Bobby Rush: Out of Order for Wearing a Hoodie On the House Floor

The latest person to express solidarity with Trayvon Martin by wearing a hoodie is veteran Representative Bobby Rush, who was unrecognized by the acting speaker… under the prohibition that you can’t wear a hat on the House floor.

Bobby Rush engaged in an interesting bit of political theater today on the floor of the House:

I found the part where he’s reading from the New Testament moving, but I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t challenge the House provision against wearing hats that allowed Gregg Miller to unrecognize him: ”During the session of the House, a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not wear a hat or remain by the Clerk’s desk during the call of the roll or the counting of ballots.”


Rep. Rush is one of many people showing solidarity with Trayvon Martin by donning a hoodie. The Miami Heat, as a team, donned their hoodies in recognition, leading to one of the best short essays I’ve read in awhile, by the Boston Globe’s Mark Feeney:

Another tradition also dates to medieval times, the hood and spirituality. This is the tradition the photograph evokes. Ignore the Heat logo on 12 of the sweatshirts. (One of the photo’s several striking aspects is how it uses athletic garb, something designed for motion, to create a sense of stillness.) This group of hooded young men could be monks or religious figures of some other kind - each a version of the several renderings of St. Francis of Assisi by the 17th-century Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán, or Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s sculpture, commonly known as “Grief,’’ at the Adams Memorial, in Washington, D.C.

The outstanding everywhere-freelancer David Roth also weighed in at The Classical:

That our discourse is so unready for an engagement with an injustice both so viciously specific and so symbolically vast isn’t a surprise, really—much of the media seeks to fit all news into an airless partisan context, the worst of it struggles to diminish a story until it’s small enough to fit into its viewership’s shrunken, selfish hearts, and they’ve done that again, here. And the comments sections, as they do, open a window onto a Hobbesian universe, someplace simpler and crueler than this one, where every ugly thought charges giddily into battle with the most outrageous and toxic ignorance at its back.

In its visual power the Heat’s gesture reminded me of the Black Power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith, but obviously different, and much more sad, in its import. The whole visual discourse over the Martin case—the “grill” picture, Business Insider running a linkbait post using an incorrect picture sourced from Stormfront—has been tremendously unsettling.

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2 years ago
Posted by Hawkeye69

I feel for Trayon's parents and family - to lose a son/brother/grandchild at such a young age, regardless of the circumstances, is a tragedy.

What I struggle with is why THIS killing, under unknown circumstances, has created such an uproar? Where we're the Miami Heat players when the young girl in South FL was killed in a random drive by killing? Where we're the Chicago politicians, self-proclaimed advocates, the press, etc. when yet another young African-American person was killed by a fellow African-American, for no other reason than they were on the wrong block, wore the wrong clothes or looked the wrong way at someone?

There are bigger issues -systemic issues- that need to be addressed here - yet too many "supporters" and "advocates" are not getting to the root cause and instead only seeking to promote themselves. Shame on you for hogging the spotlight and not doing the right thing.

2 years ago
Posted by Julie E

40 murders / 100+ shootings in the month of March, but Bobby Rush cares about something 1200 miles away; why? Because it benefits Bobby Rush to get media coverage.

He'll never express outrage at what's going on in his own community, just as so-called "reverends" won't say a peep unless a gangbanger gets shot by the police.

2 years ago
Posted by Guglielmo Boogliodemus

Bobby be soooo rageous. So rageous. Reverends be soooo rageous. So rageous. But Obama be Soooo outrageous. So outrageous. All be grandstandin like Oprah. When they sing they all ululate like Whitney. Eeeeeeh, they be doin the Whitney! They be doin the Whitney! Lord a mighty.

2 years ago
Posted by Hawkeye69

My heart sinks every time I see a headline on another shooting - especially here in Chicago which obviously hits closer to home.

The Trib article earlier tonight about Dwayne Wade's nephew being shot on the South Side supports my earlier comment. In the article, it quotes Dwayne as saying his "thoughts and prayers are with all involved" (taking the Trib's quotes here - not mine). The article also reports "Wade says he does not have all the details".

Clearly none of us, let alone DW, has "all the details" of the Martin shooting in FL, however it didn't stop DW and the Heat from their soap box stand earlier this week. It will be interesting to see DW's response once we have more details on tonight's shooting.

As a follow up to my earlier post, the recent pictures and videos of the shooter in FL lend support to Martin's supporter's claims. If the shooter in fact was not defending himself then he should be fully prosecuted. That is one point I agree with DW on, but unlike DW I will wait until I see ALL the evidence before I decide to sport my $500 hoodie or not.

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