It’s going to be a long night in the House. As I write, Democrats are literally occupying the floor of Congress, much like people did a few years back with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and even further with the Civil Rights Movement.
Getting the attention of the “powers that be” has moved from public parks to the Halls of Congress, which is where this new phase of civil rights protests have taken us. Democrats want an up and down vote from Senate Republicans on four gun control measures presented last week, and which passed in the House. They’ve staged a sit-in on the floor—and are willing to stay all night if needed—to get what they want.
Despite the recent Orlando mass shooting in which 50 people died, prior shootings in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and a crowded movie theatre in Aurora, CO—the Republican-led Congress continues to drag its feet about doing anything serious to stop folks from getting their hands on assault weapons.
How much longer can the inaction go on?
I think what we are seeing is the beginning of a revolution in Congress, and one that will play out during the General Election. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump aside, the battle over gun control is real and has enough merit to sway some indecisive voters to the Democratic column on Election Day.
Protestors are getting support from everywhere despite attempts by GOP lawmakers to shut them down. Republicans shut off the microphones, turned off the cameras and the lights to weaken the message.
The GOPs refusal to vote on gun control and attempts to censor Democrats has only made support for the sit-in stronger. The House has been in recess all day with the Dems refusing to concede the floor. Rep. Robyn Kelly from Illinois told CBS News, “They’re trying to shut us down, they’re trying to test us, but we will not move.”
The Dems are gearing up for a long evening. They are modeling it after the filibuster that was held last week to push bills in support of background checks and banning those on the FBIs “no fly” list from buying handguns.
They’re getting help from Democratic senators like Harry Reid and Elizabeth Warren, who walked over from the Senate Chamber and reportedly brought snacks. Kelly said staff members “went to get blankets and pillows and whatever we need to stay overnight.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are keeping the spotlight on their fight, using cell phone videos to get their message out on social media. The cell phone has become a weapon for democracy, and one that has evened the playing field immensely. Raw, uncensored footage has taken control out of the hands of big media conglomerates and put it into the hands of everyday people. And those who know how to use it can influence more people in a shorter amount of time than any broadcast or cable network ever could.
It’s hard to predict how long this sit-in might last, but I’ll be watching it unfold on social media. Care to join me?