Rand Paul’s gorgeous filibuster

To this political junkie there’s nothing more beautiful than Rand Paul’s current filibuster.

Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is protesting against Obama administration plans to give the President the right to kill Americans on American soil, without process. Paul claims it is unconstitutional.

In the US Senate a Senator can hold the floor as long as they are speaking on a topic, until they agree to allow another to speak. This means that a Senator can stop the Senate from continuing their business as long as they can continue to speak.

Rand Paul got up during the Senate confirmation of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Filibusters are gorgeous points of light in the dullness of political process. For a moment, the machine is stopped by a politician standing for a principle that matters to them. And they hold it against the collective power of the Government. 

Part of the spectacle is the role of supporters. The filibusting Senator can relinquish the floor only for questions, after which he resumes talking. As I write, supporters of Paul are giving him short breaks by asking him (very long) questions.

What is particularly impressive from Rand Paul is the content of his filibuster. He’s not reading from the Bible or other long books irrelevant to the point, like others have done. He is steadily moving through a series of arguments, using evidence and reading from relevant sources.

The issue of assassination of American citizens has gathered steam over the past months. Republicans have found a matter of constitutional principle which covers more political opinions than the right to bear arms. Moreover, it confounds the average voters’ expectation of the principles of Barack Obama.

Rand Paul has found something long missing from Republican rhetoric: passion and compassion, intellectual robustness and conviction, and a policy position that appeals to middle America.

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