2023 Man of the Year: Greg Casar

Rep. Greg Casar outside the Capitol during his 9-hour thirst strike (@GregCasar/Twitter)
December 31, 2023

Congressman Greg Casar was thirsty. And not in a good way. The Texas Democrat announced he was going on a thirst strike last July in solidarity with workers who spend their days outside without federally mandated water breaks (apparently it’s the government’s duty to tell businesses when to give workers water). Casar, however, was being humble in his announcement. He didn’t just forgo water—he also denied himself food.

No doubt Casar would have to channel the spirits of history’s most famous hunger strikers—Mahatma Gandhi once went 6 days without food and 21 days subsisting only on water and lime juice. The IRA’s Bobby Sands lasted 66 days before dying in prison.

But the progressive Democrat had something neither of these men had: social media. "Yesterday was incredible," Casar posted on X. "I was honored to be joined at my thirst strike by workers in Texas and across the nation—and by lots of colleagues pushing for federal heat safety protections. 9 hours without water or food, but I’m more energized than ever to get this done."

That’s right: The congressman lasted a grand total of nine hours—what many would call intermittent fasting and some do on a regular basis while sleeping. Even Al Sharpton’s 2001 hunger strike lasted longer (31 days on a liquid-only diet, though it is unclear if milkshakes were one of the liquids).

But Casar definitely looked the part: his jacket off, sleeves rolled up, someone mopping his sweat, and wearing a pulse oximeter on his finger. After all, the temperature in D.C. that day reached 82 degrees!

Casar’s post did get 5.1 million views though many of the comments were unkind (yes, he was ratioed). But he did get a shoutout from Joe Biden—or at least the best you can hope for from our semi-coherent president: "The idea that you can't have mandatory water breaks when you’re working on a construction. Hell. When I played football, who during summer practice, didn’t provide water, you know, on a regular basis, he got in trouble, got fired. Man, what are we doing here? What is going on with some of this stuff?"

Greg Casar knew what he was doing on the steps of the Capitol on that mildly warm day. He was taking a brave stand in support of federal heat standards, and all without a single drop of Açai-Blueberry-Pomegranate Vitaminwater or even a morsel of a Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew KIND bar. For somehow surviving this nine-hour ordeal, we proudly name you a Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year.