In a bold move reminiscent of the 1960's - and led by a man who himself was a well known social activist from the '60's, some Democratic members of the House of Representatives took to the floor today and staged a sit-in. The members, led by Congressman John Lewis of Georgia - a leader in the civil rights movement that swept across this country a half-century ago, came forward and literally sat down on the floor in front of the Speaker's rostrum and began demanding consideration of gun control legislation - something the NRA bought-and-paid-for House Republicans would never consider - even if the bills were introduced by Jesus.
House Speaker Paul Ryan almost immediately banged his gavel and declared the House out of session, a move which forced C-Span to shut off the television cameras. The Sergeant-at-Arms of the House followed that up with some sort of order forbidding House members from using their personal cameras. If all of that sounds a little bit North Korean, that's because it is.
The protesters are declaring that there will be no breaks in their action until there is agreement to produce a bill. That won't happen, so they have effectively stopped the business of the House. Of course, this particular House is well known for never conducting any business anyway.
From my senior perspective, it is heartening to see those people finally getting stirred up. First the Senate did it's Jimmy Stewart thing and held a filibuster until the Republicans agreed to allow votes on bills designed to keep people on terrorist watch lists from buying guns - and to require background checks on guns sold over the internet and at gun shows. (Both were eventually voted down by the
And now . . . an honest-to-Pete-Seeger sit-in!
What's next? A Woodstock-style free concert on the steps of the Capitol? A love-in on the Capitol Mall? Nude bathing in the Potomac - or streakers up and down Pennsylvania Avenue? Tie-dyed patriots getting high atop the Washington Monument? The possibilities are almost endless!
If Baez and Dylan show up, I'll find a way to get there as well!
Thank you, Members of Congress, for allowing an old man the opportunity to revisit the days of his youth! May your efforts succeed beyond your wildest dreams - and may the NRA begin to see the first cracks in its fortress of hatred.