Monday, July 2, 2012
Another week down, and this was the craziest one yet. As many of you know, this week was monumental for our Congress. The Supreme Court rulings on the Obamacare law and the stolen valor act, as well as the historic contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder both occurred on Friday. All week the Hill was buzzing with rumors regarding the decision that the Supreme Court would hand down, whether the contempt vote would actually happen, and where to go next week once everything was out in the open. On top of the political pressures and tensions present, a tremendous heat wave set in on the city creating a true pressure-cooker feeling. I will not state how I felt about the actual rulings handed down by the Supreme Court, or the outcome of the contempt vote on Eric Holder, however I will say that I got to experience them firsthand. I fought through the crowd of protestors outside the Supreme Court in order to get inside (and emerged with one of the sought-after hard-copies of the Supreme Court’s decision on the healthcare law). The crowd outside the Supreme Court building was a diverse group of people representing both sides of the issue. Although tensions were high, both sides remained peaceful and largely non-confrontational. I had expected to experience very angry protestors from the “losing” side after the ruling was handed down, however the attitudes of those protestors were geared toward finding a solution rather than anger or hatred. This made me feel good, because you could sense the shared American identity. Although these people disagreed on a large issue, their discord was not with each other as human beings. Instead of violence or hate being shown toward the other side, there was a simple resolve to find a solution (or a celebration). That afternoon, I made my way into the U.S. House of Representatives’ Gallery to watch the floor debate and vote on the Resolution to find Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress. The floor debate was about an hour long, and then the vote came up. Not only was it cool to be present for the first time any cabinet-member has been found in contempt of Congress, but I also got to see the Congressman I work for debate the issue. Throughout the debate I witnessed this shared identity again. Although the two sides were highly opposed to one another, the discord remained focused on the issue and not on certain people. Both sides acted professionally toward each other, and showed mutual respect. The way all of the Congressmen carried themselves was great to watch and made me realize that mutual respect is paramount in order to get things done.