If you think the title means this post will keep going on for ever, fear not. I don't no that much about the subject. If you wonder just when I became so old and decrepit that I could address such an arcane subject, join the club. I feel my arteries hardening, hear my joints creaking and see my hair going grey, literally as I type this. Suddenly I'm Strom Thurman, Robert Byrd or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, instead of the young, gorgeous, sexy vixen I awoke this morning. However, there is a point to be made here and for the sake of truth, justice and the American way, I'm going to make it; I'm not so young anymore (still dead sexy though). But enough about me, this is supposed to be about the filibuster.
In this morning's mail I had a message from John Kerry
asking me to support his call for Senate Republicans not allow Majority Leader Bill Frist to kill the filibuster. Now the first thing I asked myself was, where did Kerry get my e-mail. I though I left a no forwarding message after the elections. Then I started to wonder why he was so concerned about something so quaint as the filibuster. It is immortalized on silver screen and in history in both positive and negative ways. Strom Thurman used it to block civil rights legislation in the 50's and 60's. A young Jimmy Stewart
, as Mr. Smith, used it to make his point as a junior senator. I had no idea if it had any relevance to our current world; and then Senator Kerry's e-mail came.
I must admit to doing a bit of research before writing this post. If you would like to see my source material check out Yurica Report
. Most of the information I read in Amar's two very informative essays, but look around the place. There's a lot of good stuff archived there. What surprised me the most is that much of it is dated 2003, including the Amar articles. This filibuster debate has been brewing for quite awhile, but it is coming to the forefront now why? Because Bill Frist and Tom DeLay are so pissed about the Terri Schiavo case, they are ready to go to any extreme to change the face of our federal judiciary.
Did the hairs on the back of your neck just stand on end? Well, they should have. Remember that Frist and DeLay are both members of the very conservative Christian right, who's stated mission is to make the American government more Biblically based. They own the Executive Branch. They own the Legislative Branch. And only one small thing stands in the way of them and the third and final branch of government- come on, say it with me, the filibuster. Right now the Senate minority can block the appointment of federal judges by using the filibuster to keep the names from ever coming to a vote. It takes a simple majority of 51 to confirm a nominee; but it takes 60 votes (a supermajority) to break a filibuster. This is how the 19th century Senators left a loophole for Davy to beat Goliath.
Now, some may claim that filibusters stall the work of the senate; they do. And others claim that they deny the will of the majority; also quite true. But America is a democracy, where the rights of the minority are to be respected and protected, that is why the framers of our constitution made three branches of government, and checks and balances, and a bunch of other safeguards for our way of life. We should commend their thoughtfulness, and show our appreciation by standing up to those who want to change our government for personal, political or religious reasons, by saying not just no, but hell no to giving up our rights as citizens, even if we are technically in the minority. It seems especially hypocritical of those in the majority, who have worked so hard for democracy and protection of minority rights in Iraq, to want so badly to destroy them here at home.
Ooops, I think I filibustered!