The Constitution was read from the floor of the House yesterday while a 'birther' crashed the party, yelled at members and was subsequently arrested.
By the end of the reading, which had its own glitches, the chamber was practically empty. This leads us to the focus of conversation at last night’s party at Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar, hosted by the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts and Washington Life Magazine.
Fresh off the floor, Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) joined the festivities of El Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos (The Day of The Three Kings) and gave us his take on the action earlier in the day:
"On a personal level, I don't think the American people understand the close friendships and relationships that members of Congress develop working day in and day out in Washington. So the first thing is the realization that many of my friends were not going to be joining me in being sworn in for the 112th Congress. Wonderful, talented individuals that either retired or were not reelected were not [there]. I didn’t realize how much that would impact me but it has, as well as other members.
As far as the business of Congress, the reading of the Constitution I think is a good thing, but to live the Constitution and to practice its value and its principles is much more important."
Local media strategist Brendan Kownacki of Merge Creative Media gave us his take. "[The] reading of the Constitution to kick off the new Congress is both symbolic and ultimately a great start to the new legislative session," he said.
The changing political landscape of the House didn't escape attention. Christopher Brown, a director at lobbying firm Quinn, Gillespie & Associates, weighed in. "Reading the Constitution aloud is an historic first for the chamber -- and it's an important measure to set this session's tone," he said, citing an increased need for bipartisanship.
At the Cube Libre party, event organizers reminded the mostly Latino audience that much more needs to be done to promote Latino talent, citing the lack of such in many media outlets, including "The View" and the new Oprah network.
"In 32 years of existence, only two Latinos have received the Kennedy Center Honors tribute: Plácido Domingo and Chita Rivera," said organizer Felix Sanchez. "They blarringly deny our contributions."
The night was not entirely lost in transition, though. Gorgeous Brazilian actress and celebrity hostess Giselle Itié, who flew in from Brazil for the night, held court with admirers then flew to LA the next morning to get ready for Sundance.