Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011: Symbolism and Perspective on the House Floor

By Sylvia Gurinsky

A little after 7 p.m. last night, some perspective showed up in the United States House of Representatives - in the person of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

Giffords did much more than cast a vote to prevent this country from going into financial default.

During the debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling, Congress - the House in particular - has turned itself into something far below algae on the food chain and somewhere beneath Charlie Sheen and Wall Street bankers on the popularity level. The behavior of a number of members of Congress during the debate - including South Florida's own Allen West - was abominable.

By flying to Washington to cast her vote, Giffords, who is still recovering from a horrific January shooting in her Tuscon district, provided a quiet reminder of the cost of hatred and the dignity shown by those who overcome it.

The House managed to forget its differences for those few moments as its members cheered her.

Is it possible that such agreement can happen again in the next few years without such a powerful reason for it? Getting this country back to business requires its elected officials to work together.

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