Sit-Ins, Shout Outs, and Shut Downs.
Wow, what a difference a day makes. The Democrats started an actual sit-in on the floor of the House, led by legendary civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis. A sit-in where Rep. Tammy Duckworth reportedly smuggled her smartphone into the chamber via her prosthetic leg, which she then removed to join her colleagues on the floor. One that, as of writing this at 6 a.m. PT, still goes on, despite Speaker Ryan adjourning for a recess until July 5th. And despite CSPAN cameras remaining off*, with the whole thing being live-broadcast via Periscope and Facebook Live.
Again, for those on Amy Bias Watch, I know that my opinion on this insanely rare piece of political theater is bolstered by my own personal political beliefs: namely that it doesn’t make any gosh darned sense to me that the government can track and limit my allergy medicine purchases, but just about anyone can purchase a gun like the one originally designed to mow down enemy armies in times of war. So what I’m saying is, were the divisions in the House reversed, were this a Republican sit-in to force a vote on Obamacare, maybe I’d be pretty pissed, calling it a publicity stunt, and grumbling about what a waste of time and resources it was (see: filibuster.)
But #actually, that comparison falls apart for me. Because I imagine the Dems sitting on the floor right now know they don’t have the votes to pass these measures, just like any other minority wouldn’t have the votes in other situations. The difference here is that, most Democrats would have no issue voting to save Obamacare, and having that vote stand on their record as a public show of where they fall on the issue.
This current Democrat demand for a vote is, just like the filibuster in the Senate, forcing the (mostly Republican) elected members in Washington to put their votes where their NRA-influenced mouths are. That is, to go on the historic record as voting against gun responsibility measures that a vast majority of Americans support. And having that “nay” vote stand on their record as they go into this insane election cycle whether quite a few of their seats will be in play.
So I’m Team Sit-In. Give ‘em hell, Dems, give ‘em hell. Let's all at least demand to know where every elected official stands, officially, in this debate.
*NOTE: Before we all scream on Twitter at Speaker Ryan for this, the C-SPAN cameras show the feed from the House, which is controlled by the House itself. This same feed was shut down in 2008 by then-Speaker Pelosi when several dozen Republicans stayed on the on the House floor to discuss energy legislation after the House had adjourned for a five-week summer recess. Only difference is, now we can keep watching via social media.