Yesterday several GOP House members said on TV they would be keeping their protest on the floor going all night and keeping the gallery open. I wanted to go into DC, get into the gallery, show my support and witness first hand something extraordinary.
At 5pm, I called my Congressman’s office (Frank Wolf VA-10) and they said that even though he wasn’t on the floor, he supported the GOP action on the House floor. I told them I wanted to come down and they said they would give me a gallery pass.
After a half hour drive and an hour on the metro into DC, I got to the Cannon House office building and Rep. Wolf’s office was closed. I couldn’t even get past the security checkpoint.
By now it was after 7pm, so I walked over to the Capitol and asked the Capitol police where the gallery entrance was. The officers were very polite and professional, but it was obvious they didn’t know what was going on.
I got the impression that they were getting conflicting information from the Democratic House leadership (clerk, sergeant at arms etc.) and the Republicans. One of the cops offered to go inside and find out what was going on. He came back and said that the House floor was closed, not just officially, but was really empty and closed down.
I was disappointed. Not just because I had made a long trip for nothing, but because the Republican House members gave incorrect public statements about their plans.
If they had issued a clear public statement to the media that they were going to REALLY pull an all nighter and invited the public to come down and show our support, I’m confidant that certainly hundreds, possibly thousands of us in the DC area would have answered the call.
They had the opportunity to galvanize public support and turn their protest into something larger, something the media could not ignore. But as usual, they failed to unite effectively with their citizen supporters in common cause.
I do appreciate what they did, but they need to understand that they can’t do it alone. They have millions of people who want to support them. We are waiting for leadership, but leadership is more than asking for money every two years.
I tried to do my part and support courageous Republicans. As usual, there weren’t any there.