More than 40 Democrats are currently staging a “sit-in” in the House chamber. “Staging” is the appropriate term, because this is not political “action”; it’s political theater. The refusal of the House’s Republican leadership to bring up a gun-control bill for a vote — the ostensible cause of this grandstanding — is not denying anyone their rights and isn’t “unjust.” The well of the House isn’t a Montgomery lunch counter in 1960. But nostalgic Democrats long ago figured out that, when all else fails, invoke Selma. So, predictably, John Lewis — who once upon a time knew what actual civil-rights violations looked like — is spearheading this farce, and Sheila Jackson-Lee, never one to miss a moment of hyperbole, is calling on Congress to “break the shackles.”
This episode is a neat little demonstration of just how topsy-turvy the moral universe of the Democratic party has become. What they are actually demanding, in the form of a “no-buy” list of the sort proposed by Senator Chris Murphy in his filibuster last week (14 hours of theater that had even Philip Glass fans in the Slough of Despond), is the abrogation of American citizens’ Fifth Amendment rights in order to then strip them of their Second Amendment rights. Meanwhile, anyone who uses their First Amendment right to oppose this scheme is accused of wanting to sell guns to ISIS (as Murphy and Elizabeth Warren have both said). It would be difficult to think of a better demonstration of Democrats’ wholehearted embrace of an ends-justify-the-means philosophy of governing.
What is more, Democrats refuse to acknowledge that their end here simply is not popular. There is no indication that Congress is on board with these sorts of proposals — as indicated by the failure of all four bills in the Senate earlier this week — and the American electorate has a strongly favorable view of the Second Amendment. The approval rating of the much-maligned NRA is higher than that of Congress, either party, or either of the two major presidential candidates. The Democrats are engaging in pure, undiluted moral showmanship.
Alas, it looks like they’re set to keep this charade up — California senator Barbara Boxer recently arrived with a box of granola bars (ETA of juice boxes unknown) — so the next several hours promise to be full of sanctimonious garment-rending and breathless, wall-to-wall reporting about what a “historic” occasion this is. Which, for those concerned about keeping a constitutional republic, it is.