My Man, Bobby Rush!
I was home sick yesterday and when I finally got up, what should I see when I fired up the television? A news clip of Representative Bobby Rush (D – Illinois) being escorted off the House floor for wearing a hoodie. Right on, Bobby! Right on! As the Trayvon Martin tragedy continues to grow and media continues to miss salient points (thanks, Geraldo), the symbolism evolving out of this debacle takes on a life of its own.
As Representative Rush began his quick change into a hoodie and sunglasses, the presiding speaker, Representative Gregg Harper (R – Mississippi) (hey, wasn’t I just blogging about Mississippi the other day?), called Rush out of order (repeatedly) while Rush continued reading from the Bible before he was escorted out of the chamber.
According to House Rule XVII, Section 3, hats are prohibited in the House. Specifically, "During the session of the House, a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not wear a hat..."
Yes, a hoodie is considered a hat. Rather than take the opportunity to express outrage,, sympathy, or even concern for the tragedy, most of Representative Rush’s Democratic colleagues downplayed the incident, with the Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, recalling that when she came to Congress, women weren’t allowed to wear pants.
So what? What does that have to do with anything? This is not about the dress code in some high school, this isn’t even about the hoodie. It’s about drawing and keeping attention on a senseless tragedy that demands focus, explanation, and action. The more days that pass without any local, state or government action on this tragedy only deepens the divide. Thank you Bobby Rush for keeping Trayvon Martin’s killing in the spotlight.