Saturday, April 29, 2006

OK, So maybe I'm easily impressed...

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., is escorted to a police vehicle by members of the Uniform Division of the Secret Service after his arrest during a demonstration outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington. Associated Press photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais
... But it looks like Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA [3rd District]) will get my vote again when his name is on the ballot.

McGovern, along with four other members of the House (Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA); and Rep. John Olver (D-MA)) were arrested Friday (4/29/06) at a protest that blocked the entrance to the Sudanese embassy in Washington D.C.

According to the Boston Globe, the congressmen were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after they and the protesters refused to disperse after being requested to do so by uniformed Secret Service agents.
''For us, this is a minor inconvenience," McGovern said at the police station after his release. ''But there is a genocide going on, and the world is watching it unfold. For us to spend a couple of hours in jail is nothing."

The lawmakers, along with three of their colleagues and several other activists, demanded that the Sudanese end the killings in Darfur, which has been the site of a brutal and bloody internal conflict since rebels challenged the Sudanese government in 2003. International agencies estimate that between 140,000 to 400,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict, which has spilled over to Chad.

''They are slaughtering people, families, entire villages," Olver said. ''What we are doing today is adding weight" to growing international demands for intervention in the troubled west Sudanese region, he said.
The SF Chronicle reports:
"If you're looking for lack of international morality, Darfur encompasses all aspects," Lantos said before his arrest. "Here we see the slaughter of innocent black women, children and men by a monstrous regime. ... I'm appalled by the relative lack of interest in most civilized countries. This is murder on a grand scale."

Lantos, 78, a 25-year veteran of the House, began calling for an international intervention in Sudan in the spring of 2004. The only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in Congress, Lantos has urged the Bush administration to take action. He led the debate in Congress to label the situation in Sudan a genocide in the summer of 2004, and soon after, the Bush administration declared it a genocide.

Yes, it's grandstanding.

And some might say it is ill-represented for "the dignity of the House."

But the arrest of 5 congressmen *will* get more media exposure of the issue, and afford a more wide ranging pulpit, than if 50 "ordinary citizens" are arrested for the same non-violent protest.

In a more serious tone, however, the images of 5 Democrat congresscritters being frisked, cuffed and put into patrol cars is so invigorating to the likes of the 101st Keyboard Brigade.

I mean, where can the Democrats look to for guidance?

Offending the dignity of the House this way doesn't hold a candle to the prospects of the House Speaker being censured for abuse of power or the Senate Majority Leader announcing a professional medical diagnosis about a patient he had never seen in the flesh.

And being booked for disorderly conduct while protesting against oppression, corruption and genocide isn't anywhere as impressive in your home district as being booked for wire fraud and money laundering or being under investigation by the SEC for insider trading.

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