#Filibusters and Failing Better.
Early this morning, Senate Democrats ceded the floor after 14 hour, 50 minute-long filibuster to push for a vote on two gun control measures, making it the 9th longest filibuster since the Senate began tracking them in 1900. Led by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the filibuster was supported by many of his Democratic colleagues, including Sens. Blumenthal, Booker, Schumer, Gillibrand and Warren, amongst others, as well as Republican Sens. Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey.
Filibusters are controversial ways to disrupt legislative bodies, and I’ll admit that they're a parliamentary quirk I only don’t hate when they’re fighting for something I believe in. When Ted Cruz filibustered for 21 hours and 18 minutes in 2013 in protest of the Affordable Care Act, I was pissed at such a waste of government resources, and I’m sure I bitched about having the entire dilatory tactic tossed. But when, as a State Senator, Wendy Davis tied up her pink sneakers to filibuster restrictive abortion legislation in Texas for 11 hours, I cheered and followed along on Twitter.
I get that having both views on filibusters is hypocritical, but between Murphy’s marathon and the Dem moment of silence protest on Monday, I am warily pleased that Democratic legislators are kind-of doing something in response to mass shootings. Because this cycle of massacre, shock, thoughts and prayers, moments of silence, stunning inaction, and then back to step one the next week is unacceptable.
Samantha Bee hit a chord on Monday, when she raged against said inaction and empty words after gun violence, stating “Love does not win unless we start loving each other enough to fix our fucking problems,” She called out empty platitudes for not doing a goddamned thing. Like her, I’m finished being shocked, and sick of seeing personal polemics on Facebook that are not tied to action. Personally, I don’t want to see another freaking hashtag that isn’t attached to something as simple as an email to an elected official.
Last night, I did the absolute minimum I could, which is use a Brady Campaign autodialer to call California’s Senators to tell them I supported the filibuster. It took less than zero effort on my part, and I have no idea if it had an impact, but at least my anger and sadness were getting channeled into some small action that might have an impact.
Last night during the filibuster, when Murphy saw that his two children had come to the Senate gallery, he said "Trying and trying and trying to do the right thing is ultimately just as important as getting the outcome in the end.”
Enough not trying because we think it can’t get done. I’m gonna to blatantly muddle up some favorite poets here, but me must Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. And if all is lost, may we at least rage, rage against the dying of the light instead of sitting idly by on Twitter.