One evening, when my oldest daughter, Rainbow, was four, our family went for a walk through the neighborhood. As we came around a corner, we saw a man wearing cowboy boots, Wrangler jeans, a leather belt with a large silver buckle, red and black snap-up shirt fronted with double pockets, a serious mustache, and a tan ten-gallon hat. (He wasn’t Tom Selleck)
My daughter tugged on my hand. “Mommy,” she whispered, “is he a real cowboy?”
“Why don’t you ask him?” I smiled at the man as Rainbow buried her face in my leg.
At the question in his eyes, I decided to be her voice. “She wants to know if you’re a real cowboy?”
He smiled down at her and chuckled. “Yes, I’m a real cowboy.”
Rainbow’s eyes got the size of silver dollars.
He looked back at me and my husband and shook his head. “Used to not be a novelty.” He waved to our daughter and continued on his way.
I thought of this the other day as I was listening to Senator Rand Paul filibuster the vote on the appointment of John Brennan as head of the CIA. He was demanding clarification and reassurance from the White House on the question, “Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?”
After holding the Senate floor for over 13 hours, Senator Paul yielded to the needs of his body, and ended his filibuster, still with no clear answer. The next morning the U.S. attorney general came out with this statement, “The answer to that question is no. Eric. H. Holder, Jr.”
It took the Administration that long to mastermind and craft such a complicated and genius answer? It took a 13 hour filibuster to get this “clarification” of our constitutional right to due process. That astonishes me.
I am a citizen of the United States of America, a democratic, representational republic. As such I am entitled (there’s that “e” word) to certain rights as listed in the Constitution, and neither the President, nor anyone else in the government, has the legal authority to infringe on any of those rights, no matter how inconvenient the impediment might be to them carrying out their perception of their jobs. Yet it seems that every day, I see further examples of just how lightly members of our government value the rights of the people who provide them their jobs.
Senator Rand Paul ‘s filibuster was refreshing and significant because, for once in my memory, someone in Washington took a strong stand to protect my rights, your rights, and the rights of every other citizen of this country from the government’s pernicious encroachment.
This shouldn’t feel like a novelty.
– Winner-winner, veggie dinner