Friday, September 25, 2015
The Rules Do Not Apply To Jerry Moran
As we are all aware, Pope Francis is in the United States, and visited Washington, DC yesterday. As only a few of us are aware, taking pictures is against the rules in the Senate Chamber on the house floor is prohibited. According to Rule IV of the Senate, it is unbecoming decorum for a representative to snap photographs there. In 1963, the rule was suspended in order to obtain the very first official picture of the United States Senate in session. Later, that same year, National Geographic requested permission to take a picture there. But guess who began snapping photos while the Pope Francis addressed the Senate, without bothering to request permission? If you guessed Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, you guessed correctly. Mr. Moran, like many other Kansas Republicans, is possessed of an idea that rules and laws that apply to others do not apply to him. Others followed the unprofessional example he set, but Moran was first to determine that senate rules are not really meant to be followed.
When this rule was first made, the internet and social media did not exist. It was merely considered rude and distracting to take pictures while members of the house were speaking, listening, or taking notes. Now that we have digital photography, mobile phones, and social media, it is not only rude to snap pictures in certain places, particularly using flash; there are other considerations. In 1981, Pope John Paul II was almost assassinated. Suppose someone with a motive to harm any person in that building had been lurking near all of the hoopla yesterday? Jerry Moran's pictures of the Pope, where he was standing, and the entire building; and his immediate uploads of the same to Twitter could have given the wrong person a perfect opportunity to "case" the perimeter and determine the exact position of every person on the floor. In essence, Jerry Moran could easily have contributed to an assassination attempt or a murder by not following the rules. But then, Moran does not appear to think that rules are important. Did he actually have an ulterior motive, or was he just setting a bad example for fun?