But this isn’t where it ends. Despite the lack of cameras or microphones, these leaders are reaching out to the American people…directly. When the House isn’t in session, average citizens are invited to visit the floor of the House, and so it is right now. If you go to the Hill, you can go down to the floor, and sit, and listen (and clap and cheer) as member after member after member stands up and talks about energy.
I can think of no other legislature in the world that lets its citizens do this. No legislature that allows its citizens to enter the legislative chamber, sit in the seats of the legislators themselves, and essentially have an unfiltered dialogue. This is truly a unique event, even in the world’s greatest democratic republic. Groups of school-aged children who are brought in take it as a matter of fact that they can sit in a congressman’s seat.
Not so for me. I was incredibly moved as I sat there, taking it all in. Where I was, who was around me, who was speaking, what they were saying. There were about 150 people in the chamber when I was there, mostly everyday Americans visiting DC, each impacted deeply by the subject being discussed. And yet there they say, on an equal playing field with their elected officials, having a conversation uninterrupted by commercials, cameras, sound bites. It was hard for me to leave.
Minority Leader John Boehner has promised to carry this on until the Republican Convention. I urge you, if you are near DC or planning on coming to DC, go to Capitol Hill. See for yourself the unbelievable events happening there. Our leaders are once again showing the courage which propelled them from minority to majority in 1994.