Last night was incredible. I've heard about filibusters before, but to be honest I've never paid any attention to one because I really didn't understand what they even were. I'd only ever heard of them happening to block Supreme Court Justice nominations and I thought they were just a way to show disapproval and delay the inevitable. Senator Rand Paul changed my view on filibusters last night. In fact, he changed my mind on a lot of things last night. I thought most Washington Republicans were old and out of touch. I thought they were all single-tracked and partisan on all issues. I was begining to fear that Republicans would never again have the chance to hold the presidential office and make the necessary changes this amazing country needs in order to succeed. Rand Paul proved me wrong, and in doing so he has completely rejuvinated my hope for the future and my faith in the system.
If you weren't glued to C-Span2 for nearly 13 hours yesterday, you are really missing out. While there was a lot of information that was repeated (I mean really, how much new material can be presented when you are talking that long?) it was all relevant and important to the citizens of America. The Kentucky senator was basically asking for Obama to answer a really simple question, "are you going to allow drone strikes on US citizens on US soil, without following due process of law?" He has yet to get an answer, which is frightening in and of itself. Yesterday's filibuster began as a way to block John Brennan, who is the presidents nominee to sit as head of the CIA. Brennan has been heavily favoring drone strikes internationally and appears to be ratiher brutal. If he were to be elected as the head of the CIA he would have no problem following through on presidential kill lists should those ever exist. All the senator was asking was that the President confirm that there is no way that would ever be an option.
As I was watching this all unfold, it became apparent that this particular issue is one that is really more suited to the democratic party. I am surprised that they didn't immediately stand with Rand and join the filibuster because his argument is really right up their alley. However, this only further proves that there is practically no bi-partisanship in Washington. In the end only 1 democrat stood with Rand, but I still have hope that in the coming days more will show their support for him. I was glued to my phone and twitter feed last night as it blew up with people tweeting support. #standwithrand was the #1 trending topic in the US last night, and it reached 2nd worldwide. Codepink, which is an extremely liberal feminist group was immensly supportive of Rand and was planning to bring him a filibuster hangover kit today to show their continued support. It may be the only issue that the group will ever agree with Rand Paul on, but the fact that they do is hugely telling. It is possible that there are politicians out there who can cross party lines, who can speak to the hearts of people who would normally never want to listen. For nearly 13 hours, Senator Rand Paul literlly stood up for what he believed in. Seriously, he never left the floor or sat down. He didn't even use the bathroom for 13 hours. THAT is the kind of dedication this country needs to see from ALL of its politicians. Solving problems and coming to acceptable compromises is possible, if the people we have elected to reperesent us would just do their fucking jobs. Senator Paul proved to me that those politicians do in fact exist and we need to be more focused on elected more like him. Whether we agree with their stances on all issues or not, I'd rather have a democratic senator with a backbone who stands for what he or she believes in than a republic one who I only agree with on paper.
I have renewed hope. When this began yesterday it appeared that Rand Paul was in a room by himself. Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Marco Rubio (who spoke after the State of the Union in January) took turns asking Rand Paul questions to get the conversation going and the give him breaks. In fact, for most of the day they were the only 4 people who spoke. As the night went on, and the twittersphere kept the topic trending, more and more senators took to the floor in support of Rand. Watching that happen was inspiring. Every time a new senator came in and stood behind the Kentucky Senator I became more and more hopeful that change is possible, that our country still has people who represent its citizens. I am proud to #Standwithrand. I am proud that he and the 3 other senators who filibustered all day are the new face of the republican party. They are young (well, youngER), they are well spoken, and I truly believe they want to fight for this country. Even if you don't agree with Rand Paul on this topic (which you should, because it effects every single US citizen) you have to respect his determination. Let's band together to support a new breed of politicians; people who represent us and fight for our rights, people who can look beyond their own party and work together. We can do this, we can fix what is wrong with this country.