I will be the first to admit that when I heard the word filibusters in a political setting I immediately thought, “J.K. Rowling has really done it this time. I mean Harry Potter is great, but what does the government have to do with fireworks?” Well unfortunately there are no explosions of bright colors when it comes to real filibusters. Still, even though true filibusters are not “wet start, no heat” fireworks, they are fascinating none the less. For example, how did it come to be that in our government a lone individual can delay the actions of legislature for hours if not days? Who decided that that was a good idea? It seems almost as impossible to believe as my original firework concept. In fact it wasn’t until I stumbled across an article with a real life example of a filibuster yesterday, that I realized filibusters really did exist and moreover the effect they have on government even to this day.
While most of the United States population has been focusing on the up-coming presidential election, I chose to turn my sights in another direction: foreign policy. The article I discovered was about Kentucky senator Rand Paul and his stance on foreign aid. According to the article, Senator Paul has promised to filibuster all of legislation as long as the bill for ending foreign aid to Pakistan remains ignored by his fellow senators. Paul believes that Pakistan is playing a duplicitous game with us and is not really our ally and now with the recent events in Libya and Egypt, Paul has extended his stance to include withdrawing aid to Libya and Egypt. According to Senator Paul, the countries do not deserve our aid seeing as they were involved with the attacks of our embassies and consultants and thus did not prove themselves as strong enough allies to us.
I personally could not agree less with Senator Rand Paul’s opinion on foreign aid or his choice of action. A filibuster so close to election will not keep the senate from funding the government but it will delay the speed at which they pass laws. Though I admire that Senator Paul was trying to draw attention to our foreign relations policies, I cannot understand why he chose to do so in this way. By stopping/ slowing legislature down to a crawl, his has single-handedly disrupting any other bill that needs to be passed for the bettering of the United States and further disrupting an already fragile congress. What an especially silly thing to do when we are still trying to fix our broken economy and hold the remains of our government together. It frustrates me that one extremely opinionated man has the power to control the government in such a way. No branch of government should have such power let alone a single man. Though the house did manage to pass a stopgap measure of 329 to 91, the damage may already have been done; the senate has already been put behind schedule. If you ask me, fireworks would have caused less of a distraction and pointless event than Senator Paul’s filibuster.