I like where I live. Unlike so many others, I don’t complain much about Connecticut–even if I do make fun of it from time to time. But I’m especially proud to be from here this week. Our Democratic Representative Jim Himes kicked it off with a small but meaningful protest of the federal government’s inaction on gun control after yet another mass shooting. He said:
Silence – that is what we offer in America that supports many of the things we could do to slow the bloodbath – silence – not me, not anymore.
And then he refused to partake in the moment of silence in the House. The protest made news, but didn’t do too much to push the gun control agenda forward. Unless, of course, you consider what happened in the Senate a couple of days later an extension of that act.
On Wednesday, Senator Chris Murphy launched a not-technically-a-filibuster-filibuster and held the floor–along with some help from his sane (and mostly democratic) colleagues –including Dick Blumenthal–who peppered him with questions. He held the floor for about 14 hours, officially becoming our version of Hodor. #holdthefloor
Eventually Murphy ended his filibuster when he succeeded in getting Republicans to agree to hold a vote on gun control measures. (When you think about it, that’s a pretty small request.) I didn’t watch all 14 hours, but I did tune in throughout the day and I was mostly impressed by the cogent arguments being made, and the meaningful discussion being had. (Get a good recap here.) You know, unlike that time Ted Cruz–who resembles the Nazi whose face was melted in Raiders of the Lost Ark more than he resembles a functional member of the government–read Green Eggs and Ham to…uh…protest Obamacare, I guess. It’s enough to make you imagine a world in which our elected representatives actually have meaningful discussions about issues using real, honest to goodness facts and then arrive at smart compromises. Instead we have a system in which one party is so afraid of the actual facts of most situations that they resort to denying science and have actually made this man their presidential nominee in the face of their own half-way decent judgement.
But something less high profile also happened in Connecticut this week. Steven Hayes, one of two men convicted in the Cheshire murders, was taken off of death row and sentenced to life without parole. He is the first of the 11 people on death row in Connecticut to be resentenced. I realize that this is controversial. Surely if anyone ever deserved the death penalty, Hayes does. Of course, if you don’t believe in the death penalty–which our state officially does not–you can’t go changing the laws willy nilly for individual criminals.
But if you still need help coping with this news, just think of it this way. The appeals are over. You never have to hear from these guys again.