I was in D.C. yesterday at the Code Red Rally to Kill the Bill on Capitol Hill. You’ve already heard the most egregious news:
Congressmen John Lewis called a nigger.
Congressman Barney Frank called a faggot.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver spat on.
An afternoon in the sun with my overwrought, but politically/historically illiterate, countrymen is an eye-opener. Reasonable arguments can be made against this bill – from both sides – but I heard none of them yesterday. What I heard convinced me more that the Tea Party, out in force in our nation’s capital, is likely to do more harm to the GOP than it may do to us. From a civic perspective, I have to like that the Tea Party brings out masses previously disengaged, but as yet they haven’t moved beyond fist-waving. They generate noise, but so does a tantruming 3-year-old, with as much historical perspective.
We encountered mostly non-voters (I asked) who wanted to “take over” Congress with no recognition of the irony that they already have the power to do that, but fail to exercise it. The rhetoric was 100% spewage from Glenn Beck in a universe where talk show hosts are deemed 100% credible.
These people simply didn’t know stuff. Old guys on Medicare “horrified” at government health care. A lady: this “takes away my Medicare.” Her friend: “no, it means we have to take Medicare whether we want to or not.” Reconciliation demonized, but eyes glaze with the news that all major changes in health care in 3 decades came via reconciliation … and Republicans use it too.
Tea Party tries to liberate
Rayburn Office Bldg. (click to enlarge)
After a couple hours rallyers were supposed to lobby. But it was a nice day, and lobbying’s not fun like a lawn party. So, as conservative star power like Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), Mike Pence (R-Indiana), Tom Price (R-Georgia) and Marcia Blackburn (R-TN), and a coiffed, shiny Jon Voight moved among adoring white people, rallyers re-applied sunscreen and looked for trouble. A mob tried to liberate the Rayburn House Office Building, bewildered as to why Capitol Police denied them overtake of the building.