Disgruntled members of Congress have rarely caught the point of what the public thinks of Congress quite like the Democratic sit-in in the House of Representatives. “Sitting on their ample rumps” is exactly what most voters think Congress usually does. The characterization is sometimes unfair, but this time the rump makes the point.
Photographs taken by participants of the not-so-distinguished members lollygagging on the floor, trying, and not always successfully, to stay awake, tell the story. Snoring is as eloquent as some of the rhetoric heard in the chamber. Democrats are unhappy because they’re otherwise unable to make their point that taking guns away from the law-abiding is the way to eliminate terrorism. They continuiued to loaf on company time even after the House declared a recess and went home for the Fourth of July holiday.
Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, an authentic hero of the civil-rights movement of yesteryear, led the sit-in (more accurately, judging from the photographs, a lie-down). “Where is our moral leadership,” he cried out to reporters. “Where is our soul?”
The loungers say they’re determined to sit and lie where they are until a vote is scheduled on Democratic legislation to prevent anyone on the government’s “no-fly list” from buying a gun. Republicans oppose the legislation because it trashes due process. It’s easy for government to put someone on the list, without saying why or even notifying the someone that he has been put on the list. It’s almost impossible to get off the list, innocent or not, as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy learned when a bureaucrat’s dumb mistake put his name there.
“We truly believe that if there were a vote, that we would win the votes,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic minority in the House. Whether she truly believes that or not, dozens of members of House, Democrats as well as Republicans, are not so sure that her true belief would prevail.
Mrs. Pelosi and the Democrats have tried to exploit the tragedy in Orlando to enact legislation to cripple the rights set out in the Second Amendment. This diverts attention from a more likely cause of tragedy in Orlando, the failure of intelligence and President Obama’s resistance to attributing terror to radical followers of a distorted version of Islam.
From what investigators have learned about Omar Mateen, the shooter, he was a young man torn by many conflicts — with his father, his wives and perhaps with an inner conflict over whether to fully embrace the homosexual culture in Orlando or to kill as many innocents as he could.
Terrorism, which has become a grim element of life in America, is, as Shakespeare described the act of murder, “an organ with many mouths.” No one will ever know all of the conflicts in Omar Mateen’s mind. But we do know that exploiting tragedy for partisan advantage is shameful and solves nothing.
John Lewis and his colleagues in the civil-rights movement had an authentic foe. He has none today. The members of Congress sitting in and lying down in the House should find another place to sleep.