For weeks, Democrats have lamented that moments of silence for the victims of gun violence are empty gestures if they’re not paired with actions to stop future violence. But even before the shootings in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino, one Democrat has been silently protesting Congress’s inaction by refusing to participate in the House’s ritual recognition of the fallen.
“Another mass shooting, another moment of silence,” Rep. Robin Kelly said Tuesday. “I haven’t stood [for a moment of silence] for a year. … I can’t stand anymore. Some people may feel that’s disrespectful, but I feel it’s respectful to the victims and to their families. When is this gonna end? When are we gonna do more than stand? When are we going start taking action?”
Kelly’s message echoes what Democrats have been saying in recent weeks, though few others have joined her seated protests. “ A moment of silence is not action,” said Democratic Caucus chair Xavier Becerra. “If the only thing Congress is going to do is hold moments of silence every time someone is tragically gunned down … we must act.”
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had a similar message Tuesday. “We have moments of silence on the floor over and over again on the occasion of high-profile attacks on our people, but we cannot remain silent,” she said. “For us to honor the responsibilities that we have to protect and defend the American people—we must not only have moments of silence, we must have days of action.”