*A few days ago, I called the offices of a few United States Senators, including Rand Paul, to express my views about the gun control debate and any pending common-sense regulations. However, my primary reason for calling Rand Paul’s office was to express my disgust for his expressed intention of filibustering any bill that may reach the floor. I have written extensively on the injurious effects of the filibuster, how the Republican party has used it excessively and irresponsibly, and how it is a prime cause of the grid-lock in our government ever since the 2010 elections. Although used by both sides in our illustrious history, the right has used it as a cudgel since the invasion of the Tea Party members to Congress, who are hell-bent on blocking any legislation brought forth from the Democratic party. They now need to be exposed for the cowards they truly are when it comes to letting debate go forward. I have sent this as a follow-up to my call. I urge every American, on whatever side they find themselves on, to examine the abuse of the filibuster, because if all voices of disagreement are unable to be heard in the halls of our legislatures, exactly how does that make our country stronger? That is not democracy, it is slight of hand.
I called your office earlier today to make my voice heard. Although not a constituent of your state, my life and the lives of every, single American are greatly affected by your actions as a congressman.
I felt compelled to call because I am completely bewildered and utterly outraged at your reprehensible decision, along with Senators Lee, Cruz, and Rubio, to filibuster any bill that may come to the floor with regard to guns. You and the other senators have decided that absolutely no debate– no discussion– no public hearing– on this issue should take place in the halls of Congress.
Of course, when it came to the talking filibuster of CIA Director Brennan ( which we all know was done primarily for fundraising efforts to bankroll a presidential run), you seemed to be so full of vim and vigor and attempted to show the country, who had forgotten or weren’t aware of the practice, just what a true filibuster was. When you had to end debate because of a pee-pee run, the country had witnessed just why the talking filibuster is the way to go when you want to shed light on an issue or actually thwart legislation.
However, the silent filibuster, which your party has used irresponsibly, has become a scourge to our legislative and democratic process. And it is this weapon which you and your co-horts see fit to bludgeon our democracy with this Easter season.
Silence and obstruction is your way of governing, presumably. Is this American democracy at its finest Senator? Is this how the Founding Fathers envisioned our government to function? Silence? Obstruction? No meaningful debate? No elected representative forced to take a stand and have their vote on record for the citizens to evaluate?
Actually Senator, the Founders quite cherished the whole idea of “debate.” It is why the Senate is considered a “deliberative body”, more so than the House. While I place ample blame on the majority in the Senate who allow “silent” filibusters to take place (I understand it is actually a more draining process for the majority party to “wait out” a talking filibuster than it is for the minority party to enact it), I blame “legislators” such as yourself for the misuse of the practice. The Founders did not intend this procedure to be used as a weapon against a majority in excess. It was understood to be used judiciously and sparingly. Your party has made a mockery of the process.
My question is, why? What are you afraid of? Who are you afraid of? Could it possibly be the outfit that bears the three letters N-R-A? Or could it simply be you have a fear that if these laws somehow come to fruition, they may actually work, and that would make you look bad? Why are you and your party so eager to regulate a woman’s body and yet so opposed to regulating a weapon of mass-killing? Square that circle, Mr. Senator.
Is this democracy?
Don’t you even amaze yourself by your own hypocrisy You see, I seem to recall your outrage that the President (you claimed) would not allow a vote and was, in your words Senator, “feverishly scheming to bury the National Right to Work Act without a vote.”
Isn’t that exactly what you are doing now Senator, “feverishly scheming” to block a vote?
Those are your words Senator.
My phone call was used to express my deep concern and true outrage regarding your actions (or lack of them) on the contentious issue of “gun control.” I use quotation marks around the preceding two words in an admittedly sarcastic manner, because I wonder when this idea of common sense, when it comes to the enforcement of the Second Amendment and the words ” gun control”, became so diametrically opposed?
First of all, it would be wildly appreciated if you and your pro-gun, anti-regulation brethren would stop your unhelpful and disingenuous rhetoric which is intended to muck up the already murkey waters of this issue. Nowhere in any bill, or even in discussion, has there been a call for the government to ban all guns, ban ownership of guns, or anything close to that nonsense. No one is coming or working on legislation to “grab your guns.” If I am misinformed, please tell me. But I believe I am correct.
What I have noticed from blustering politicians and ideologues such as yourself, however, is the highest form of intellectual “bogeyman-ism.” Your party has taken this idea of common-sense gun regulations (which by almost every measure MOST Americans are in favor of– overwhelmingly–including sensible gun-owners) and tried to obfuscate the issue through rhetoric that is meant to scare the average gun-owner or even non-gun owner and their deep-seated fear of rights being taken away. It is politicians like you that knowingly and willingly act as fear-mongers who are in actuality a threat to the safety and security of all Americans.
It is revealing that you are on record as saying you would have have filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act due to the “unconstitutionality” of it, with respect to “personal property.” You tipped your hand here because you seem to have a penchant for deciding that you are judge, jury, and executioner (really, no pun intended) when it comes to laws that we abide by. You believe yourself to be some sort of ideological guru who knows better than the SCOTUS by boldly declaring that you find the landmark civil rights bill of our lifetime to be unconstitutional.
You do realize that the SCOTUS, an institution which is one of our three branches of government, has come down definitively and squarely and unambiguously on the side of gun regulation, don’t you? You are familiar with District of Columbia v. Heller and the brief, written by the right’s hero Justice Antonin Scalia, in which he clearly states that the Second Amendment unequivocly allows for restrictions on firearms. Here is an excerpt from the brief:
“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. [United States v.] Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”
You spoke the other day about how you find the pro-gun control crowd, especially the Hollywood types “hypocritical” for being pro-gun control but having armed guards protect them. You then openly admitted that people in the public eye, not unlike yourself, find themselves to be a special type of target and need to be protected. You bring that up but I wonder how does calling for a background check or limiting magazine size make a celebrity a “hypocrite”? Remember, Senator Paul, we can assuredly agree that once again, no one is calling for laws to ban all guns. You are being intellectually dishonest by conflating the issues.
Additionally, I could bring to light YOUR hypocrisy when you gladly accept a governmental health care plan, which is one that most Americans could only dream of having, let own being able to afford, but are steadfastly against all Americans having the ability to procure decent health care insurance? You are adamantly anti-worker, anti-union, and anti-pension for government workers, but will greedily take the generous pension that my tax dollars will pay for once you retire, won’t you Senator? Your cherry-picking of issues include those bits of pretense on your part quite clearly.
You are elected to represent the will of the people, not to serve your own ideological and personal ambitions or perhaps more appropriately, your delusions of grandeur.
You claim to be a patriot who pledges to protect the Bill of Rights unhesitatingly, however you will now pledge to prevent (filibuster) the most basic and intrinsic functions of a representative democracy from taking place–debate on an issue so exceedingly important to the health, welfare, and safety of every American.
Once again, you have deemed yourself judge, jury, and executioner, and that Senator, is not what the Founding Fathers intended when they framed the government, nor what the American people elected you do. What is it about your ego that makes you feel so omnipotent and self-important that silencing my elected representative to debate on the floor of the Senate is somehow responsible or democratic?
The children and families of Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and Columbine and the children and families in every corner of this beautiful country deserve to be heard. The citizens who are expressing to our elected representatives what they want done on this issue, and on both sides of this issue quite frankly, deserve to hear all sides of the debate.
We deserve, and moreover under our Constitution, we demand a vote.
Do not filibuster this legislation. Let all voices be heard.
After all, just what are you afraid of?
A concerned citizen
- GOP senators fear a debate on gun legislation (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Republican rising stars threaten filibuster on guns (dailykos.com)