Bring on that extra shot of espresso, because we just pulled an all-nighter. America was glued to the most unlikely TV channel — C-SPAN — as it watched Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) filibuster for almost 13 hours. You don’t have to be a political buff to know that Congress’s approval ratings have been dropping faster than Taylor Swift drops boyfriends. Even so, Sen. Paul revived our disheartened spirit toward Congress by standing for Americans’ most safeguarded liberty — their life.
The fire behind this 13-hour filibuster (where senators gain control of the Senate floor and speak in an attempt to bring attention to a controversial issue or to block a measure from coming up for a vote) was sparked by the Obama Administration’s vague interpretation of authority to authorize a lethal strike … with a drone … against an American citizen … on American soil … without a trial. Yes, you read that correctly. Senators were filibustering to get the White House to acknowledge that it doesn’t have the power to blow up noncombatant Americans on U.S. soil.
“I will speak until I can no longer speak,” Paul began. “I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being found to be guilty by a court.”
Who needs a bathroom break or food when your own hashtag, #StandWithRand, is trending worldwide? This passion that had been lacking in Congress became a primetime favorite. The Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment unfolded in real life when 50,000 telegrams were brought to the senate floor by the modern-day, non-fictional reading of tweets by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), then add Sen. Mario Rubio (R-Florida) quoting modern-day poets like Jay-Z and Wiz Khalifa, alongside his mention of the classic movie The Godfather, “Let’s give them an offer they can’t refuse.” Hopefully this new version of the GOP will hold, blending the old with the new, from the weak to the strong.
After almost 13 hours, Sen. Paul yielded his time and left the Senate floor. And although the filibuster has ended, his actions, and the words of the elected officials who stood with him, will hopefully be present with us for days to come. As Americans it’s our responsibility to make sure no elected official, no matter their title, can dispute the rights granted to us in the Constitution. This is the type of passion and drive held by our Founding Fathers that births nations, alters history, and saves innocent lives.