“You’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus—and you’ve got to make it stop,” activist Mario Savio said during the Berkeley, California, counterculture protests of the 1960s.
On Saturday, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., a socialist member of “the squad” in Congress, appeared to be channeling Savio as he pulled a fire-alarm lever in a congressional office building that nearly shut down the function of our sacred temple of democracy, as some have called the U.S. Capitol.
It was a convenient moment to “accidentally” pull the fire alarm switch. The House was prepared to make an 11th-hour vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government until mid-November. Delay could have had significant consequences, including a government shutdown.
One might say that pulling the alarm was interfering with the democratic process of Congress. He’s now under investigation in the House.
Bowman insisted it was all a simple mistake.
“Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes, but today would not open,” Bowman wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday. He explained that he pulled the fire alarm thinking that it would open the door.
You can read Bowman’s full statement here.
Despite his contention that he supported passing the continuing resolution, left-wing Democrats had mounted strong opposition to the House bill. Delaying a vote could have been used as a convenient way to stop the vote, send the government into shutdown, and cause maximum chaos.
This would hardly be the first time a socialist tried to cause chaos for the system to manipulate events. Bowman’s Instagram page says that he “causes good trouble.” Hmmm.
The New York Post published pictures of the door and how it would have looked from the congressman’s perspective. There are red warning signs all over, saying that this was an emergency exit.
The door would have opened had he pushed it for three seconds as the sign on the door says in giant letters.
Bowman has been in Congress since 2021. It seems hard to believe he wasn’t familiar with these kinds of doors, which are encountered frequently in congressional office buildings.
A messaging document that Bowman sent around to Democrats says that the door signage was “unnecessarily confusing.”
Honestly, it couldn’t have been less confusing. You know what is actually unnecessarily confusing? The no-parking signs scattered about Washington, D.C., which are impossible to decipher.
It also didn’t make sense that Bowman needed to go outside to rush to a vote. He could have easily used one of the connected tunnels, as Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., pointed out on X.
Something else to keep in mind is that before he became an elected official, Bowman was a teacher and middle school principal in the Bronx, New York.
Did Bowman simply copy the old middle school fire alarm trick? In most such instances, a student caught pulling that prank would face serious consequences.
Shouldn’t the congressman be held to much higher standards than middle school students?
“This is the United States Congress. It’s not a New York City public high school,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., said on Fox News on Monday. “And, of all people, Jamaal Bowman knows the old fire alarm trick, because he was a high school principal. And quite frankly, when he was the high school principal, there were serious ramifications if a student were to do that … including expulsion.”
Absolutely. Pulling a fire alarm is, in many instances, a crime. Intentionally interfering with the operation of Congress is a more serious crime.
Malliotakis said she would introduce a resolution to expel Bowman from Congress.
Expelling Bowman would require a two-thirds vote in the House. Reps. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., and Lisa McClain, R-Mich., are working on a resolution to censure Bowman, which would require a simple majority. That would be more like a slap on the wrist.
Former President Donald Trump weighed in on the situation. He said that Bowman should be arrested for his actions.
“Will Congressman [Jamaal] Bowman be prosecuted and imprisoned for very dangerously pulling and setting off the main fire alarm system in order to stop a Congressional vote that was going on in D.C.,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post on Sunday.
Let’s consider for a moment what would happen to a regular person, say a protester, if he or she pulled a fire alarm in a congressional office building.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., drew this connection, too, saying that we should consider “how other people were treated when they come in and wanted to change the course of what was happening in the building.”
Right now, a socialist and former teacher wants us to believe a story that’s as plausible as “the dog ate my homework.”
Sure, it’s possible that Bowman’s story is true. But given that his initial list of talking points listed calling Republicans “Nazis,” he clearly wasn’t looking to earn the goodwill of his electoral opponents.
Bowman later apologized and blamed his staff for the “Nazi” comment, saying that it was an “inappropriate use of the term ‘Nazi’ without my consent.”
The bottom line remains this: If the allegations are determined to be true, he should expect serious consequences.
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