Until the Republican-led Congress agrees to hold a vote on two bills that would prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns, House Democrats's sit-in may not end. Naturally, Paul Ryan, among others watching the spectacle, is wondering when the House will return to its quiet, quite frankly boring state. Deciding to wait it out, Republicans adjourned the House until July 4 as sit-in participants remained stationed. But the Democrats' cause deserves a little more legitimacy than that approach yields. Waiting for the sit-in to gradually come to an end simply misses the point, because concern over gun violence in America won't diminish any time soon.
For one, the wounds are long-lasting. They won't heal with time, especially if the same mass shooting trend continues. The death of 49 people at gay nightclub Pulse Orlando has goes down as the deadliest mass shooting in American history. The new gun control bills currently being pushed by Democrats potentially could have prevented the shooter, who was the FBI's terrorist watch list twice, from legally purchasing any type of firearm, let alone an AR-15 rifle.
Given the severity of his crime, the Democrats' request that a vote simply be held on the matter is a humble one. Though they hope House Republicans will vote in favor of the two bills, they are, by no means, demanding it. They simply ask that Ryan fulfill his democratic duty by allowing them to decide. Still, House Republicans would rather wait it out.
One counter-argument suggests that House members will take advantage of these types of dramatic events in the future if Ryan doesn't stand his ground now. In other words, any bill will have to be opened up for a vote if this one succeeds. But there are over 60 Democrats participating in this sit-in and the call for some form of gun control legislation isn't the product of a special interest gimmick. People care about this issue to the extent they're willing to spend the night on the steps of the Capitol building. A discussion over gun control legislation has become a staple in national dialogue. In the most basic sense, Ryan is barring that discussion — one that's happening in homes across America — from happening on the House floor.
Many say the modern individual doesn't focus enough on the present moment. If we're not on our phones, we're wondering what will happen tomorrow or regretting a decision we made yesterday or, sometimes, even a year ago. These distractions fog our understanding of the events unfolding right before our eyes. It's impossible to foresee a true end to the national debate over gun control unless action is taken.
In the meantime, the question "when will the Dems' sit-in end?" is a moot point. If anything deserves to be appreciated for its in-the-moment spontaneity and impassioned drive, it's this historic display of civil disobedience. And its present moment is all that matters right now.