Rep. Greg Casar, D-Texas, who is part of the progressive “The Squad,” was recently the target of mockery on social media when his “thirst strike” in solidarity with federal workers ended up lasting only eight hours.
On Tuesday, Casar posted on his Twitter account, “Just took my last drink of water before my thirst strike with the one and only, Dolores Huerta. #WorkersCanWait.” He pledged to abstain from liquids to draw attention to the lack of federal protections for workers exposed to high temperatures.
Casar’s eight-hour-long “thirst strike” on the steps of the Capitol attracted attention from progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and journalists alike, with photos of Casar being monitored by medical professionals circulating around social media.
However, many conservative commentators on Twitter were less than impressed with the lawmaker’s symbolic act.
Scott Jennings, a political commentator for CNN, tweeted out, “Congrats on… existing between early lunch and late dinner.” Similarly, Matthew Foldi, a reporter for The Spectator, wrote, “Libs get participation trophies for literally skipping breakfast.”
Congrats on … existing between early lunch and late dinner. https://t.co/OEStgVP46Z
— Scott Jennings (@ScottJenningsKY) July 26, 2023
Casar’s office has yet to respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
Although critics may be skeptical of the age-old political tactic of the hunger or thirst strike, this type of protest has been used successfully throughout history to bring attention to specific causes.
For example, in 1981, former Irish MP and hunger striker Bobby Sands and seven other prisoners in the Maze prison in Belfast, Ireland, stopped eating at the same time to draw attention to the British government’s decision to strip Special Category Status from Irish prisoners, reducing them to the same level as ordinary prison inmates. In the end, the strike resulted in the UK re-establishing Special Category Status.
In a news statement, Castro said “I understand why some people might make light of a thirst strike, but the reality is that workers are in real danger during hot climates. My goal was to draw attention to the lack of protections for these workers, and I believe I was successful in doing that.”
The federal heat rule, which Rep. Casar was calling for, would be beneficial to the workers of many industries, such as construction, landscaping, and outdoor labor as well as certain restaurant and hospitality workers. It would set a maximum temperature at which workers can work, allow workers to take more frequent breaks, and permit workers to take additional breaks as the temperature rises.
Whether his thirst strike will have a long-lasting impact or not, Rep. Casar’s actions should be praised for drawing attention to a pressing issue. The US Congress and President Biden have both made strides in recent months toward supporting workers and their rights, and this issue should be a priority for them as well.
Rep @GregCasar holds a thirst and hunger strike on the steps of the Capitol today. Medics periodically check his vitals while Casar will not be eating and drinking until evening votes. Casar is protesting a recent Texas law signed by Gov Abbott that banned required water breaks. pic.twitter.com/QmhEmG5xN6
— Aaron Schwartz (@ASchwaTweets) July 25, 2023