It’s an election year, and the Democrats need a new fundraising peg. So what better way to represent their constituents than to abandon their soft leather chairs for a soft thick carpet in a camera-ready show of solidarity against all the poor slobs being swept up willy-nilly in the Homeland Security surveillance dragnet? We have to keep guns out of the hands of those “potential” terrorists, dontcha know. They’re guilty until proven innocent.
To hear the mainstream media tell it, this pseudo-strike by a bunch of liberal millionaires in the House of Representatives is a courageous act of civil disobedience against the malign forces of the Sovereign State of Republicantia. Those GOPers are such demented sadists they won’t even pass a bill keeping guns out of the hands of whatever “Others” the Deep State decides to put on its secret and deeply undemocratic No Fly List.
Therefore, led by Civil Rights icon John Lewis, the House Democrats one by one lowered their pampered butts to the House Floor, their suddenly reanimated spines creaking in protest. They had their selfie-taking cell phones courageously charged and ready to document every fraught moment. And when Top Speaker Cop Paul Ryan summarily banned C-span cameras from the premises, the congress critters defiantly clicked on their Face Time apps so as to be able to communicate their marathon struggle on live TV.
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It would have been considered politically incorrect to say that this act of limousine liberal disobedience was “a shot heard round the world,” but Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did her best Ralph Waldo Emerson imitation nonetheless, gushing: “It was a discussion heard round the world!”
The New York Times, totally embedded, breathlessly reported on the revolutionary “insurrection”:
As Paul Ryan left the speaker’s chair, Democrats shouted: “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
There were scenes of chaos across the floor as Republicans tried to resume regular business. At one point, Democrats began singing “We Shall Overcome” — altering the lyrics to say “We shall pass a bill some day” — as Republicans shouted in outrage.
The only thing marring the civil disobedience verisimilitude has been the strange lack of riot cops, truncheons, tear gas and water cannons. The irony is that the same Democratic Party which orchestrated the 2011 crackdowns of the Occupy Wall Street camps don’t perceive the irony of it all. They are not threatened by the Capitol Police: they’re protected by them.
The irony is that their party convention next month has been labeled a National Security special event. Any protesters attempting to breach the fence protecting the official bigwig activists will be subject to bodily harm and arrest. The congress-critters conveniently passed a special law a couple of years ago (HR 347) protecting their pampered butts from just such a populist eventuality. Whenever the pols lurch forth from beneath their Dome, going out in public to raise money and make promises from afar to the proles, the Secret Service is legally allowed, by whatever means necessary, to keep any malcontents from getting too extremely loud or incredibly close.
Of course, there never were any Congressional sit-down strikes by Democrats protesting such sadistic austerian measures as food stamp cuts and the end of long-term unemployment insurance in the wake of the financial collapse. There were no outbursts of We Shall Overcome when it came time to appropriate a trillion-plus dollars for endless wars and their associated drones, bombs, guns and bullets.
As Glenn Greenwald reported in The Intercept this week, the mass shooting in Orlando has been the perfect excuse for hawkish Democrats like Senator Dianne Feinstein to double down on the brutal, violent and lucrative War on Terror while cynically hiding the real agenda under the wedge issue of domestic “gun control.”
Here’s what the millionaire civil rights sit-down strike is really all about:
Led by their propaganda outlet, Center for American Progress (CAP), Democrats now want to empower the Justice Department — without any judicial adjudication — to unilaterally bar citizens who have not been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime from purchasing guns.
Worse than the measure itself is the rancid rhetoric they are using. To justify this new list, Democrats, in unison, are actually arguing that the U.S. government must constrain people whom they are now calling “potential terrorists.” Just spend a moment pondering how creepy and Orwellian that phrase is in the context of government designations.
What is a “potential terrorist”? Isn’t everyone that? And who wants the U.S. government empowered to unilaterally restrict what citizens can do based on predictions or guesses about what they might become or do in the future? Does anyone have any doubt that this will fall disproportionately on certain groups and types of people?
It’s political theater designed to embarrass and provoke the Greater Evilists, who are so evil and beholden to the NRA that they’re even willing to put guns in the hands of terrorists on watch-lists! It’s even worse than the Democrats and Republicans joining together to sell billions of dollars’ worth of arms to despots in places where they still chop people’s heads off to teach them a lesson. The Dems’ championship of the “No Fly, No Buy” legislation might prevent a death or two, but it’s essentially a tainted band-aid with the adhesive removed. It’s also a blatant display of racial and ethnic profiling, since it would mainly target Muslims and any other “Others” who are spotted wearing turbans, having darker skins and speaking with accents.
We shouldn’t be applauding these Democratic poseurs, who’ve wasted no time blasting out their buck-raking emails fast and furious, urging us to show “solidarity” with them by donating our dwindling dollars to their campaigns:
They snuck in phones, took to Facebook and Twitter — they have shown determination and grit in the face of nonsensical obstruction.
I’ve met too many families who’ve suffered after losing someone to gun violence. I’ve seen their pain and their frustration. I’ve held them while they cried, and mourned with them in their loss.
So today, as this remarkable piece of activism continues to unfold, I am so proud of my fellow Democrats. I want them to know I’m by their side. If you are, too, add your name today:
We should be calling them out for the hypocrites they truly are.