Henderson: Ryan Was Right, Dems’ Sit-In A Publicity Stunt

Even If People Approve, Dems Sit-In Was Just For Publicity

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The sit-in that began Wednesday by Democrats at the U.S. House of Representatives has been described as an “extraordinary” event by some media folk and a “publicity stunt” by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
I think Ryan probably is closer to being right.

The sight of Dems encamped on the House floor made for interesting television, for sure. And it did call out Ryan and other Republicans for their piety following the recent Orlando massacre while refusing to do anything about the proliferation of guns in America.

I don’t think Ryan and members of his party care, though.

There won’t be any meaningful legislation passed for gun control as long as Republicans control the House and Senate. That’s not political commentary, it’s just reality.

The mass murder of elementary school students in Newtown, Conn. just gave rise to another National Rifle Association talking point: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun …. blah, blah, blah.”
Subsequent massacres in other places had no impact. Having one of their own members, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, nearly assassinated resulted in outpourings of sympathy, but no legislation.

Republicans, and the voters who sent them to Congress, embrace guns with an almost other-worldly zeal.
Maybe that’s just who we are now as a nation.

I think that will change at some point, as these things tend to go in cycles. If Democrats are successful in trashing Donald Trump to the point where it leads to a down-ballot tsunami this fall, that might bring about a new attitude on this issue in Washington.

Even if that happens, though, I doubt the hard-core gun supporters will change one bit. They seem to interpret the Second Amendment as giving them to right to not only bear arms, but almost a duty. It goes their basic mistrust of public institutions and the ability of law enforcement to adequately protect them.

As guns get more powerful and available, the most hardened supporters become even more heavily armed than they are now. And why? Because, they will argue, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun … blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, our basic way of life is being changed.

For many, that includes a morning checklist before they walk out the door: keys (check), wallet (check), cell phone (check), Glock (check). The more ingrained being armed becomes in the daily routine, the more difficult opponents will find it to change that habit.
That brings us back to the Democratic sit-in.

I thought Ryan handled it as well as anyone could under the circumstance. But I also think Democrats felt they had no choice. They feel trampled under a Republican agenda that ignores any attempt to curb violence by reducing the number of guns on the street.

So they opted for a publicity stunt to get their message across and they got the attention they wanted. As long as Republicans run Congress, though, that is all they will get, because, you know … blah, blah, blah.

After nearly 42 years as both a sports and news columnist, along with a variety of other roles, at the Tampa Tribune, Joe Henderson brings his slant on politics and sports to NewsTalkFlorida.com and SportsTalkFlorida.com. Originally from the small town of Lebanon, Ohio, Joe resides outside of Tampa with Elaine, his wife of more than 35 years. Their two grown sons stop by when there is time, and their faithful Watch Cat, Sassy is always on guard.