If irony wasn’t dead, I’d say how ironic it was that in the midst of this season of Advent, in which we look to the nebulous future, a time-not-yet shaped by our ability to be patient and hopeful and tense and a bit sorrowful about what we cannot see but hope we shall soon see, our societal life is filled with those for whom there is no future.
Coming on the heels of a filibuster in the Senate, House Democrats are staging their own act of political theater in a push for legislation on gun violence.
Led by Civil Rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a group of Democrats are holding a sit-in on the floor of the House.
The Senate’s plans to debate a spending bill for the Justice Department went out the window June 15, as Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) took the floor, beginning what turned into a 15-hour filibuster.
Murphy launched the talk-a-thon to protest the Senate’s lack of movement on legislation to curb gun violence.
“I'm prepared to stand on this floor and talk […] for, frankly, as long as I can because I know that we can come together on this issue.”
That’s how Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) explained his mission on June 15 — to hold the floor until the Senate decides to act on gun violence prevention. Murphy has temporarily yielded to other senators, most notably his fellow democratic Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal, but his filibuster is still going, hours after it started at 11:21 a.m.
Under a cloudy and drizzly sky, across the street from the U.S. Capitol, David Beckmann read passages from the prophet Isaiah.
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God,” read Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and one of several Protestant and Catholic leaders who gathered Wednesday to launch “Faithful Filibuster.”
The effort is intended to remind members of Congress that the government shutdown is hurting poor and vulnerable people.
Following Monday’s three hour closed-door caucus, members of the Senate have begun the confirmation process of President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominees, avoiding what the Washington Post calls a "constitutional showdown.” The Washington Post reports:
Senate negotiators met until about midnight searching for a deal that would avert a showdown on the Senate floor. Rank-and-file senators came out of the meeting late Monday reporting progress on the confirmation prospects of Obama’s selections to head low-profile but influential agencies.
Read more here.
I just spent a wonderful and encouraging weekend with a church leadership team from Reisterstown, Md. I came away filled with hope for this congregation and with admiration for their clergy and lay leaders.
I wish our weak and tiresome political leaders in Washington and state capitals could visit this church in northern Baltimore County and see how mature adults of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints manage to put the congregation first.
They listened, spoke without barbed words and without aggression garbed in niceness.
They voiced their dreams, heard their differences, and then allowed a consensus dream to emerge. They understood the need to move on from yesterday. They were like two healthy parents trying to work a family problem. They seemed to trust each other.
Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster last week against the administration’s drone policy brought a long-simmering debate to a full public boil. Although some have criticized him for “grandstanding,” the Kentucky Republican did all of us a favor. Issues and questions that had been raised primarily by progressive bloggers and peace groups are now in full public view and debate in the mainstream media.
The New York Times carried front page stories both days this weekend. On Saturday, it highlighted the growing opposition to drones from across the political spectrum, writing that Sen. Paul’s filibuster had hit a “bipartisan nerve,” and:
“… animated a surprisingly diverse swath of political interests that includes mainstream civil liberties groups, Republican and Democratic lawmakers, conservative research groups, liberal activists and right-wing conspiracy theorists.”
While I stand with Sen. Rand Paul on the question of the use of militarized spy drones in American airspace and (potentially) on Americans, I am deeply troubled by our use of these weapons in other lands, too, where they are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children and other innocents.
There's something dishonorable about killing without the risk associated with the act, no matter how heinous the target or valuable and beautiful the persons you put at risk in order to personally kill.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu's excitement that Congressional leaders were going through a process known as 'reconciliation' was abated last week when he learned that the procedure was not, in fact, a healing process for two bitterly feuding parties, but rather a technical congressional procedure designed to address budget items and bypass a filibuster.