Earlier this week, the Senate Democrats forced a filibuster to get the Republicans in that side of Congress to hold floor votes on bills to restrict gun sales at least to those who were on DHS "watch lists". Granted, the votes all failed as the Republicans - and a handful of Democrats in pro-NRA states - denied any semblance of sanity over publicly-supported gun laws. And we're not talking about things like universal background checks getting a vote, even though that has an 86 percent approval from a majority of Americans (including enough gun owners to make a dent in the NRA arguments).
Tonight, when the Republican-controlled House tried to finish up their session before the extra-long summer recess - having failed to consider a ton of much-needed action on, well, EVERYTHING - the Democrats stood up and challenged the Republicans to at least hold up-or-down votes on two gun regulation bills in their wing of Congress.
Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of his buddies pretty much closed up the session and walked away.
The Democratic Congresspersons stayed.
Led by John Lewis, one of the civil rights giants of our era, over
What the Democrats are doing are making a public display of who is on which side of the gun debate. And that the Democrats are the ones who are on the side of a majority of Americans who want sensible gun control laws.
Of course, the Republicans are dismissing the sit-in. They dare not engage otherwise, lest they point up how their Congress is unresponsive to the very American people they're supposed to serve.
Rather than vote, Ryan would rather call the sit-in a "publicity stunt" as though unworthy of our attention. But Cole over at Balloon Juice is right: it IS exactly a publicity stunt because THAT'S HOW YOU DRAW ATTENTION TO THE ISSUES THAT NEED SOLUTIONS.
Ryan ordered the cameras turned off for the House floor to avoid the bad optics that could get loose on cable channels - CSPAN! - but he failed to take away smartphones that the Democratic Congresspersons are using to share snaps and video feed to social media sites. (I'm not sure how to embed into the blog at the moment, but the Internet should provide)
Follow the Twitter hashtag #NoBillNoBreak
This is something that's been long overdue: pushing back against the political indifference of the Republicans when it comes to gun violence and public safety.
This is something happening in Congress. At long fucking last.