The House Democrats’ sit-in, which was aimed towards pushing gun regulations to a vote after the Orlando nightclub shooting, has ended after almost 26 hours. The atmosphere grew chaotic on Wednesday night as Speaker Paul Ryan attempted to take back control of the floor to no avail. Steadfast civil-rights legend John Lewis led the group of Democrats, who hoped to bring better results than the Senate’s 15-hour filibuster and failed measure votes. That flop was to be expected when campaign funds from the NRA speak louder than actions.
No major agreement happened to end the sit-in, but the general plan is for the House to break until after the July 4 holiday. Ryan, who called the protest a “publicity stunt,” expresses no intentions of allowing a vote for the proposed bills. Ryan’s position is that the bills would take away constitutional rights without due process, and there’s no budging on either side. Still and after more than a day of emotional speeches, Lewis and the others (including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel) emerged on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building. Pelosi thanked the crowd of supporters for their invaluable help, and Lewis spoke to reporters:
“By sitting in, we’re really standing up for the rest of America. It’s not a struggle that lasts for one day, one week, one month, one year. We’re going to win. We’re going to win big. Thank you for all you support. Don’t give up, don’t give in. Keep the faith. Keep your eyes on the prize.”
Lewis also reminded the crowd that “no one can afford to stay home on election day,” which is yet another hint that November could present voting consequences. And that’s also a message to members of Congress who expressed thoughts and prayers after the Orlando massacre but will not enlighten further gun control votes. Meanwhile in the Senate, leaders also shelved their lengthy debate on gun control to address the Zika virus and Puerto Rican debt before recess.
Here’s the video of Pelosi and Lewis speaking to the crowd before standing together with the group and singing, “We Shall Overcome.”