The United States House of Representatives Democrat’s sit in has been fascinating to watch.
The symbolism of the action being led by Representative John Lewis, a leader in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s was powerful. John Lewis was once the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which trained many people in the theory and techniques of nonviolent direct action. His book, “Walking with the Wind” is well written and very interesting history of the civil rights movement and SNCC.
It is highly unusual that this technique needed to be employed in the very institution that is supposed to craft the legislation that is often the goal of nonviolent action. This points to the failure of the Congress to fulfill its purpose, by which we create laws to support a just society.
We would like to think Congress is the place where ideas are discussed, and votes are taken to implement the desires of the American people. Instead, Congress has become about promoting a given Party’s agenda, which is too often contrary to the will of the majority of the people. Both major Parties have been guilty of this, which is most commonly the result of the corruption of the political process by corporate money and lobbyists.
Despite the problems with voter suppression, gerrymandering, and concerns about manipulation of voting machines and the election process, the people still have the power to address this by electing politicians who will stand for them if enough people actually vote.
In the meantime, sometimes We the People have to employ nonviolent direct actions ourselves.