Earlier this week, a number of House Democrats, as Emily put it earlier, found their spines. If you haven’t watched the footage yet, I SO INCREDIBLY HIGHLY recommend you do so now. Skip to the 1:18:00 mark, when John Lewis speaks, followed by his refusal to yield the floor, inviting his fellow Dems to join him, and then to sit.
A lot of people saw this sit-in, or occupation, as a beacon of hope and strength. Lewis declared all they were fighting for was the ability to do their job, to vote, to listen to the American public. And those of us who beg to be listened to, we found images like these to be impossibly exciting:
And yet many had a negative reaction to the sit-in. It was called childish, rule-breaking, and whatever other feelings they felt. And I’m not even here to criticize those rational, opinionated people who don’t appreciate or like or agree with what these Democrats are doing. But I WILL criticize those who go beyond normal human criticism to TOTAL FUCKING NUTJOB NONSENSE WORDS. Take, for instance, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had this to say about the sit-in, around the time he also ordered C-SPAN cameras be shut off, apparently forgetting that social media is a thing, and that we were all still watching anyway.
Anyway, here’s what Ryan had to offer by way of bandwagon invitation:
Luckily, a whole bunch of Twitter people were quick to tell Ryan what a goddamn idiot he is. An idiot for being wrong—
And somehow also an idiot for being right—
If only someone knew what they wanted publicity for… Boy, that would sure change the context. pic.twitter.com/2UCbQvRwS0— Brock Wilbur (@brockwilbur) June 23, 2016
And an idiot for being straight-up hypocritical.
However, the award for pure dumbest response imaginable may have to go to Rep. Mark Walker, who tweeted this moronic babble:
Calling this a sit-in is a disgrace to Woolworth's. They sat-in for rights. Dems are "sitting-in" to strip them away https://t.co/uBT0cPqsjT— Rep. Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) June 22, 2016
Just in case anyone out there isn’t aware of who John Lewis, the congressman leading the sit-in, actually is, here you go:
John Lewis staging a sit-in Nashville in the 1960s v John Lewis staging a sit-in in Washington in 2016 pic.twitter.com/w2EoTG7fWj— georgia (@normanisreyes) June 22, 2016
The term “American Hero” gets thrown around a lot, but John Lewis is that actual thing, in the purest sense of those words.
Mark Walker, by the way, is a white dude born in 1969, nine years after Lewis participated in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, four years after he helped lead the march on Selma; by ‘69, Lewis had led innumerable protests with incalculable results, and had been beaten and arrested dozens or more— countless, really— times for his belief in equality. This is a man who has always been dedicated to stirring up (and sitting down for) “good trouble.” And that’s exactly what he did this week.
So fuck you, Walker and anyone who agrees with his sentiment, for reducing Civil Rights to “Woolworth’s,” and for not even bothering to realize that the token you’re using as your defense was driven by the man you’re condemning.