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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