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Politics PopWrapped | Politics

House Democrats Use Twitter To Document Sit-In

Ashley Perna | PopWrapped Author

Ashley Perna

01/15/2017 11:04 am
PopWrapped | Politics
House Democrats Use Twitter To Document Sit-In | sit-in
Media Courtesy of Twitter

You can't stop the signal.

Nearly 30 Democratic Members of Congress have staged a sit-in on the floor of the House demanding that the Republican-led Congress vote on gun control legislation. They are joined by a number of Senators, and have captured the attention of Americans everywhere. They are giving speeches, reading out the  names of those who have died in mass shootings throughout the United States in recent years, and are changing "no bill, no break" in an effort to motivate their Republican colleagues to do something about the woeful lack of gun control. In light of the sheer volume of mass shootings, including the horrific attack in Orlando earlier this month, they want action to be taken to reduce the risk of these tragedies from occurring in the future. 

The sit-in began with a speech from Georgia's John Lewis, who said that "the time for silence and patience is long gone...the American people are demanding action". He asked if members of Congress had "the courage" to vote on gun control measures, many of which are favoured by a large portion of American citizens, and none of which threaten to take away existing firearms from lawful owners.

Generally speaking, this type of event would be covered by C-Span, who broadcasted the entire filibuster from the Senate just last week. However, the Republican speaker, Paul Ryan, called a recess shortly after the protest began, resulting in all C-Span cameras being shut off. Current legislation, passed by both parties, prohibits C-Span from operating cameras inside the House during recess. Numerous requests from C-Span to have its own cameras on the floor have been made over the years, but each time both the Democrats and the Republicans have refused. 

This means that now, during an incredibly monumental time in America's history, C-Span is unable to bring its viewers current, real time information. Their Twitter account has been bombarded with requests, to the point where they have pinned a tweet letting followers and newcomers know that they, unfortunately, do not control the cameras.

In response to the Republican-imposed black out, C-Span has been linking the tweets and other live feeds of the sit-in from other sources, including a Facebook feed from Beto O'Rourke:

Scott Peters' Periscope stream:

And has been retweeting updates:

Periscope quickly put together a channel to help those hoping to watch the sit-in, by-passing C-Span's involuntary blackout.

Many members of Congress have turned to Twitter and other forms of social media to get their message across, effectively introducing the GOP to the "Streisand Effect". This is a primarily online event, where a person's or party's attempts to hide or block information results in increased popularity or public interest.

Basically, the House Democrats are telling the GOP that they can call a recess, they can block legislation, and they can ensure that the event is not televised, but what they can't do is enforce silence.

As of early this afternoon, more than fifty Democratic Senators and Members of Congress have joined the sit-in.

Since the list was posted there have been many others who have joined in, including Elizabeth Warren.

The House Democrats have received some high profile support:

The protest continues and continues to develop on Twitter, with many using the hashtag #NoBillNoBreak despite the Republican's continued attempts to block public access to events as they unfold. As they say in Serenity, you can't stop the signal.

Keep an eye on PopWrapped for further details as they develop.


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