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In a recent senatorial dust-up, Sen. John McCain dubbed his Republican colleague Rand Paul one of “the wacko birds” in Congress.
McCain (who sometimes appears not too tightly wrapped himself) was giving Sen. Paul a tongue-lashing for having mounted a 13-hour, old-fashioned, stand-alone filibuster over the possibility that murderous drones could be used for targeted assassinations of Americans right here at home. McCain said that the Kentucky senator’s talkathon had veered into the “realm of the ridiculous,” adding that, “I don’t think [it] is helpful to the American people.”
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I hate to interrupt when one Republican solon is hammering another, but I’m siding with Rand Paul. While plenty of the tea party senator’s extreme right-wing stands are wacko, this isn’t one of them. Unfortunately for America, powerful corporate interests are eager to reap billions in profit from the spread of drones across our land, and police agencies at all levels are drooling at the prospect of adding weaponized fleets of drones to their arsenals. Indeed, what’s ridiculous is that other congress critters have not been paying attention, speaking out, and taking action.
Call it grandstanding if you want, but at least Paul took an actual stand. And, contrary to McCain’s opinion, it was quite helpful to the American people. Thanks to Paul’s attention-getting combination of principle, ego, and chutzpa, the great majority of Americans heard for the first time that these inherently-invasive, liberty-busting, and potentially-deadly drones are on the verge of being deployed domestically.
That’s why the Congressional Progressive Caucus and such alert Democrats as Sen. Ron Wyden have joined in sounding the alarm and demanding a full public debate. As Sen. Paul says: “At least we need to know what are the rules,” on the cost to our democracy before we let profiteers unleash this technology on Americans.
“Old-fashioned filibuster is the talk of the town,” Austin American Statesman,” March 8, 2013.
“John McCain Calls Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, And Justin Amash ‘Wackos,’ And Amash Responds With A Harsh Zinger,” www.businessinsider.com, March 8, 2013.
“It’s War: John McCain And Lindsey Graham Just Ripped Into Rand Paul On The Senate Floor,” www.businessinsider.com, March 7, 2013.
“Don’t Drone Me, Bro: Rand Paul’s Epic Filibuster Message to President Obama,” www.alternet.org, March 7, 2013.
“House Democrats Demand Answers From Obama On Drones,” www.thinkprogress.org, March 12, 2013.