June 16, 2016

Filibuster: Not Just a Fun Word to Say


This is how I spent my Wednesday evening. I went online to find some trending hashtags to write a twitter post and I discovered that a huge political moment was happening.


I had to go backwards and do some research while tuning into this. It's been a while since I've studied the different events in the US Government. And yes, I'm a little embarrassed (and excited) about how much I learned.

The google definition of filibuster is an action such as prolonged speech that obstructs progress in a legislative assembly while not technically contravening the required procedures. Last night, this was led by Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut.

I've read about these in the news before. I've read stories of people reading nursery rhymes to take up time and all kinds of ridiculous tactics. But last night was pretty incredible to watch. My laptop was tuned into C-SPAN and Twitter from 5:30 until midnight.

I read so many tweets - some were encouraging, some were hilarious and some were completely off-putting. I felt pride for a few of the senators I have voted for in the past. Hearing these politicians speak and watch them hold the floor is pretty incredible.

These were speeches of passion and desire for change. They discussed lobbyists and the NRA and their impact on some of the people in the room. People were engaged on social media and I know Cory Booker's voicemail was full of people calling in. How often does that happen?

There was a lot of conversation about thoughts & prayers not being enough for these victims. Senator Booker quoted Frederick Douglass at one point saying "I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." 

Even though the vote didn't happen last night and the change hasn't been made, after spending that time watching these people in action, I felt a little hope. This election has made me sad and a little afraid - people's anger on the internet and their comments so filled with hate and discrimination. A democracy works when there is productive conversation - when both sides of an issue are willing to listen. The news shares images of people punching each other and violent protests breaking out at rallies. That isn't productive.

Last night was a welcomed display of our government in action, people having conversation, people saying things respectfully and factually to get things accomplished. Instead of spending our time on Facebook reposting memes and videos (although I love everything shared from John Oliver), let's have meaningful and productive conversations. Learn the facts, ask the questions. One of my favorite things said last night was that we don't have to be heroes, but we can't be bystanders.

Today, I urge you to contact your state representative and let them know where you stand. Know that you are heard when you reach out to them. Check out the highlights from the speeches last night. So many made me extremely emotional. Hearing a story about a Holocaust survivor that was killed at Virginia Tech and a health aide that died trying to protect a student at Sandy Hook. You can do something today to have your voice heard - even if you disagree with what they are trying to do (although I don't really know how that's possible.)

I don't get preachy here very often, but last night, I finally felt connected to some things happening in Washington and I couldn't sit quietly about it today. I kept thinking about Leslie Knope - I know that seems ridiculous while discussing something so important, but it was just because of her level of excitement about our government. I've been trying to learn more lately and be more informed about history and our past presidents as well as the current process and system. Last night was my first live filibuster viewing and I think that's pretty cool.

On a lighter note, I hate when Netflix judges me for "still watching" but now I have to hear it from C-SPAN too? This happened to me 4 times.


  1. YES. I didn't watch much live coverage of it, but I was constantly checking Twitter and keeping track of the progress. I'm happy to say that all of my state senators were on board (Oregon AND Washington--which definitely isn't a surprise considering they're all Dems, but still!). It really is one of the first times in a long time I've felt excited about our government too.

  2. I had it on in the background when I was working starting around 3 I think...still listening after midnight, I fell asleep with it on. It gave me tremendous hope. I want a vote and I want it now. I called my senators and a bunch of other senators and tweeted them too. Screw it. They work for us. Get out of your offices.


Thanks for reading my ramblings. It makes my heart happy.