The opening salvo in the battle to take back the House of Representatives was fired today, and it damned near broke the Internet:
As Democratic members of Congress staged a dramatic demonstration on the floor of the House of Representatives, seeking action on gun control legislation, the television cameras up in the balcony were restricted from showing the scene. That's because the cameras are operated and controlled by the government -- specifically, the Republican leaders of the House and the recording studio that works for them.
So Democrats live streamed the sit-in with their cell phones instead.
The protest action continued into the early hours of Thursday.
C-SPAN, CNN and other cable channels tapped into the congressional Periscope and Facebook Live streams in ways that weren't possible a decade ago.
Lawmakers also posted videos on Snapchat, uploaded photos to Instagram and sent out urgent tweets on Twitter. But it was Periscope that received the most media attention during the sit-in -- a fact sure to be celebrated by the app's owner Twitter (TWTR, Tech30).
House Republicans sought to end the extraordinary day of drama in the early hours of Thursday morning by adjourning for a recess that will last through July 5.
Democrats, however, have promised to continue -- without TV cameras, lights or a legislative session. They'll publish the protest themselves, using the new digital methods.
This is a critical aspect of the story--the Republicans cannot grasp the importance of the social media already being harnessed by Democrats. They haven't figured out that the smart move would have been to bring the vote to the floor quickly and quietly. They're going to lose control of the House and Senate this fall, and their polls are telling them this, and the Democrats just united and put the full weight of common sense behind throwing every Teabilly hick out of Federal office.
The fight of our time is not just gun control or bringing a vote to the floor of the House. The fight of our time is to take the Congress away from a radical group of individuals who refuse to let anyone debate anything in order to protect the billionaire class from being inconvenienced by the will of the people.
Whether we're talking about Hillary's website, the commanding lead that Democrats have in fundraising, and the people-centric power of being able to use apps that confuse old people and make them run for the exits, there's no question as to what the last 24 hours have meant to the people who are going to swarm the capitol and support the ideas being debated. They are well past the idea that the one percent need to be put in check. They are well past the idea that we're going to run from debates on the floor of the House, where very little work is being done to alleviate the suffering of the American people. They are well past putting up with any of the shit that has gone down.
What does it mean? It means a lot that they are even there.
It means the end of tolerating gun violence.
It means the end of business as usual as the minority party in the House.
It means the end of any discussion about "Dems in Disarray."
This is the kind of coordinated messaging that the Democratic Party is doing the right way. They timed this perfectly. It stole the hot air and the muffled thunder of Donald Trump's ridiculous anti-Hillary Clinton speech and it left it by the side of the road with no tires and a broomstick jammed into the gas tank--a real dick move, if you ask me, but the kind of dick move you pull on a clown with no class. It left Trump flailing around in a world where the only people who could possibly save him are now going to have to fight for their political lives against a Democratic Party messaging machine that combines the '60s and the teens into a lethal ball of snark covered in righteous outrage.
Kudos to Bernie Sanders for showing up. Kudos to the lofty idealists in the Senate for showing up with snacks. And the greatest kudos of all for the American people. If they stand behind the Democrats, the Republicans will break, en masse, in order to hold onto their jobs.
Remember the government shutdown? This is bigger. This is bigger because you have polls behind what the Democrats are doing that run at least 80% in favor of common sense gun laws. You have law enforcement, military leaders, and business people behind, of all parties, the Democratic Party. This is the story of the summer. If this sit-in brings a vote to the floor, it's all but over for Paul Ryan. He may resign at the end of all of this. You can see his disgust with not only being on the losing side of history but as the cat herder for the most insane group of cats that ever went crazy on the catnip and ate the canary full of strychnine.
Ryan made the biggest rookie mistake of all time. He pretended they weren't there--that they didn't have the moral authority of tens upon tens of thousands of people, dead from gun violence behind their efforts--and he tried to mock them.
Does John Lewis look like the sort of man anyone should mock?
The Republican Party is now on record defending the rights of terrorists to buy guns in this country. How would you like to defend that record back home?
This movement will not only break the Congress but it will break across the idea that we can't do anything to change our insane gun laws. It will be heartbreaking if it fizzles out. Unlike the Malheur occupation, the snacks being brought to bear are the right ones, and the reasoning behind it is as solid as any we have ever seen in American civil disobedience.
All you can do right now is pull for the home team and give them your support.