Thursday, March 07, 2013
Senator Rand Paul – Historic Defense of Civil Liberties – Spans Party Lines – Lessons in Civics - #Standwithrand Still Trending on Twitter
The Man one might want to Stand With - Senator Rand Paul - image Reuters via Breitbart
It goes without saying, that far too many American’s have had no education as to basic civics, especially how our government and the separation of powers brilliantly installed in the U.S. Constitution provide the people with a safety net against that government. Today, most people in this country, otherwise known as “low information voters”, have a concept of the body politic that is more “entertainment”, by which, a politician becomes a “rock-star”, rather than a servant of the people. It also goes without saying that those who do serve, from the Congress, to the Senate to the Office of the President, deserve the nations respect; for these Offices, and the intent to serve, are not undertaken lightly. The people and those that serve may have differing opinions; however, the entire body politic in these United States is one that is built on laws and oversight. In 1939, a feature film, ”Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”, became one of the most enduring films of our time. The Oscar winning film is described in brief: “A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.” (Watch Trailer with links to film at www.imdb.com. It is the story of the filibuster and how that tool is used to bring attention of a situation viewed as untenable to the general population, and to hopefully, change a wrong to a right.
This was a fictional piece, yet, it is doubtful that many who are over the age of 50 have not seen the film at some point in their lives. It was a rare occurrence indeed, when on March 6, 2013, the nation was treated to the “real deal”. Senator Rand Paul, (R-KY), stood on the floor of the Senate and spoke for almost 14 hours. As one watching C-Span, desperately trying to stay awake to watch this event continue, the film from 1939 came to mind. Obviously, Paul is not naive when it comes to the ways of the world, nor the U.S. Constitution which he swore to uphold, and to watch as the hours wore on, his ability to maintain a clear, concise message, and stand firm in his convictions, was truly inspiring. In brief, the Administration (White House and its various agencies) has considered the use of drones (a weapon) against individuals whom they feel might be a threat to the nation. These individuals would be U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. The law of the land allows all U.S. citizens due process, and obviously, if one were thought to be an enemy of the State (with no clear indication of what the criteria would be for such a finding), the U.S. government would have the ability to blow them to smithereens, whether they were in their swimming pool, a coffee house, the grocery store, etc. These weapons are used in the theatre of war, to protect our armed forces, and there has been the consequence of unavoidable civilian deaths. In the theatre of war, it is an unfortunate expectation. However, it should not be an expectation at all in the confines of the boundaries of the United Sates of America. Rand Paul was asking the Administration (Attorney General, Eric Holder) if they felt the President had the authority to use drones as describe on American Citizens. The answers were vague in the extreme, thus Senator Paul took to the floor and spoke for thirteen hours.
At first, the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid attempted to limit the ability of Senator Paul to speak – He failed. Rand Paul did not do this alone for 13 hours. In the process of the filibuster, one might not yield the floor (keep the discussion alive) and entertain a question from a college (another Senator). At the early hours, it was Sr. Ted Cruz of Texas, who stood to give Senator Paul a respite from standing and speaking, with authority on the subject at hand. Senator Mike Lee entered and, as a Constitutional Authority, joined in supporting Paul’s filibuster. Democrat Senator, Ron Wuyden of Oregon, joined in support. (Mediate.com) There was a dinner at the White House, with the majority of the Republican Senators’ in attendance, several of those who attended the dinner, apparently felt compelled to join Paul on the Floor, including the senior senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell. Senator Dick Durbin came to the floor to agree on principle with Senator Paul, but compared the use of drones on Ben Ladin, to the potential to use drones on American Citizens, he also suggested that this type of debate take place within Committee, instead of a forum that allowed the public to watch the proceedings.
What took place as a rare event, as this body, the Senate, does little in the way of protecting the interests of the American people. It is not for lack of trying, however, these Senators, regardless of party affiliation are often found blocked by the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, who holds the power to bring a bill (law) to the floor for a vote – or not. He is the main reason that the U.S. has had no budget since 2009, using “continuing resolutions” instead to keep from confining the Federal government to do what ordinary households must do – stick to a budget. This government is run, and operates, of course, with monies supplied by the very same ordinary households.
To watch part or all of these proceedings, C-Span has the entire video – which is embedded below. What the Senator was requesting was simple. A statement from the Administration noting yes, or no, regarding whether they (the Administration) believed the President has the authority to use drones to kill American Citizens within the boundaries of the United States – a simple Yes or No response would have ended the filibuster in hour 1.
It was not forthcoming.
Thus the almost 13 hour (12 hours and 54 minute) debate on the Senate Floor.
This is the type of occurrence that truly makes one feel that this is truly the best nation on earth in which to reside.
The twitter hashtag #standwithrand maintains the top trending topic on Twitter (as of 6:22 am est) (Twitter.com) When “Code Pink” #standswithrand, the issue is crossing ideological lines, and is one in which the entire nation should be vested (as is the world.)
The entire filibuster, video via Cspan.org.