald, I suppose.

            • Just wondering, why is the no fly list questionable? It should be as good a list as reasonably possible and if not, improvements should be made, whether or not the same list is used to deny gun purchases, no? Is the real issue: There shouldn’t be a no fly list?

              • I’m not Leftover, but here’s the ACLU’s take on it: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-if-you-think-youre-no-fly-list

              • The no-fly list, like the terrorist watchlist, employs a process of predictive judgement, i.e., judgement based on little, if any, actual evidence of wrongdoing or alignment with terrorist groups. In other words, being a mouthy Muslim, an angry Black person, or an evangelical Socialist could get one on the list. It also is meager in the due process area, even though the government has been forced in court to upgrade the process.

                In limiting travel options, the no-fly list remains constitutional because of that upgrade and the fact there is no specifically enumerated rights being impinged. (There’s nothing in the Constitution specifically guaranteeing the right to fly.) However, when predictive judgement is used to unreasonably deny specifically enumerated rights, like that contained in The 2nd Amendment, without full due process involved, then constitutionality becomes an issue.

            • It certainly does that, upstage #OrangeHitler. Funny, I was on Twitter last night and a few people tried to post something about his speech about Clinton, and those people were basically shouted down.

  2. We keep asking, “What will it take?” (to move legislators to pass universal background checks and other measures that make common sense) Good for Rep Lewis for taking a stand! I couldn’t stay up as late as you. Thanks for the highlights. Our government (especially the GOP) is truly disgraceful in it’s inaction when, as you have said, the overwhelming majority of Americans want things like universal background checks. The government is for the people, by the people? They need to demonstrate that.

    • I stayed up late the night before last, and figured I’d pack it in at a leisurely 10 p.m. or so, but I got hooked. I know it’s theater. I shouldn’t believe that it’s going to make serious change in the way we approach gun violence. But I stayed up because hell, what if it does?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s