Monday, June 27, 2016

#179 / Point Of Order

Members of the House of Representatives, led by Congress Member John Lewis (a Democratic Congress Member from Georgia, and a civil rights hero, shown at the center of the picture above), carried out a sit-in on the floor of the House, demanding that the House of Representatives be permitted to vote on a bill that would prevent persons on a terrorist watch list from buying automatic weapons. 

It is no surprise that The Wall Street Journal did not approve of the sit-in, and I guess it's no surprise that The Journal explained its reason for disapproving the sit-in in these terms

The first obligation of political leadership is to maintain order.

I would suggest that The Journal is wrong, and that the first obligation of political leadership is to find a way to make our political institutions respond to the needs and desires of the people.

It may be (though I doubt it) that the people of the United States actually want the current situation to continue, in which it is possible for virtually anyone to buy the kind of automatic weaponry that is designed to be used on a military battlefield. 

One way to find out about that, of course, is to let the people's elected representatives vote on the question. While it may be presumed, for the purposes of argument, that the people's elected representatives actually do represent what the people want, the only way to know that is to let the people judge their representatives by observing their actual votes. If the people being represented don't agree with what their representatives are doing (once they know what they're doing) it is possible, at least theoretically, for the people to replace non-representative "representatives." 

The first obligation of political leadership is to make our political institutions work the way they are supposed to. 

Many thanks to John Lewis, and to the Democrats who sat with him, who are trying to do just that with a dysfunctional Congress that can't, apparently, do anything at all. 

Not even, it appears, allow a debate and vote on one of the issues that most concerns the public.

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