Friday, December 30, 2016

No Filming on House Floor

So House Republican leadership is going to forbid candid photos and films from the House floor.  Since Democrats protested, the Republicans have slapped on a fine.

I find this distressing.

I don’t know if a court would hold this unconstitutional or not.  They often refuse to rule on “political issues,” like internal government of another branch of government.

There are some legitimate reasons not to want candid photos.  There are embarrassing shots of wardrobe malfunctions, for instance, that are not kind to post, but which might be posted, merely to cause embarrassment.

Also, there is a place for off the record negotiations, though I think that this is likely best done in a Representative’s private office.  It is difficult to have effective negotiations, where you think on your feet, if you think everything will be recorded.  It is distressing how a person changing their mind [singular they] is so commonly regarded as “flip-flopping,” when, in fact, changing one’s mind is often a sign of a healthy open mind and willingness to listen. 

Some people react negatively to others thinking flexibly on their feet and making hypothetical arguments as they consider options and opinions.  I think those who react negatively in this way are survivors of dysfunctional families where questioning and speaking other than to say “Yes, Sir” were punished.  Those people tend to inflict their fear of expression on others, unfortunately.

I can see where politicians want to be able to think and talk without their preliminary remarks being publicized, until they reach a firm conclusion.

However, I am distressed that Republicans respond to protest by adding fines.  This is reflective of just the sort of free speech rejecting attitude that has distressed me coming from DT.  Free speech needs to flourish.  Protest needs to flourish.  That’s part of our democracy.  This type of chilling attitude is reflective of totalitarianism.

However, given that we now have extremely wealth people being placed in high office, I find the need to for candid recording to have a new urgency.  The possibility of corruption is much higher with this degree of money flying around.  If a Representative sees a crime in progress on the floor of the House, he or she needs to be able to document it.  If a Representative sees bullying, that also needs to be documented.

This fear of information is a hallmark of totalitarianism — just what Democrats most fear from Republicans.

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