Democrats are still protesting on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Republicans, meanwhile, have recessed the chamber and have gone home for the next couple of weeks.
What happens now?
I’ve managed to take away a few thoughts from this extraordinary event.
First, we’ve never seen anything like it in Congress, so we have nothing with which to compare it. Democrats decided to put their collective feet down and demand a vote on gun legislation.
They are led by one of the more iconic figures of this country’s civil-rights movement, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who knows a thing or three about sit-ins, civil disobedience and seeking redress of his grievances against the government.
He also knows a thing or three about getting beaten to within an inch of his life by ham-handed cops intent on putting down these protests.
It’s good that nothing like that has happened on the floor of the House. In some government chambers, such a dispute might result in fists and furniture flying. Have you ever seen how, for example, it has gone in Taipei, where the Taiwanese parliament meets?
Also, House Speaker Paul Ryan shouldn’t have shut down the House while the demonstration was occurring. He ordered the cameras turned off, creating a situation where someone on the House floor violated the rules of the body by photographing the protest through ill-gotten means.
It has prompted some in the media to wonder what might be frightening to the speaker, forcing him to seek to silence the debate. Check this out from the Boston Globe:
Lewis and his fellow demonstrators want a vote on whether to enact gun legislation in the wake of the Orlando, Fla., slaughter of 49 people.
They are demanding a vote! Up or down!
House Republicans — failing to follow the lead of their Senate brethren — are refusing to allow a vote.
From where I sit, the seriously outnumbered Democratic congressional minority is making a reasonable request.
Let’s get that vote — and then carry the debate over gun legislation forward!